September/October 2012
bttopCleveland Homeless Legal Assistance Program
Issue No. 21
Pro Bono Week



The CMBA and The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland have partnered in sponsoring Pro Bono Week in the greater Cleveland community again this year October 21 through 27, 2012.  The Celebration is a coordinated national effort to meet the ever-growing needs of this country's most vulnerable citizens by encouraging and supporting local efforts to expand the delivery of pro bono legal services, and by showcasing the great difference that pro bono lawyers make to the nation, its system of justice, its communities and, most of all, to the clients they serve.

CHLAP volunteers are invited to attend their choice of CLEs offered by Legal Aid and the CMBA in connection with Pro Bono Week free of charge. CHLAP volunteers are also invited to attend a special recognition event on Oct. 24 at D'Vine Wine Bar honoring all attorneys who volunteer their services pro bono.

Highlights of Pro Bono Week 2012:

For a full Pro Bono Week calendar including free CLEs and specialty clinics focused on bankruptcy bypass, expungements, elder law, child support, and divorce click here.  RSVPs required for CLEs and other Pro Bono Week events. 

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Upcoming clinics & events


Legal Aid Society of Cleveland Clinics & Events

All clinics are by appointment only unless otherwise noted as first-come, first-served.  Please remind clients to bring all relevant paperwork with them.  Locations vary - check link for details.

Protecting Main Street: An Investor and Consumer Fraud Summit

Oct. 11, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

The U.S. Attorney's Office, Federal Trade Commission, Ohio Attorney General's Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, CMBA's Citizens Legal Academy and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission will be hosting a half-day summit on investor and consumer fraud.
Law enforcement leaders and consumer protection experts will offer advice, discuss fraud trends and detail best practices for protecting our citizens. The goal is to provide the public with helpful tips on how to avoid becoming a victim and falling prey to these scams. 


License Suspension Information and Advice Clinic

Oct. 13, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. 

A first-come, first-served free advice clinic for low-income individuals with license suspension issues.


Will Kohn Bankruptcy By-Pass Clinic

Oct. 17, 5:00-7:00 p.m. 

A special clinic to help low-income consumers stay out of bankruptcy.  At this clinic, volunteer attorneys will help indiviudals deal with creditors, and help notify creditors when people are "judgment proof," meaning their income is protected by law from collection. "Bankruptcy By-pass" is designed to keep people from having to pay creditors money that is protected by law and to avoid having to spend money on a needless bankruptcy.

Fatima Family Center

Oct. 20, 9:45-11:45 a.m.
A first-come, first-served free advice clinic for low-income individuals with civil legal issues. 


Chardon United Methodist Church
Oct. 22, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
A first-come, first-served free advice clinic for low-income individuals with civil legal issues.


Legal Aid for Veterans Clinic
Oct. 23, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
A first come, first served free advice clinic for low-income individuals with civil legal issues, especially US veterans.


El Barrio/West Side Ecumenical Ministry
Oct. 23, 5:00-7:00 p.m.
A first-come, first-served free advice clinic for low-income individuals with civil legal issues.  Proudly staffed by the CMBA's Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts Committee.


Oct. 24 3:00-5:00 p.m.
A by-appointment-only clinic for indiviudals with questions about elder law issues.


Oct. 24 3:15-5:30 p.m.
A free advice clinic for low-income individuals with questions about getting their criminal record sealed.


Oct. 25 4:00-6:30 p.m.
A free advice clinic for low-income individuals with questions about elder law issues.


Oct. 25 4:00-6:00 p.m.
A first-come, first-served free advice clinic for low-income individuals with civil legal issues.


Oct. 26 10:00-11:30 a.m.
Attendees will be counseled by volunteer attorneys and provided with the tools to handle simple divorce matters on their own.


Naturalization Information Clinic

Oct. 27 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

This clinic is only for indiviudals seeking information and help with the naturalization/citizenship process - a free advice clinic for low-income individuals with civil legal issues.  


Cleveland Public Library - Rice Branch

Nov. 7 6:00-8:00 p.m.

A first-come, first-served free advice clinic for low-income individuals with civil legal issues.


For a full calendar of Legal Aid brief advice/intake clinics, please visit the Legal Aid website at

Cleveland Lawyers' Initiative on Reentry (CLIR)
Brief Advice/Intake Clinics

North Star Neighborhood Reentry Resource Center, 1:00-4:00 p.m.
Second Wednesday of the month
Periodic training sessions for new volunteers TBA - call Brian Lamb at (216) 566-5590 for more information.
In the News 


Ohio Inmates Help Homeless: Plastic Bags Crocheted into Sleeping Mats

The Toledo Blade reported on Sept. 25 that inmates at the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville are making mats for homeless people using plastic grocery bags from grocery store donations. About a dozen residents on a prison unit where women get help preparing to re-enter society work on the 6-foot-by-4-foot crocheted sleeping mats. The Vineyard, a Columbus megachurch, distributes the mats to homeless people living in camps through its urban ministry program. It has requested 150 to 200 mats a year. About 100 of the prison's 2,300 inmates are enrolled in the reintegration program and perform about 120 community services hours a month. Churches and other social service groups across the country are involved in similar mat-making projects, said Deborah Scott with Columbus Vineyard's urban ministry program. The church values the connection the program gives inmates with the community and the lessons it teaches as they serve a vulnerable population like the homeless, she said.

