Paula Schultz, Coordinator
Many of the families who come to Mahoning County Juvenile Court cannot afford an attorney and may not qualify for a court-appointed attorney. Attempting to begin the legal process by filing the appropriate forms without legal assistance can be very difficult, confusing and complex. In order to help these families, Judge Dellick established the Attorney Help Desk.
The Attorney Help Desk provides unrepresented individuals the opportunity to meet with an attorney who will determine the appropriate legal forms to be filed and who will assist in completing these forms. The Attorney Help Desk opened in March of 2016. The hours are Wednesdays from 10:00A.M. to 3:30 p.m. It is staffed by one private practice attorney per week who has experience in such areas as custody, support, visitation, and paternity. There are approximately twelve attorneys who provide this service. They are compensated through funding obtained by Mahoning County Juvenile Court.
An unrepresented individual meets with the attorney to discuss the involved legal issues. The attorney then determines the proper forms which need to be filed. The individual is provided with the forms and instructed to obtain all of the needed information to complete the forms such as addresses and dates of birth. The attorney then advises the individual that the forms can be immediately filed if all information is available or the individual can return to the Help Desk the following week to have the forms reviewed before filing.
The Attorney Help Desk has provided services to hundreds of individuals since opening over two years ago. Approximately 10 to 12 individuals are served each week and the service has greatly helped unrepresented individuals begin the legal process. It has also prevented dismissals and continuances which in the past, delayed proceedings.
The Help Desk is approved by the Ohio Board of Professional Conduct.