This month, LASC wishes to recognize the exceptional contributions of Attorney Julie Restifo. Since joining LASC in 2011 as a volunteer for the Public Benefits team, Julie has donated more than 700 hours.
In her role, Julie has been enormously helpful, conducting legal research on a range of public benefits programs, providing advice and counsel directly to clients, and drafting pleadings and briefs for major litigation, including a recent case in the 10th District Court of Appeals.
Volunteering at LASC has allowed Julie the flexibility to balance studying for the bar, job-searching, and contract work. A graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Law, Julie studied for and passed the Ohio Bar during her time with LASC.
Despite this freedom, Julie has taken her position seriously. As Managing Attorney Kate McGarvey acknowledged, “Having Julie on our team is like having a paid staff person. She is incredibly reliable.”
In turn, Julie has learned valuable skills as a new attorney and has enjoyed her work with clients. She reflects, “I find my interaction with clients very fulfilling. LASC clients are great people who are often in very difficult life situations. It feels good to be able to help them get necessities such as medical coverage or money for food.” Yet working with LASC has not gone without its difficulties: “The most challenging thing for me is realizing how many people need legal services and knowing there just are not enough resources to go around.”
LASC has lost more than 40% of its staff since 2008, and as a result, we must strive to find creative and efficient strategies to meet the growing needs of the indigent community. Our volunteers—both within and beyond LASC walls—are an integral piece of that puzzle.
Contributions of volunteers like Julie cannot be overstated.
The 33 volunteers currently assisting our in-house teams or the Volunteer Resource Center have donated more than 5000 hours since the beginning of 2012. Another 18 unpaid summer law clerks will start in May, and only a portion of them will receive financial assistance from their law schools or Equal Justice Works. Participants range from administrative volunteers to fully licensed lawyers who function as unpaid part-time staff attorneys.
Yet Julie’s work has stood out amongst all of them, and when she leaves the office in June to move out of state, LASC staff will experience a great loss. As Kate McGarvey remarked: “I would’ve recommended that we hire her without a question if Legal Aid had been in a position to do so.”
Thank you to Julie and all of the other LASC volunteers who—without economic compensation—work to meet the needs of low-income clients with professionalism, diligence, and compassion.
(free of charge to current LASC volunteers)
Brief Advice & Referral Clinics – Volunteer Training Part 1 – May 30th 3:00-6:15PM, LASC
This program is designed to assist attorneys who volunteer their time at brief advice clinics sponsored by LASC and the Columbus Bar Association. Our 2013 training will be divided into two afternoon sessions. Attorneys attending Part 1 will receive instruction on issues unique to low-income clients and tips on how to best meet the needs of clients in a clinic setting. We will provide basic issue spotting and information about the array of public assistance programs available to low-income individuals. The training will also focus on serving clients with disabilities and the legal issues impacting low-income consumers.
Brief Advice & Referral Clinics Volunteer Training Part 2 – June 12th – 3:00-6:15 PM – LASC
Basic Domestic, Landlord-Tenant Law, and Sealing Records: Attorneys will receive basic instruction on domestic legal issues facing low-income families, landlord-tenant law basics, and record sealing requirements and procedures. The training brochure is attached. Email