OSBA recognized for outstanding leadership

OLAF AwardThe Ohio State Bar Association, a voluntary association with a membership of about 29,000 lawyers, judges, paralegals and law students, is the recipient of the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation’s 2012 Presidential Award for Outstanding Leadership in the Delivery of Pro Bono Legal Service. The award is being presented to the Association during its Annual Convention, held this year in Cincinnati.
The Presidential Award is given annually to individuals, law firms or organizations that have made outstanding contributions to improving access to legal representation through pro bono or volunteer service to low-income Ohioans.
The state bar association is being recognized for its early involvement in the foreclosure crisis, teaming with other statewide entities to recruit and train pro bono lawyers to represent low income individuals and families in danger of losing their homes.
That effort—now known as Save the Dream Ohio—resulted in recruitment of 1,300 volunteer lawyers, the single largest pro bono project ever seen in Ohio.
The OSBA also partnered with the Foundation to create and support the Judicially-Led Appellate District Pro Bono Project, in which committees of judges and lawyers promote and lawyers perform pro bono legal services for low income people in each of Ohio’s 12 appellate districts.
That project recruited over 150 judges and lawyers to serve on the appellate district committees, and developed 26 new pro bono projects serving low-income Ohioans.
Lawyers who have served as OSBA presidents have included pro bono service as a theme in messages to attorneys, and many are themselves volunteers for legal aid programs in their communities, including current president Carol Seubert Marx of Lancaster.
“Both the volunteer leadership and the staff of the state bar association continually reinforce the importance of pro bono service as a core professional value,” said H. Ritchey Hollenbaugh, a partner in the Columbus law firm of Carlile, Patchen & Murphy LLP and the Foundation’s board president.
The Ohio General Assembly created the Foundation in 1994 to fund and to enhance civil legal aid for low income Ohioans. The Foundation uses no general revenue funds, but instead utilizes dollars earned from the interest on lawyers trust accounts, the interest on real estate trust accounts funds, and a civil filing fee surcharge to ensure that low income veterans, children, victims of domestic violence and people facing foreclosure have access to legal information, advice and representation.



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