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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 legislative specialist.  Here is the job announcement:

The Ohio Poverty Law Center seeks a dynamic team player for a legislative specialist position.  This position provides an exciting opportunity to support policies and policy changes aimed at reducing poverty and protecting and expanding the legal rights of low-income Ohioans.  Candidates for this position must demonstrate the ability to engage with legislative, administrative, and executive governmental staff in a positive, solution-oriented manner, strong analytical skills, and be willing to provide support to the Ohio legal aid community in areas of poverty law. 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 written communications skills are required and include the ability to research and write policy briefs, concise fact sheets and summaries for different audiences, persuasive written testimony, and newsletter and website articles.

Candidates must have post-secondary education, two years previous legislative and administrative policy experience, and a demonstrated interest in poverty. Experience in the use of key advocacy tools such as social media, research, and policy analysis is strongly preferred.

Salary is based on years of experience.  Excellent benefits/leave package.  OPLC also provides excellent ongoing training opportunities.

Please send cover letter and resume to on or before midnight on January 14, 2017.

We are an equal opportunity affirmative action employer.

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 Linda Cook or Mike Smalz 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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