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Pro Bono Programs

Free Legal Assistance

The CMBA is committed to connecting people who need legal help with attorneys, including those who cannot afford to hire an attorney. 

To see if you are eligible for assistance through one of the CMBA's Justice For All programs, please call (216) 696-3525 or email, or click on one of the program titles below for further details. If you do not qualify for one of the CMBA's programs, you may be eligible for help from The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, which can be reached at (216) 687-1900.

Cleveland Homeless Legal Assistance Program

Through Cleveland Homeless Legal Assistance Program (CHLAP) volunteer lawyers and other legal professionals provide service at regularly-scheduled brief advice and intake sessions in shelters and community centers across Cleveland, advising those in need but least able to access legal assistance. Volunteers staff regular intake sessions and can accept referrals for pro bono matters needing follow-up legal service. Those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless should check their local shelter to find out the next intake date and time. Please email or call (216) 539-5979 with questions.

Pro Se Divorce Clinics 

Created in partnership with The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland and the Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court, the Pro Se and Pro Se “Plus” Divorce Clinics are designed to provide access to justice for eligible individuals in need of a simple divorce. Volunteer legal professionals assist pre-screened clinic attendees in understanding the paperwork and process of securing a simple divorce. The CMBA's Family Law Section provides leadership and guidance to volunteers. To see if you are eligible for assistance through these clinics, please call Legal Aid at (216) 687-1900.

Reach Out: Legal Assistance for Nonprofits

Reach Out provides both law-related education and pro bono legal service to qualifying nonprofit organizations serving those in need in our community. Through a partnership between the CMBA and the Federal Bar Association, Northern District of Ohio Chapter, Reach Out hosts regular, virtual panel discussions on important legal issues for nonprofits, free of charge. Lawyers can volunteer to help in three ways: as speakers/panelists, by providing brief advice and counsel, or by accepting pro bono referrals for eligible nonprofits. Nonprofits must meet financial, geographic and mission criteria to qualify for pro bono referrals.

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (VLA)

The VLA aims to serve local artists and arts organizations through pro bono legal help to those who qualify, free public education, and promotion of the arts among the legal community. VLA volunteers provide real benefits for the city’s growing and vibrant arts scene.

Probate Court Brief Advice Clinics

After a free CLE presentation by the Probate Court judges and magistrates, volunteer attorneys match with members of the public to answer legal questions and probate concerns at the Probate Court Brief Advice Clinics

Say Yes to Education

Volunteer lawyers provide pro bono legal assistance to individuals and families of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Over 15,000 students and their families will be eligible for Say Yes legal services, including 1,800 3Rs students and hundreds more high school mock trial participants. To see if you are eligible, please call e divorce. The CMBA's Family Law Section provides leadership and guidance to volunteers. To see if you are eligible for assistance through these clinics, please call Legal Aid at (216) 687-1900.

Veterans Legal Services Clinics

Volunteer attorneys provide pro bono or low cost services for area veterans, including brief advice and counseling in regularly scheduled intake sessions. If matters need further representation, they will be referred through VLSC to existing programs that might provide appropriate assistance (e.g. Pro Se Divorce Clinic, Expungement Clinic, and Bankruptcy By-Pass Clinic) or to a volunteer lawyer who agrees to take on the matter pro bono. The VLSC will include a Wills for Vets program in the late fall.

Pro Bono Appeals - PILOT PROGRAM

The purpose of the Civil Appellate Pro Bono Program is to facilitate appellate review in matters before the Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeals for people who cannot afford counsel, by referring them to pro bono counsel (“Volunteer Counsel”).  People who wish to have Volunteer Counsel appointed to their case should fill out an application and email it to the CMBA at Submission of a form does not guarantee Volunteer Counsel will be appointed.