March 7, 2014

LASC Bids Farewell to Successful Clinic

The brief advice clinic at Christian Assembly Church and Threshold Community Center will hold its final clinic on Monday, March 10.

For five years, low-income people in the Northland area have had access to volunteer attorneys every second Monday evening of the month. Clinic Coordinator Ellen Queen initiated the clinic after being approached by She’lia Bolding (Columbus Bar) and attending an orientation conducted by Drew Campbell and Anthony Sharret. Ellen reflecting on her motivation said she loved the concept of providing legal resources to those who couldn’t afford them. Through no fault of their own, people find themselves in the need of an advocate, someone who can go to bat for them.

With efficiency, kindness and professionalism, Ellen organized volunteers to help with set-up and tear-down, security, refreshments, and intake. Sponsored the Columbus Bar and Legal Aid Society of Columbus, the clinic served indigent people on the brink of crisis – women facing domestic violence, families fearing homelessness, and elders immobilized by creditor harassment. When they arrived at the site, clients were met with a warm greeting from intake volunteers, a friendly conversation while they waited, and a snack or toys for their children.

It is impossible to recognize everyone who played a role in making this clinic a success, but LASC wishes to thank Diana Severance for her intake assistance and church volunteers Gina Law, Kelley McGruder, Libby Streamer, and Sharon Thrower. Pro Bono attorneys included, but were certainly not limited to, Andrew Zamensky, Ryan Welker, Nita Hanson, Todd Fichtenberg, Sally and David Bloomfield, Narcus Tsiliacos, Dean Reinhard, Paul Bryson, Daniel Skinner, Joel Campbell, Brandon Sewell, and Rick Piatt. Many others contributed by recruiting volunteers, attending a clinic or accepting a pro bono case referred by the clinic. Especially mentioned are Richard Parsons and Ray Pantle who volunteered at clinic’s inception and both experienced the “honor” of being the lone attorney on a given evening. On one infamous night, Ray --unwilling to turn anyone away – met with 18 clients who had arrived with the hope of having questions answered.

The Northland clinic was a success because of the commitment of volunteers. Nearly 450 clients were served because of the commitment of volunteers. And the community will undoubtedly feel a sense of loss when the doors close on Monday.

But the story is not over. LASC is working on new chapter – a new Northland site staffed for a monthly brief advice clinic for the low-income population in the Northland and adjacent neighborhoods. If you would like to be a part of this ongoing story, contact Dianna Parker Howie at dparkerhowie@columbuslegalaid.org.