Leading Jurists and Business Leaders Join Ohio Legal Community for Access to Justice Forum

CLEVELAND – State supreme court justices, corporate general counsel, and leaders of the legal aid community will gather in Cleveland on July 21 for a forum on ways to expand access to justice for low-income Americans. The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is hosting the discussions in conjunction with its Board of Directors’ quarterly meeting.

Following the forum panels, LSC will present its recently released report, The Justice Gap: Measuring the Unmet Civil Legal Needs of Low-Income Americans. Speakers, including American Bar Association President Linda Klein, will explain the significance of report’s findings on the difference between the civil legal needs of low-income Americans and the resources available to meet those needs.

The Forum on Access to Justice will feature three panels. The first panel, “The Importance of Access to Justice to the Judiciary,” will be moderated by LSC Vice Chair Martha Minow, Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence at Harvard Law School, Distinguished Service Professor at Harvard University, and former Dean of Harvard Law School. Panelists include Justice Steven H. David, Indiana Supreme Court; Justice Judith L. French, Supreme Court of Ohio; Justice Thomas L. Kilbride, Illinois Supreme Court; Justice Bridget Mary McCormack, Michigan Supreme Court; and Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr., Supreme Court of Kentucky. They will discuss barriers to justice and the impact large numbers of unrepresented litigants have on the justice system.

The second panel, “Legal Aid and Public Library Partnerships to Expand Access to Justice,” will focus on how public libraries can provide access to civil legal services. Panelists include Legal Aid Society of Cleveland Executive Director Colleen Cotter; LSC’s Director of Data Governance and Analysis Carlos A. Manjarrez; and Aaron Mason, Assistant Director of Outreach and Programming Services at the Cleveland Public Library. LSC President James J. Sandman will moderate the discussion.

The final panel, “Perspectives on Access to Justice from the Business Community,” will feature corporate general counsel discussing why American businesses depend on a well-functioning justice system that is accessible to all. The panelists are Carolyn E. Cheverine, Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary, The Timken Company; Cathy Kilbane, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary, The Sherwin-Williams Company; Terry Szmagala Jr., Senior Vice President, Public and Community Affairs and Corporate Communications, Eaton Corporation; and P. Kelly Tompkins, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Cliffs Natural Resources. LSC’s Vice President for Legal Affairs, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary Ron Flagg will serve as moderator. 

LSC Board Chair John G. Levi and Legal Aid Society of Cleveland Board of Directors President Vanetta Jamison will deliver opening remarks.  

The three panels will be held from 9 a.m. to noon on July 21 at the Cleveland Public Library, 525 Superior Avenue. The Justice Gap presentation will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Cleveland Marriott Downtown, 127 Public Square. Members of the press are invited to attend both events.  

The event will also be live-streamed via Facebook Live. To view it, visit LSC’s Facebook page

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 132 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.

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