Click here for full article, or here for video.

L.A. Can't Randomly Seize Possessions of Homeless, Court Rules

The L.A. Times reported Sept. 5 that Los Angeles and other cities are barred by the U.S. Constitution from randomly seizing and destroying property the homeless temporarily leave unattended on city streets, a federal appeals court decided.  Upholding a court order against Los Angeles, a panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the personal possessions the homeless leave for a short time on city sidewalks may be taken only if the possessions pose an immediate threat to public safety or health or involve criminal evidence. Even then, the court said, the city may not summarily destroy the property and must notify the owners where they can pick it up. The ruling stemmed from a court fight over a Los Angeles city ordinance aimed at cleaning up the city's skid row. The city last year posted notices on the streets warning homeless people that their possessions had to be removed during street-cleaning days. City workers, accompanied by police, then seized and destroyed property they found unattended. Homeless individuals sought and obtained a court order to stop the seizures, and the city appealed. In ruling against Los Angeles, the 9th Circuit said violating a city ordinance does not strip a person of his or her 4th Amendment right against unlawful seizure of property.
Click here for full article.


Lawsuit Says Ohio Park's Rules Anti-Homeless
Businessweek on Sept. 5 reported that three residents of a historic Cincinnati neighborhood have filed a lawsuit in federal court over a newly renovated urban park in the area, saying that its rules were designed to exclude the homeless and poor people and were written behind closed doors. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati on Sept. 4, cites rules that banned people from dropping off food or clothing, and rummaging through trash and recycling bins at Washington Park. "The intent of the rules is to exclude a certain class of people from the park," according to the lawsuit.  The lawsuit was filed by three residents of Over-the-Rhine, a neighborhood undergoing gentrification, and alleges that the park's rules were the result of email exchanges among the superintendent of Cincinnati Parks, a police captain and representatives from nonprofit developer 3CDC, and weren't debated or up for discussion at any public meetings. The plaintiffs say the rules violate their free speech and assembly rights, and open-meetings laws. They're seeking unspecified damages and attorney fees, and a permanent injunction to stop the rules from being enforced.
Click here for full article.
In This Issue
Upcoming clinics & events
In the News
Halloween Run for Justice
New Report Procedure
Archived Newsletters
Join the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Foundation on Saturday, October 27 for a morning of competition and fun for the family. Proceeds benefit the pro bono and public service programs supported by the Foundation, including the Cleveland Homeless Legal Assistance Program and The 3Rs * Rights-Responsibilities-Realities.
Activities include 5-Mile, 5K and One-Mile runs, 5K walk, costume competition and family-friendly entertainment, including Flower Clown, a bouncy house, face-painting, and pumpkin-decorating. All activities begin and end at the Galleria at E E R I E V I E W.


Click here for more information and to register.




All report forms from brief advice and intake sessions at the shelters may now be sent directly to CMBA staffmember Kris Wisnieski, who will be handling record-keeping for CHLAP.


You may email forms to Kris at, or mail the forms to CHLAP, Attn: Kris Wisnieski / Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association / 1301 E. 9th St., 2nd Level / Cleveland, OH 44114.  Please call (216) 696-3525 with any questions.

Archived CHLAP Newsletters

Issue 20 - July/August 2012

Issue 19 - May/June 2012

Issue 18 - April 2012

Issue 17 - February/March 2012

Issue 16 - January 2012

Issue 15 - December 2011

Issue 14 - November 2011

Issue 13 - October 2011

Issue 12 - September 2011
Issue 11 - August 2011
Issue 10 - June/July 2011
Issue 9 - May 2011
Issue 8 - April 2011
Issue 7 - March 2011
Issue 6 - February 2011
Issue 5 - January 2011
Issue 4 - December 2010
Issue 3 - November 2010
Issue 2 - October 2010
Issue 1 - September 2010 

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Cleveland Homeless Legal Assistance Program
This partnership between the CMBA and the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless aims to serve those in the community in need of help but least able to access legal assistance. Volunteer lawyers staff regularly scheduled sessions at many locations throughout Cleveland, including homeless shelters, to provide legal advice and assistance to homeless or at-risk individuals. Attorneys volunteer at varying levels of commitment, from helping with intake interviews and providing brief advice to accepting referrals for direct extended representation.

Visit CHLAP online - click here for the latest updates, volunteer materials, and other information.

A program of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association  

1301 East 9th Street, Second Level - Cleveland, OH 44114

Tel.: 216.696.3525, Web:  


CHLAP Newsletter author:

Jessica Paine, Assistant Director of Community Programs & Information

Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association 

Tel.: 216.696.3525, Email: 

We welcome your comments and suggestions!