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Who We Are

The Ohio Poverty Law Center is a nonprofit law office advocating for policies to protect and expand the legal rights of low-income Ohioans.

Ohio Poverty Law Center began as part of the Ohio State Legal Services Association (OSLSA), which was started in 1966 by the Ohio State Bar Association with funding assistance from the Office of Economic Opportunity.  Formerly functioning as the state support unit of OSLSA, Ohio Poverty Law Center became a separately incorporated nonprofit in 2009.

Ohio Poverty Law Center Board of Managers

Jonathan W. Marshall,
Attorney at Law

Mary Asbury
Executive Director
Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati

Myia Batie
Coordinator of Policy and Programs
Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing

Ian Beniston
Executive Director
Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation

Jim Daniels
Southeastern Ohio Legal Services

Margaret Hulbert
Vice President
Strategic Resources & Public Policy
United Way of Greater Cincinnati

Jeanne D. Johns
Deputy Director for Advocacy
Legal Aid of Western Ohio, Inc.

Steven McGarrity
Executive Director
Community Legal Aid Services, Inc.

Thomas Mlakar
Deputy Director for Advocacy
Legal Aid Society of Cleveland

Phil Moots
Attorney at Law
Newhouse, Prophater, Kolman & Hogan, LLC

Rev. D. L. Perryman
Rev. Dr. Donald Perryman, D.Min.
President, United Pastors for Social Empowerment
Center of Hope Baptist Church

Ronald J. Rees
Executive Director
Corporation for Ohio Appalachian Development

Zach Schiller
Research Director
Policy Matters Ohio

Thomas W. Weeks – staff
Executive Director
Ohio State Legal Services Association

Gina Wilt
Advocacy Director


Susan Jagers, Director
Phone: (614) 827-0549

Susan Jagers joined the Ohio Poverty Law Center as its Director in February 2018 after 10 years as a government affairs and communications consultant. As a consultant, she helped clients develop messages and strategies to successfully move their issues at the Ohio Statehouse.  Susan served as director of the government relations department of a large Ohio nonprofit and was the co-chair of the successful 2006 SmokeFreeOhio campaign. Susan served eight years as a member of Grandview Heights City Council and holds a BA in American Studies from the University of Dayton and a law degree from Case Western Reserve University.

oplcMS-3Graham Bowman, Attorney
Phone: (614) 824-2502

Graham Bowman received his law degree from Loyola University of Chicago School of Law in Spring of 2013 with certificates in public interest and health law. During law school Graham was active with Loyola’s Medical-Legal Partnership and worked for a variety of non-profit law firms focused on access to health care, including the Shriver Center and the National Health Law Program. In 2013, Graham was awarded an Equal Justice Works Fellowship with the Law Project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. He organized legal clinics for homeless youth at shelters, health clinics, and high schools throughout Chicago and successfully advocated for various changes to state law and policy regarding the rights of homeless youth to apply for public benefits and access health care.

Patrick M. Higgins, Attorney & Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation Justice for All Fellow

Phone: (614) 824-2504

Patrick M. Higgins joined the Ohio Poverty Law Center in September 2016 as an Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation Justice for All Fellow. He works on workforce issues and addresses legal barriers to employment, particularly those related to criminal records. He also works with the Legal Aid Society of Columbus and Southeastern Ohio Legal Services to perform direct legal representation and information sharing components of his fellowship. Higgins, who was awarded the 2016 Equal Justice Works Public Interest Award for the Midwest region, spent the majority of his law school career working in the public interest sector, including: as a law clerk at the Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio; as certified legal intern at the University of Cincinnati Domestic Violence and Civil Protection Order Clinic; and as a summer associate at Advocates for Basic Legal Equality in Toledo. Patrick graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Law as an Arthur Russell Morgan Fellow in Human Rights, a position within the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights, where he served as the Senior Articles Editor with Portfolio for the Human Rights Quarterly. Higgins received his B.A. in Global Liberal Studies with a minor in Spanish Language from New York University.


The Ohio Poverty Law Center is very grateful for the support of its funders.  OPLC is supported through operating funds from the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation and grant funding from the George Gund Foundation, the Ohio State Bar Foundation, JDP Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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