Legal Aid of Western Ohio, Inc.

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OUR MISSION: Legal Aid of Western Ohio, Inc. (LAWO) is a non-profit regional law firm that provides high quality legal assistance in civil matters to help eligible low-income individuals and groups in western Ohio achieve self reliance, and equal justice and economic opportunity.

Low-income residents of western Ohio turn to LAWO for help with a variety of legal matters. Our experienced staff of attorneys, paralegals, and support personnel serves 32 northwest and west central Ohio counties through offices in Dayton, Defiance, Findlay, Lima, Sandusky, Springfield and Toledo. LAWO provides a full range of legal services, including legal advice, negotiation, litigation, and community education.  Special projects serve victims of domestic violence, seniors, and migrant farmworkers.

To learn more about the specific LAWO services, click on one of the following topics:


ImageLegal Services Corporation (LSC) is the single largest provider of civil legal aid for the poor in the nation. Established by Congress in 1974, LSC operates as a private, nonprofit corporation that promotes equal access to justice and provides grants for high-quality civil legal assistance to low-income Americans. LSC distributes more than 95 percent of its total funding to 134 independent nonprofit legal aid programs with 918 offices that provide legal assistance to low-income individuals and families in every congressional district.

LSC promotes equal access to justice by awarding grants to legal services providers through a competitive grants process; conducting compliance reviews and program visits to oversee program quality and compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements as well as restrictions that accompany LSC funding; and by providing training and technical assistance to programs. LSC encourages programs to leverage limited resources by partnering and collaborating with other funders of civil legal aid, including state and local governments, IOLTA, access to justice commissions, the private bar, philanthropic foundations, and the business community. Visit the LSC Web site to learn more at


2013-2014 LAWO Advocacy Report

In 1964, President Johnson launched the War on Poverty, making 2014 its 50th anniversary. As part of the War on Poverty, the federal government funded legal services for persons in poverty for the first time in U.S. history. The Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO), the agency that administered the War on Poverty, with support from the organized bar at the national level, began initiating local legal services programs with the federal funding. By the end of fiscal year 1966, OEO had established grants for 130 legal services programs. By 1968, OEO grants supported 260 such programs, which were located in every state except North Dakota.

Throughout the history that followed, legal services programs brought cases that urged the courts to recognize the constitutional rights of clients and correctly interpret statutes designed to protect their legal rights. Some of these cases reached appellate courts and successful decisions on these cases changed the legal circumstances of countless persons. Equally important, legal services attorneys have always represented clients before lower courts and administrative bodies to help individuals enforce their legal rights and access opportunities to improve their employment, income support, education, housing, and working and living conditions.

After political struggles threatened federal funding of legal services for persons in poverty, a study committee of the ABA and the President’s Advisory Council on Executive Reorganization recommended creation of a separate corporation to receive funds from Congress and distribute them to local legal services programs. In 1974, the Legal Services Corporation Act was enacted and signed into law. The Legal Services Corporation continues to provide funding for much of LAWO's legal work.

LAWO continues the tradition started during the War on Poverty in its daily work and in implementing the Strategic Advocacy Initiatives. This Advocacy Report provides examples of affirmative litigation, appellate work, and community education that effects or has the potential to change the legal circumstances of large groups of persons in poverty. It does not reflect the countless cases in which individual clients experience a change in their legal circumstances as a result of being represented by an LAWO advocate. 2013 and the first half of 2014 was a time of change within LAWO, however, on every day of every week, LAWO advocates, alone and in partnership with ABLE, continue the vital work that was born out of the War on Poverty. I hope that you are inspired and heartened by the skill and dedication of these poverty law advocates, as well as the short-term results and long-term effects of their work.

Janet Hales
Director of Advocacy


Public Access to Firm Information

All of our brochures in the Services section are in Adobe PDF format and may be accessed by clicking on the title or the image next to it.  If you do not have Adobe Reader on your computer, you may download it here.