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ABLE, LAWO, TBA present the 2012 Access to Justice Awards, April 30

The annual Access to Justice Awards Dinner, celebrating the work of legal aid and pro bono programs in Ohio, is scheduled for Monday, April 30, 2012, at The Pinnacle in Maumee, Ohio.

Award recipients for 2012 are: attorney C. Thomas McCarter, who is being recognized for his long-term commitment and leadership in ensuring access to justice for the poor in northwest Ohio (with a Distinguished Service Award); attorney Thomas Goodwin, who is being recognized with a Public Interest Law Award for his long-time pro-bono work on behalf of vulnerable and disadvantaged women and children;  and Margarita De León, recipient of a Community Advocacy Award, for her work on behalf of Latinos and groups in northwest Ohio.

C. Thomas McCarter

Marathon Petroleum Corporation and the Findlay/Hancock County Bar Association are being honored with a Public Interest Law Award for working to meet the legal needs of low-income Findlay and Hancock County residents.

The awards dinner is presented by Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc. (ABLE), Legal Aid of Western Ohio, Inc. (LAWO), and the Toledo Bar Association Pro Bono Legal Services Program. Tickets to the dinner are $100 per person and are available by calling ABLE at 419-930-2517 or visiting www.ablelaw.org.

Keynote Speaker:
Featured speaker at this year’s awards dinner is Charles Ogletree, the Harvard Law School Jesse Climenko Professor of Law. Ogletree is a prominent author and legal theorist and is the founding and executive director of Harvard Law School’s new Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice. His most recent book is The Presumption of Guilt: The Arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Race, Class and Crime in America, which draws on the 2009 mistaken arrest of Gates to explore issues of race and what must be done to create a more just legal system.

He is also the co-author of the award-winning book, Beyond the Rodney King Story: An Investigation of Police Conduct in Minority Communities, and he frequently contributes to many journals and law reviews. In addition, he has also appeared as a guest commentator on Nightline, This Week with David Brinkley, McNeil-Lehrer News Hour, Crossfire, the Today Show, Good Morning America, Larry King Live, Cochran & Company, Burden of Proof, and Meet the Press as well as other national and local television and radio programs.

About the Honorees:
Attorney C. Thomas McCarter is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award in “recognition of his long-term commitment and leadership in ensuring access to justice for the poor in northwest Ohio.” McCarter served on ABLE’s Board of Trustees for 10 years. He was a founding member of the Equal Justice Foundation extending his involvement in efforts to support legal services across the state. He has served on the Center for Equal Justice Campaign Steering Committee, and was instrumental in securing support from solo practitioners and small firms in that major effort.

McCarter has been an ongoing Ambassador for numerous annual fundraising campaigns; he is a Phonathon Volunteer, and a member of the Access to Justice Awards Dinner Steering Committee. He is a member of the Development Advisory Council for LAWO and ABLE and is active in engaging prospective donors and community leaders in supporting equal access to justice.

Attorney Thomas P. Goodwin, recipient of a Public Interest Law Award, has represented numerous low-income individuals in family law, domestic violence, and eviction protection on a pro bono basis. Family and housing law for the poor are areas of the law that profoundly impact the quality of life for Lucas County residents.

According to a press release, Goodwin’s “dedication has helped clients obtain civil protection orders for their personal safety, and his volunteer work in eviction cases has prevented defendants from losing their homes and from losing certification for subsidized housing.” His mentoring and training of new attorneys on behalf of the Toledo Bar Association Pro Bono Legal Services Program “has had a far reaching effect as he guides them through the process of representing vulnerable and disadvantaged clients.”

Thomas P. Goodwin

He is certified as a mentor for new attorneys through the Ohio Supreme Court’s Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring Program and is a former board member and secretary of Independent Advocates, Inc., a group that assists victims of domestic violence through the court systems and the maze of social service agencies that provide services.

He has served as a board member and secretary for the ACLU of northwest Ohio, and is currently on its legal committee. He serves on the Lucas County Domestic Violence Task Force and is a 2007 recipient of the Toledo Bar Association Susan L. Martin and Lavelle A. Willinger Award for Outstanding Support of the Pro Bono Program.

Margarita De León, recipient of a Community Advocacy Award, has served on numerous community and women’s initiatives through participation as a board member, a fundraiser, and a voice for some in the Latino communities.

According to a press release, DeLeón has “leveraged her professional experience in corporate and public affairs, journalism, and fundraising with her volunteer experience to become a sought after expert within Toledo’s Latino community. Through the grassroots development of several area events and activities, DeLeón has promoted key impact areas that focus on leadership within the Latino community.”

She co-chaired a half-million dollar fundraising campaign that brought the institutions of higher education together to support Latino students attending college, and co-founded the Diamante Awards. She co-established a Latino Youth Summit at the University of Toledo, and served as the first chair of the University of Toledo’s Hispanic Advisory Committee.

Margarita De León

Her current role is a consultant with the Chicago-based Kaleidoscope Group and she is on the marketing committee for the United Way’s Women’s Initiative, is a board member of the Toledo Lucas County Port Authority, and chairs the Human Resources and Community Relations Committee.

Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) and the Findlay/Hancock County Bar Association are being honored with a Public Interest Law Award for working to meet the legal needs of low-
income Findlay and Hancock County residents. Both groups have shown flexibility and creative thinking when working to meet the legal challenges of low-income people in their community.

When floods devastated the Hancock County area, MPC’s law organization joined with the Findlay/Hancock County Bar Association and Legal Aid in staffing free legal clinics for flood victims. Attorneys voluntarily helped residents interpret their homeowner’s insurance policies and deal with other financial emergencies. As the crisis subsided, MPC’s attorneys and paralegals continued their pro bono efforts by volunteering for monthly free legal clinics at Findlay’s Family Center, a facility that houses several social service agencies.

The Findlay /Hancock County Bar and LAWO recently established a separate clinic to provide assistance to individuals dealing with domestic relations matters. MPC and the Findlay/Hancock County Bar Association attorneys have assisted clients who otherwise would not have had access to critical legal services because of economic hardship. Working with Legal Aid, MPC and the Findlay/Hancock County Bar Association remain steadfast in their commitment to bringing legal services to hundreds of Hancock County area residents each year. 

Copyright © 1989 to 2012 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 04/24/12 18:49:16 -0700.





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