News Briefs: December 2012

  • Call Center to Connect Low Income Veterans, Active Military with Legal Services  

    The Ohio Military/Veterans Legal Assistance Project and Capital University Law School are partnering to make it easier for Central Ohio’s low income veterans and active military personal to get legal assistance they might not otherwise be able to afford.

    The Military/Veterans Legal Assistance Call Center at Capital University Law School will open in early January as a partnership between the two organizations. The call center will provide referral information and brief legal advice and counseling when possible to low income veterans and active duty military personnel in Franklin, Delaware, Fairfield, Licking, Madison, Pickaway and Union counties.

    OMVLAP was launched in June 2012 thanks to funding from the WalMart Foundation and the Ohio State Bar Foundation. It arose out of the Ohio Veterans WrapAround Project, created by Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton. The launch of Capital’s call center will be made possible in part through a $25,000 grant from the William C. and Naoma W. Denison, Robert Bartels, Virginia Hall Beale and Robert B. Hurst funds of the Columbus Foundation. The grant will fund a position for a licensed attorney to staff the center on a part-time basis. That attorney will try to find an appropriate pro bono attorney to represent the caller.

    Efforts to find funding for the call center began when Stratton, Judge Advocate for the Ohio National Guard Colonel Duncan D. Aukland, and OMVLAP Director Michael J. Renner presented Capital with information about the existing need among veterans and service personnel. They suggested there should be ways to assist lower income veterans and active duty service personnel, many of whom face a range of legal issues.

    “These are men and women who have willingly joined America’s armed forces on our behalf, and during their service to our country they have encountered situations at home that require legal assistance,” Stratton said. “For many of these service members, this is a significant unmet need. The call center is an important step toward helping them resolve these problems.”

    The call center will attempt to help OMVLAP connect financially strapped veterans and active duty service members with legal representation in areas of dispute spelled out in the Service Members Civil Relief Act, including debtor and creditor matters, domestic relations and tenant rights.

    Contacts:
    Mike Renner, Director
    Ohio Military/Veterans Legal Assistance Project
    mrenner@mvlap.org/614-804-1878

    Shawn Beeml, Director, Office of Professional Development
    Capital University Law School
    sbeem@law.capital.edu/614-236-6377


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     News from the National Center for Adoption Law & Policy (NCALP)

    It’s been a busy and rewarding end of the year for the National Center for Adoption Law & Policy.

    HealthPath Foundation award
    The HealthPath Foundation of Ohio presented the NCALP with an award for its leadership in the Ohio Intimate Partner Violence Collaborative at a celebration of its Prevention of Family Violence Initiative on October 5, 2012. HealthPath generously supports NCALP through this initiative, which funds programs that prevent and respond to family violence, including child abuse, domestic violence, intimate partner violence, bullying, teen dating violence, and elder abuse.

    Annual Nonprofit IT CreativITy Award by The Groundwork Group
    NCALP was the recipient of an Annual Nonprofit IT CreativITy Award recognizing NCALP’s innovative social enterprise IT programming, including NCALP’s Adoption and Child Welfare LawSite and the Ohio Adoption Photolisting. The award was presented by the Groundwork Group, a non-profit whose mission is to help other non-profits achieve their goals by leveraging technology. This is their statement about the awards:

    Nonprofits are creatively applying technology to run amazing programs in Ohio every day. Often, remarkable activities go unnoticed except by those directly impacted by the services. The Nonprofit Creativity Awards will raise awareness – providing the opportunity to learn about and celebrate unique programs and how organizations are implementing technology across their businesses to effectively serve their clients and achieve the goals of their missions.

    Winners were announced on November 15th during an online awards presentation and will be featured in a full-page ad in Columbus Business First's Columbus Giving Guide. The excellent work of Christine Morris, NCALP’s Information Technology director and website coordinator, made the nomination possible. Great work, Christine! As part of the nomination process, the Groundwork Group filmed a video of NCALP staff and students.

    Ohio Adoption Advocacy Day – November 14
    NCALP was a co-sponsor of the Ohio Adoption Advocacy Day Event at the Ohio Statehouse on November 14th. This annual event celebrates adoptive families and highlights the thousands of children across the country who are waiting for safe, permanent homes. Executive Director Denise St. Clair served on the event planning committee and Capital University Law School/Foster Youth Advocacy students participated by greeting guests, legislators and adoption and child welfare stakeholders.

