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What We Do

OPLC advocates for policies aimed at reducing poverty and increasing access to opportunities and justice for all Ohioans.  OPLC also provides assistance to and collaborates with the Ohio legal aid community as the legal services state support center for Ohio.  OPLC attorneys are experienced poverty law advocates who work to address pressing issues facing low-income Ohioans.


What is the difference between OPLC and a local legal aid office?

Most legal aid offices provide civil legal assistance and representation to low-income individuals and families in the office’s service area (usually one or more counties).  You can find the legal aid office that serves your area by clicking here.

OPLC advocates for policies in Ohio’s legislature and administrative agencies, provides education and outreach, and provides training and other support for Ohio’s legal aid organizations.

Is there a difference between “legal services” and “legal aid”?

When we use the terms “legal services” and “legal aid” on this website, we use them interchangeably, to describe Ohio’s non-profit legal aid offices that provide free legal assistance to low-income individuals and families.  Be careful, though, because some for-profit law firms call themselves “legal aid” or “legal services” to confuse the public.

Does OPLC handle cases for individuals?

No.  OPLC does not accept inquiries or consider cases brought to us by the public.  If you need legal assistance, please contact your local legal aid office.

Is OPLC hiring? Can I volunteer at OPLC?

We currently have a position opening for a staff attorney. Here is the job announcement:

The Ohio Poverty Law Center seeks an attorney to advocate on behalf of Ohioans living, working, and raising their children in poverty.  At the Ohio Poverty Law Center, we advocate for legislative and administrative policies that protect and expand the legal rights of low-income Ohioans and create real opportunities for people struggling to cope with low-wage jobs, insufficient education, lack of affordable and safe housing, and other factors making it improbable that they will move out of poverty without changes to current policies.

Candidates for this position must demonstrate the ability to engage with legislative, administrative, and executive governmental staff in a positive, solution-oriented manner. The candidate must demonstrate strong analytical and writing skills and the ability to work with legal aid attorneys and other advocates across Ohio to identify systemic barriers affecting low-income people and obtain policies that will eliminate barriers and create meaningful opportunities for economic mobility and justice.  Candidates should enjoy working in a fast-paced environment, sometimes under pressure, remaining flexible, proactive, resourceful, and efficient, with a high level of professionalism.

Strong communications skills are required. These include the ability to research and write policy briefs, concise fact sheets, and summaries for different audiences. Candidates must also be able to write persuasive testimony and articles for newsletters and our website.

Additional standards and qualifications for this job:

Experience in policy advocacy is strongly preferred.

This job is based in Columbus, Ohio.  Salary is based on years of experience and would start at $45,750.  Generous vacation and benefits.

For priority consideration, send a cover letter and resume to on or before April 5th, 2017.  This job will be open until filled.

Ohio State Legal Services Association and its affiliate Ohio Poverty Law Center are Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employers.

We welcome volunteer law students and attorneys.  We accept law clerks each summer, usually posting a hiring notice in November.  Although OPLC cannot pay law students a salary, we are happy to support applications for public interest law fellowships and other paid internships.

Attorneys who are interested in volunteering should contact Janet Hales or Patrick Higgins for more information.

How can I contact OPLC?

You can contact OPLC by phone at (614) 221-7201 or (800) 589-5888.  You can email us at

Can I donate to OPLC?

We would be honored to accept your donation.  OPLC is a Limited Liability Company (LLC) that is wholly owned by Ohio State Legal Services Association, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. Your donation is tax deductible.   Click here or on the Donate button above to donate today!

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