Finding Low-Cost Legal Representation

The process of finding legal representation or taking a claim to court can be difficult and costly in any situation, and especially so when you or someone you love is disabled. Thankfully, there are many organizations that are dedicated to providing low-cost legal representation to persons with disabilities.

DISABILITY RIGHTS OHIO

One of these organizations is Disability Rights Ohio. Disability Rights Ohio is a non-profit corporation dedicated to advocating for the rights of people with disabilities in Ohio.  Disability Rights is the official Protection & Advocacy (P&A) organization for the state of Ohio.  Every state is required by federal law to have a P&A organization.  To learn more about P&As click here.  P&A organizations like Disability Rights Ohio provide legal advocacy to a wide range of issues affecting people with disabilities, including problems such as abuse, neglect, discrimination, special education, housing, employment, and voting rights. If you think that you have been abused, neglected or discriminated against and would like the help of Disability Rights Ohio you must contact their intake department. You can also submit a request on behalf of a person with a disability.  Intake hours are weekdays from 9 am to noon and from 1 pm to 4 pm, or you can fill out their online intake form on their website. For any additional questions you can call 614-466-7264 or toll free at 1-800-282-9181.

LEGAL AID SOCIETIES

Legal Aid Societies exist throughout the United States.  The mission of these organizations is to secure justice and resolve fundamental problems for those who are low-income by providing high quality legal services. While not specializing in disability rights, Legal Aid handles cases that impact basic needs, such as domestic violence, education, employment, family law, health, housing, foreclosure, immigration, public benefits, utilities, and taxes. Legal Aid represents clients in court and in administrative hearings.

Ohio currently has nine legal aid organizations representing low-income Ohio residents in different geographic regions.  To see which organizations cover each of the 88 Ohio counties and for links to each organization, click here.  Two of these organizations - The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland and the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati  - were founded over 100 years ago and were among the earliest legal aid organizations in the United States.

The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland has offices in Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake County and Lorain County. You can contact the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland by calling their intake number at 888-817-3777 or 216-687-1900, or you can stop by one of Legal Aid’s Brief Advice and Referral Clinics near you.  Brief Advice and Referral Clinics are free, in-person, advice clinics available to low income individuals and are located throughout Northeast Ohio. You can find the list of upcoming Brief Advice and Referral Clinics here.

The Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati has offices in Cincinnati, Hamilton and Wilmington.  You can contact the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati by calling the Legal Aid line at 513-241-9400 or toll free at 1-800-582-2682. 

Remember that you can learn more about all nine of the Ohio legal aid organizations here.

DISABILITY RIGHTS LEGAL CENTER 

Disability Rights Legal Center is a non-profit, advocacy organization based in California that protects the civil rights of people with disabilities, as well as those affected by cancer and other serious illnesses. Disability Rights Legal Center provides free legal assistance to people with disabilities who are experiencing discrimination. To complete an intake, call 213-736-2334 or 866-999-3752 or go to their website to fill out an online form. Intake forms will be reviewed by an attorney who will decide whether the Center will take the case.

 OHIO LEGAL ASSISTANCE FOUNDATION

The Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation located in Columbus is a statewide nonprofit organization committed to ensuring that civil legal aid is available to all low-income Ohioans.  In addition to providing financial support to the nine Ohio legal aid organizations, the Foundation provides a list of other organizations that do pro-bono work for a variety of cases. You can access this list here.

LAW SCHOOL CLINICS   

There are also nine law schools throughout Ohio, all of which have student-and-professor-run clinics that provide legal representation to low-income members of the community. On the various clinic websites, you can find more information about the services provided by each clinic and their hours of operation and contact information.

Below are the links to the clinic websites for each law school:

1.       The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law (Columbus, Ohio)

2.       Case Western Reserve University School of Law (Cleveland, Ohio)

3.       Cleveland-Marshall College of Law - Cleveland State University (Cleveland, Ohio)

4.       The University of Toledo College of Law (Toledo, Ohio)

5.       The University of Akron School of Law (Akron, Ohio)

6.       Capital University School of Law (Columbus, Ohio)

7.       University of Dayton School of Law (Dayton, Ohio)

8.       University of Cincinnati College of Law (Cincinnati, Ohio)

9.       Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law (Ada, Ohio)


This guide was developed as part of a project made possible by a grant from the Ohio State Bar Foundation. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of the Ohio State Bar Foundation.

Lead researcher/author: Erin Przybylinski, J.D. Candidate, 2019, RedTreehouse.org Legal Intern

Jeanine Carroll