The Legal Aid Society of Cincinnati (now doing business as the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati) was founded in 1908 to secure justice and protect the rights of the needy. For over 100 years, the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati and its affiliate Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio, LLC, have been the primary providers of civil legal services in the Greater Cincinnati/southwest Ohio area. The Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati’s mission is to resolve serious legal problems of low-income people, promote economic and family stability, and reduce poverty through effective legal assistance.
In 1982, the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati, along with the Cincinnati Bar Association, founded the Volunteer Lawyers for the Poor Foundation. This Foundation, which operates the Volunteer Lawyers Project, matches clients in need of legal assistance with private attorneys who are willing to help on a pro bono basis. Working together, the two Legal Aid Societies and the Volunteer Lawyers Project provide coordinated services to meet the legal needs of low-income residents living in seven southwest Ohio counties.
In addition to providing direct client services, the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati provides administrative, development, and technical support for the Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio, LLC and the Volunteer Lawyers for the Poor Foundation. A subsidiary corporation, the Community Law Center Real Estate Company, owns and operates a small office building in downtown Cincinnati which serves as the headquarters for the Legal Aid Societies and the VLP.
Legal Aid Line
The Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati operates Legal Aid Line, which is the primary access for both Legal Aid Societies and the Volunteer Lawyers Project. Applicants may call (513) 241-9400 or (800) 582-2682 to request legal assistance.
About 30,000 individuals contact the Legal Aid Line each year. Through the joint efforts of the two Legal Aid Societies and the Volunteer Lawyers Project, over 6,000 clients obtain advice and representation. The Legal Aid Line also provides referrals and written information.
The Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati and the Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio, LLC work together on programs that focus resources on resolving critical issues for clients, while also strategically addressing broad community concerns.
This medical-legal partnership with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital promotes children’s health and well-being by resolving legal problems affecting the entire family. Legal assistance results in improved housing conditions, special education services, much-needed income, and medical benefits, or resolution of other problems that interfere with good health outcomes.
Clearing Legal Hurdles to Employment
Legal Assistance helps low-income job seekers overcome barriers to obtaining and retaining employment. Job training programs refer men and women to Legal Aid when they are having difficulty getting hired, or keeping their job, for reasons as diverse as loss of a driver’s license, threatened eviction, needing expungement of a limited criminal record, or getting a child back in school.
Covering Kids and Families
Legal Aid enrolls eligible children and advocates for streamlined policies so that needy families get healthcare benefits provided by Ohio’s Healthy Start medical program. Through targeted outreach, Legal Aid helps homeless children, children living in rural areas, and Hispanic families establish eligibility and prevent benefit termination.
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
Legal Aid manages the Hamilton, Clermont, and Butler County tax preparation sites for the United Way’s Regional EITC Collaborative. We organize training for volunteers who prepare returns at no charge. Tax refunds provide additional income for working families, and return over $18 million to the regional economy.
Guardian ad Litem (GAL)
Legal Aid serves as the attorney and GAL for abused and neglected children in Butler County. Legal Aid works to secure a safe and permanent home for each child, while advocating for the child’s best interests, including health and educational needs.
LawLink: Family Stability and Safety
This program provides comprehensive legal services to women struggling to recover from domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Legal services include restraining orders, child support, custody, divorce, visitation restrictions, visa adjustments, and division of debts and property. By breaking legal and financial ties with the abuser, clients move toward economic self-sufficiency, and can provide a safe home for themselves and their children.
Stabilizing Neighborhoods through Secure Housing
Legal Aid provides representation to homeowners so they avoid foreclosure and save their homes. Legal Aid provides training and backup for homeowner counselors throughout southwest Ohio, so that more homeowners can stay in their homes. Legal Aid also represents individual renters and groups of tenants so they can keep safe and affordable rental housing. Legal Aid helps families avoid eviction, maintain utility service, and obtain repairs by enforcing tenants’ legal rights and building, health, and fire codes. As a result, Legal Aid prevents deterioration of single-family homes and apartment buildings in many urban neighborhoods.
TeamChild / Kids in School Rule!
In partnership with Hamilton County Juvenile Court, Children’s Services, and local public schools, Legal Aid’s TeamChild attorneys obtain school support and mental health services for youth caught up in the juvenile justice system so they return to and remain in school, and avoid further court involvement. Kids in School Rule! promotes academic success for children in foster care. Families also get legal assistance, such as representation in housing and family law disputes, to help establish a stable home environment.
Safety Net and Work Support Benefits
Legal Aid assists unemployed working people, veterans, and individuals with disabilities who need help to prevent a termination or denial of income benefits, and gain access to childcare, transportation, and transition-to-work benefits to increase household income and maintain medical coverage.