Estabrook Trust/Porter Wright Law Firm Donates $75K to Fund Legal Access Project at UC Law
Thanks to a $75,000 gift from the Estabrook Trust and the Porter Wright Morris & Arthur law firm, the University of Cincinnati College of Law is closer to launching a new venture designed to address the justice gap.
Cincinnati Law has developed The Legal Access Project@ Cincinnati Law (TLAP), a law firm that will provide affordable legal representation to people of “modest means” in the tristate community. Organizers expect the firm to begin operation in September 2019.
TLAP, the first venture of its kind in Ohio and one of a handful in the United States, will provide much needed legal assistance to lower-to-middle income people for whom legal representation is unaffordable.
“The Estabrook Trust and Porter Wright are proud to help launch and sustain this innovative partnering of lawyer training and providing affordable effective legal services. We are excited that this unique law firm will represent those who might otherwise not have representation,” said Kathleen Brinkman, Cincinnati Law alumna and retired adjunct professor, and attorney at Porter Wright.
“This program is a practical and helpful way to get good outcomes for clients. That is what Porter Wright strives to do every day, and is why our firm and the Estabrook Trust happily support this public service by the UC College of Law," she said.
The firm will provide recent Cincinnati Law graduates with a two-year residency program through which they will hone their skills under the guidance of supervising TLAP attorneys and community mentors. Up to four graduates will be hired each year.
In addition, TLAP will add to Cincinnati Law’s experiential learning offerings for law students, as well as UC students participating in the paralegal training program, and other university students who might benefit from working at TLAP.
“The TLAP program is an exciting innovation in legal training,” says Cincinnati Law Interim Dean Verna L. Williams. “It expands our mission as a law school by creating opportunities for collaborations and community partnerships. We’re grateful for the support of the Estabrook Trust and Porter Wright for this project.”
[TLAP] has the potential to really make an impact in Cincinnati. It is a ‘win-win’ all around.
These types of non-profit law firms are a relatively new innovation. The first one was created in 2007. In the US, approximately nine law schools have launched a similar program to TLAP, including Georgetown in Washington DC, Rutgers in New Jersey, and Arizona State University.
Significantly, no other law school in Ohio or the surrounding states has launched a “law school law firm” program. Cincinnati Law is unique in bringing this type of legal creativity to the community.
The TLAP program will benefit many groups throughout the tristate. Clients with modest means now will receive affordable legal representation, and legal help will become more accessible to others.
Cincinnati Law graduates will gain invaluable experience working directly with clients, while law students and affinity students will have opportunities to put their skills to work. And, prospective employers will benefit because they will be able to hire extremely well-trained attorneys.
“This is an exciting project we’re launching,” says Cincinnati Law’s Clinical Programs Director Lewis Goldfarb, who helped bring this project to fruition. "It has the potential to really make an impact in Cincinnati. It is a ‘win-win’ all around.”
The scope of services at TLAP will include domestic relations issues; landlord/tenant disputes; estate planning; debtor/creditor disputes; transactional work for business start-ups; criminal defense work related to protection orders, expungements, and traffic/probation violations; serving as guardians ad litem for child victims of abuse, neglect, and dependency; and, handling some civil cases in municipal and small claims’ courts. Clients will pay a steeply discounted hourly rate, with some services being offered for a flat fee.
About Cincinnati Law
Founded in 1833, the University of Cincinnati College of Law has the distinction of being the first law school west of the Alleghenies. From humble beginnings 175 years ago in a room above Timothy Walker’s law offices to its home today in Clifton (OH), Cincinnati Law has been on the leading edge of legal education. Thousands of lawyers have graduated from the law school, and about one-third practice in the Greater Cincinnati community, working in all areas of the law. For more information about the College of Law, visit www.law.uc.edu.
About Porter Wright
Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP is a large law firm that traces its roots to 1846. With seven offices across Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., Porter Wright provides counsel to a worldwide base of clients. www.porterwright.com
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