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
Phone: (614) 824-2501
Janet Hales joined the Ohio Poverty Law Center as the new Director in April of 2015. Janet’s experience includes serving as Director of Advocacy for Legal Aid of Western Ohio and 16 years of private law practice representing clients in a wide variety of actions, including fair housing and employment discrimination. After graduating from law school in 1991, Hales served as law clerk to the Hon. Barbara K. Hackett, United States District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan. She started in private practice at Cooper & Walinski, LPA in 1994, where she became a partner and practice group chair. Prior to her legal career, Hales was a teacher and advocate working with children and adults with disabilities.
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.
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.