Access to justice for all is a lofty goal. That goal can only be achieved when everyone has access to their local courts as well as the documents needed to pursue their cases in those courts. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to hire an attorney or find an attorney that is able to represent them in court. These individuals will fall through the cracks of the justice system unless they are able to obtain assistance in filing their claims in court. One form of assistance is in the provision of “pro se” documents and/or advice to allow people to represent themselves in court.
For many years, Southeastern Ohio Legal Services (SEOLS) has held a monthly local pro se clinic at the Portsmouth Public Library. At that clinic, a SEOLS attorney provided “pro se” packets to assist individuals in filing their own documents in the Scioto County Domestic Relations Court as well as the Scioto County Juvenile Court. While the clinic provided the paperwork to individuals, the SEOLS attorney staffing the clinic was generally unable to provide assistance in completing the forms or in giving specific legal advice to the attendees. With the generous assistance of Judge Jerry Buckler, the local Domestic Relations Court, his staff, and the Scioto County Bar, SEOLS is pleased to announce a new and improved “pro se” clinic beginning October 25, 2016. The new clinic will be held on the third floor of the Scioto County Courthouse in the Domestic Relations courtroom once a month. The clinic will be staffed by a SEOLS attorney as well as two volunteer, private attorneys each month. With the assistance of these volunteer attorneys, the clinic will be able to provide assistance in completing the pro se forms as well as the potential for individual legal advice. The dates for the next three clinics will be: October 25, 2016; November 16, 2016; and, December 14, 2016. The clinics will begin at 4:30p.m. and end at 5:30p.m.
SEOLS is the legal aid law firm serving low-income individuals in Scioto County, Ohio. The SEOLS office is open Mondays – Fridays (except federal holidays) from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and is located at 800 Gallia Street, Suite 700 in Portsmouth. Requests for legal assistance can be made by calling SEOLS at 1-800-837-2508 or 740-354-7563. Information is also available at www.seols.org and www.ohiolegalservices.org. SEOLS is also on Facebook.