project leader
Cassandra M
location
17325 Euclid Avenue
(Cleveland, East Cleveland and other parts of Cuyahoga and Lake County)
latest update rss
No updates yet.

the project

"...[I]t is far time to have courtroom advocates/legal navigators as an integral part of our judicial systems.” (McDonald)

The LAWRS Foundation serves to help landlord’s/tenants and other pro se litigants, navigate through the judicial system with the assistance of Legal Navigators. Legal Navigators are trained individuals whose mission is dedicated to assisting  under-served and underrepresented community members by ensuring a continuum of legal advocacy. We are also pleased to be listed as an organization with Cleveland Marshall College of Law for students to assist with our legal navigator program as volunteer intake workers.  

Due to COVID-19 individuals are behind on their bills, property is being foreclosed on, tenants are one decision away from being evicted, and the need for food assistance is also rising as major legal issues loom ahead.  People simply cannot afford to pay for an attorney, and attorney's that do pro bono work are being stretched to capacity.  That is why the Legal Navigators program is critical; no one should be left behind.

The money raised will go towards document preparation, court filing fees, gift cards for families with children, postage, and other critical necessities that will be used to assist consumers from the beginning to the end of their court case.  We are trying to stay ahead of the housing crisis and prevent displacement of families and other undue hardships that can be imposed by the courts simply because clients don't have support stability. We are a missing but very necessary part of the judicial system.

the steps

Housing and municipal courts within Cuyahoga County will be notified that we are ready to launch our Legal Navigators pilot program.  We will then begin to review the docket for eviction and foreclosure cases and send out letters to respondents to offer our services. Also during this time, training and refresher training for Legal Navigators to prepare to assist clients, and issue training packets (as early as the date of funding).

Legal Navigators begin the intake process to assist clients in need (within 1 week of training) as letters would have already been mailed out.  During the intake process, volunteers will assess the case, and provide options to the consumer. 

Within 24-48 hours of intake, either of the following will commence: 1) volunteers will file documentation such as motions, request for continuances, complaints, answers to complaints, and other documents as required for the consumers particular situation, and then submit them electronically, by email, and/or postal service depending on the Rules of the Court, 2) offer the opportunity for mediation, 3) assign clients to a volunteer that will help them from the inception of their case to completion when possible, 4) explain court room processes & procedures, 5) provide information so clients can become resourceful and be able to research and look up their own cases, 6) provide clients with the date of their next court hearing or intake, etc.  Once a client leaves our office, we follow back up within 1-2 weeks as part of the continuum of legal advocacy.

Once  receive information from the courts regarding a hearing, ruling, or other correspondence we assist the client in following up and or completing the requirements of the court order.  Depending on the court, we will accompany the client to court, not as attorneys but as Legal Navigators for the purpose of providing "legal information" as we continue to assist the client in understanding legal processes and procedures, and when granted speak to the Judge regarding the case so that consumers can have equity in the courtroom as pro se litigants . We are there to provide legal information, not legal advice...

Throughout a pro se litigants case, we continue to provide legal advocacy and moral support until the end of the case, which cannot be forecasted due the practice of the courts. We are very similar to rape victim advocates, and domestic violence advocates by being a voice and advocate in civil cases. 

why we're doing it

The LAWRS Foundation has been working diligently to assist under-served and underrepresented populations for the last 12 years in civil/human rights, and social justice advocacy.

Since COVID-19, we have re-developed our program and have trained a group of individuals as "Legal Navigators," to assist with the influx of civil litigation cases and to provide further access to legal assistance for pro se litigants.

Legal Navigators, which is the first program of its kind in Ohio, serves the community in three critical areas which are: 1) housing, 2) consumer & debtor/creditor relief, and 3) family/child support.  Studies have shown that access to assistance from the inception to the end of a court case is a predicator for more favorable outcomes, and offers individuals moral support during a legal crisis.

Legal Navigators are trained in court process & procedure, document preparation, legal intake, case review, legal research, and other critical skills. Their background includes, social work, law students, counseling, attorneys, laypersons and others who volunteer their time.  Legal navigators DO NOT offer advice, but we can and do offer Legal Information. Our clients are provided with a packet of information explaining our services, including an attorney referral list for clients seeking advice or who have more complex legal issues. We also when applicable, have a licensed attorney available during certain events.

We are currently in the process of launching an online program to offer certification classes and employing legal navigators in our courtrooms as civil advocates. 

budget

$500 - Client filing fees ECF/CM for housing, child support, creditor/debtor legal document prep.
$300 - Postage (Clients in 2 counties)

$200 - Information packets w/outside referral information for clients

$1,000 - Advertisement of our services so that community members know we are available to assist.

$1,000 - Purchase of industrial copier to handle workload

$1,500 - Business space for 3 months ($500 x 3 months)

$ 1500 - Provide $20 Giant Eagle gift cards for individuals that have children

$200 - (Assembly of training packets for volunteers)

$300 - Business utilities for 4 months

PROJECT FUNDING NEEDED =    $6,500
ioby Platform Fee     waived
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%)    waived
"ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)(Donation processing fee does not apply to match funding.) "    $99
TOTAL TO RAISE =    $6,599
Please note: ioby fees are estimated and will be calculated based on totals at the end of the campaign.      

updates

Sorry, but this project doesn't have any updates yet.

photos

This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration

donors

  • Barbara G.
  • Tony SearightInvestmentEducation For Youth
  • Mike Croom
  • Khalid Namar
  • Demetrius A. Williams
  • Anonymous