Pro Bono
Pro Bono

At McDonald Hopkins,  we believe in Dean Pound’s words.  We also live them.

The needs of the communities we serve guide and frame what we do.  Once we identify local needs, we take action.  Whether we are performing pro bono legal work, undertaking public service functions, such as board service for not-for-profit entities, or getting involved in charitable campaigns, such as the United Way of Greater Cleveland, we focus always on serving those in our communities who need us most.


McDonald Hopkins Veterans’ Pro Bono Clinic – another Pro Bono First

McDonald Hopkins, working with the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland and the Veterans Administration Community Referral and Resource Center, has developed a new initiative to provide free legal advice and referrals to low-income veterans in need of help. This unique collaboration is the first of its kind in Cleveland, and connects low-income veterans with our volunteer lawyers to deliver direct legal advice and recommend a course of action. The Clinic follows a brief advice and referral clinic model, whereby veterans who have been pre-identified by Legal Aid meet with our attorneys in person on a one-on-one basis. We evaluate their cases and provide legal counsel, so they can proceed confidently towards an appropriate resolution.

Veterans face many challenges

The brave men and women who serve our country sometimes find the transition difficult as they return home and reenter civilian life. The military skills they bring with them may be in low demand, making jobs scarce and leading to financial strain. Consequently, low-income veterans may struggle to stay on top of bills and lack the financial and other resources to seek out needed legal guidance. Nearly 900,000 veterans reside in Ohio, making it the sixth most veteran-populated state in the country. Nationally, few programs are devoted specifically to providing legal advice to these American heroes when issues arise.

The McDonald Hopkins Veterans’ Pro Bono Clinic is offered every four to six weeks at the VA Community Referral and Resource Center located at 7000 Euclid Avenue in Cleveland. Veterans seeking legal assistance can refer to the schedule posted on the Legal Aid Society’s website for screening information, as well as specific dates and times ( The inaugural Clinic, held May 7, 2014, was a rousing success.  We are both proud and humbled to have developed this unique opportunity to serve those who have served our country so well.

“McDonald Hopkins has a long history
working with Legal Aid on innovative pro bono projects.
The firm has helped serve the community
by focusing efforts on
vulnerable populations Legal Aid helps.
Now, with this special clinic for U.S. Veterans,
McDonald Hopkins again demonstrates its
leadership in pro bono service and creative programming.
We are thrilled the firm is a close partner!”

Ann McGowan Porath
Managing Attorney of Legal Aid’s Volunteer Lawyers Program

McDonald Hopkins Juvenile Court Pro Se Clinic – Cleveland

The number of people who cannot afford the legal help they need to address child support issues in the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court is nearly overwhelming, and there is no agency or entity whose function it is to provide this help. Many pro se litigants are not being heard, because they don’t know how to present their claims and defenses in a format that the Court can accept and consider.

In an unprecedented collaboration, McDonald Hopkins in Cleveland worked with the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court and the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland to provide those in need of help with free legal assistance. The goal of the Clinic was to permit indigent people to proceed in the Court on their own, with properly-drawn documents and an understanding of their next steps. Our volunteer lawyers, after intensive training, met with income-eligible litigants who had been pre-identified by Legal Aid. We worked to empower these litigants to go forward in their own cases and give the Court what it needed to make a good decision in each case.

The McDonald Hopkins Juvenile Court Pro Se Clinic was offered monthly from July 31, 2010, to August 20, 2011. Our attorneys worked with between 10-12 people each month, and had a measurable impact on matters in the Juvenile Court providing individuals with a vehicle to access the Court which otherwise would have been unattainable. The Clinic has continued on as a twice a month Clinic at Juvenile Court staffed by Cleveland Marshall law students supervised by attorneys, and has been replicated by other legal services organizations.