The Hamilton County Courthouse has a new tenant, one that will hopefully help level the playing field for Pro Se litigants attempting to navigate the legal system on their own.
The Help Center, located on the first floor of the Courthouse in room 113, is an amazing new resource for anyone with questions or who needs help with a legal topic. Staffed by a fully-licensed attorney and law students from UC, this center offers guidance and limited legal advice for any wishing to represent themselves or for those who cannot afford an attorney.
There are no salary caps or other restrictions on who can be seen. Currently, the Help Center focuses on small claims, evictions, garnishments and judgments and has many guides and cheat sheets about each topic. Staff and volunteers can help patrons understand and fill out forms, prepare for an upcoming court date, understand court processes and procedures and even give coaching on how to represent yourself.
The staff is exceptionally friendly and excited to share information. Their sincere desire is to help those who are in need because they truly believe in liberty, freedom and justice for all.
If you need assistance with other topics besides the four being covered currently by the Help Center, there are other clinics located at 800 Broadway.
For those who need assistance with domestic relations or family law, the Family Law Clinic is open Tuesdays from 9-1 and Thursdays from 11-3 for those with a limited income. Located on the 2nd floor of 800 Broadway, the Family Law Clinic offers many of the same benefits as the Help Center – help filling out forms, what to expect in the courtroom, obtaining evidence, meeting with an attorney for legal advice – only the staff focuses on Domestic Relations Law.
Another excellent resource is the newly opened Juvenile Court Clinic, located on the first floor of 800 Broadway. It is open from 11-3 on Mondays and 9-1 on Wednesdays. Focusing on custody and visitation, this clinic offers help to individuals with a low income who are trying to understand the Juvenile Court system but cannot afford the help of an attorney.
All three of these resources increase the navigability of the Hamilton County Court system and, most importantly, increase access to justice for everyone.