    NCALP Adoption Day 2012National Adoption Day - November 16
    The National Center for Adoption Law & Policy at Capital University Law School partnered with Franklin County Children Services, The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, Public Children Services Association of Ohio and Nationwide Insurance on November 16 to celebrate families who adopt children from the foster care system. Franklin County Probate Judge Robert Montgomery and his staff of magistrates finalized the adoptions of seven children, ranging in age from one to 17, by six loving families. NCALP attorneys Fawn Gadel, Rosemary Pomeroy, and Marsha Wickliffe, and Capital University Law School students, Abbie Obenour, Hilari Lipton, Hannah Botkin-Doty, Ryan Preston, and Ashleigh Henry, and Alexa Manes provided volunteer legal services for families whose adoptions were finalized that day.

    Together 2012
    NCALP’s Foster Youth Advocacy Center (FYAC) assisted many former foster youth and young adults with legal issues that challenged their success in independent living, including identity theft and lack of accessible housing and medical care. NCALP staff celebrated with some of these youth at the Foster Care Alumni of America Ohio Chapter’s annual Thanksgiving dinner at Capital University.

    The work of the FYAC was recognized by the Office of Children and Families of the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services in its “First Friday” newsletter. Read the article. 

     


    Helping a Community establish a “Zone” of Agreement 

    The Greater Hilltop Area Shalom Zone is a non-profit organization creating a network of individuals and organizations committed to curbing the pandemic violence and addressing the educational, cultural, economic, health and spiritual needs of the Westside of Columbus.

    The Zone is in the process of establishing a Community Mediation and Peacemaking Center within the Greater Hilltop Community.  Eugene Brundige, Arbitrator and Mediator, who serves as Vice Chair of the Shalom Zone Board of Directors and the coordinator for the Mediation Center requested assistance from Capital University Law School. 

    As a result, Capital University Law School’s Center for Dispute Resolution co-directors Scot Dewhirst and Terry Wheeler are assisting with mediation training. Mediation Certificate Program students Dawn Hackett, Brad Smith and John Vogelpohl have volunteered their expertise for training and mediation services. 

    The mediation center is developing a cadre of volunteer mediators and peer mediators (trained students within the schools of the Hilltop). The mediation and peacemaking center will receive referrals from the juvenile court, police and local schools with the goal being to resolve conflicts without resorting to legal remedies or violence.

    “The Zone” has established other partnerships to help revitalize the community. Programs and services include: Childrens Defense Fund Freedom Schools to bridge the summer gap and encourage civic engagement and literacy; mental health services; after-school program tutoring; mentoring youth, children, and families; provision of food, clothing, and emergency assistance to the homeless, hungry, and hurting; and home counseling for foreclosure and pre-purchase.



    CapLaw Student Wins eMediation Competition 

    Rebecca Riger
    Capital University Law School student Rebecca Riger was selected as the winner of the Cyberweek 2012 eMediation Competition.

    Riger is a student in the Fall 2012 Capital University Law School Mediation Clinic class, where she is mediating cases in Franklin County Municipal Court and in the Columbus City Prosecutor’s Office. Competing students participated in two rounds: an employment dispute and a small claims/community dispute. Students playing the roles of mediator were judged on their ability to provide an informative opening statement, convey a collaborative behavioral style, use active listening skills, re-frame each party’s perspective, remain objective during the process, address the parties’ behavioral styles and empower the parties to be collaborative and generate creative solutions.

    The event is an annual virtual conference dedicated to innovations and developments happening in online dispute resolution. The week-long conference includes online student competitions in the areas of electronic mediation, dispute resolution and ethics.

    The 44 competing students represented colleges and universities from around the world, including Capital University Law School, The Ohio State University, Cornell University ILR School, Cornell University Law School, Creighton University, Marquette University Law School, Seattle University, Singapore Management University, South Texas College of Law, Southern Methodist University, Tbilisi State University, Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero, and Wayne State University.

    Capital University Law School’s Center for Dispute Resolution serves as a resource for and is engaged in teaching, training, experimentation, application, development and research associated with resolving disputes. It applies a particular emphasis on negotiation and mediation.