The Court's Pro Bono Program was honored at the Annual Meeting of the Ohio Judicial Conference on Thursday, September 12. It was named the winning program for the Ohio State Bar Association's 2019 Innovative Court Programs and Practices Award!
The Pro Bono Program provides help in civil matters to defendants who are facing criminal charges in the Court. Many of the clients are currently on one of the Court's specialty dockets. Attorneys volunteer their time to help with matters such as housing, child custody, and finances.
The Pro Bono Program got its start when Judge Joan Synenberg (photo below, center) noticed that clients in the Recovery Court needed legal help with legal issues beyond their criminal charges. The Court hired Mark Shannon to coordinate the program through a grant from the Nord Family Foundation.
The purpose of the OSBA's Innovative Court Practices Award is to bring greater visibility to exemplary programs in Ohio's courts and to facilitate the transfer of those programs to other courts in the state. Award submissions are evaluated on criteria including creativity, the newness of the program and its effectiveness, as well as the transferability of the concept to other courts and whether the program addresses significant issues that are regional in scope.