New legal self-help resource center opens for litigants in Franklin County
On May 2, the Franklin County Municipal Court and The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law opened the Franklin County Municipal Court Self-Help Resource Center to assist litigants who are representing themselves in court navigate the legal system.
The Self-Help Resource Center is located on the 10th Floor of 369 S. High St. and is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Attorney Kayla Callahan ’15 is the current Franklin County Municipal Court Pro Se Fellow and serves as the center’s principal staff person.
The center provides information and assistance, but not legal advice, to indigent pro se litigants seeking information on where to go, what resources are available, what forms are required, and other administrative advice in connection with proceedings before the Municipal Court, as well as certain matters before the Court of Common Pleas. The center can assist pro se litigants by addressing their information needs in such key areas as landlord-tenant matters, expungements, consumer law issues, and other general division or small claims matters. For those litigants that qualify based on their financial circumstances, center staff can help in locating and using proper forms, understanding procedural requirements and eligibility questions, and drafting simple pleadings.
“It fills an important need in the community by educating those who cannot afford to hire an attorney as to how the civil court system works,” said Carrie Glaeden ’89, president of the Columbus Bar Foundation. “Hopefully, judges will see improvements in the filings by those who are representing themselves.”
The development of the Self-Help Resource Center has been a joint effort of the Municipal Court, Moritz, and the Columbus Bar Foundation, which has provided generous financial assistance to fund the renovation of the physical space to house the center.
The Franklin County Municipal Court Pro Se Fellowship is one of eight public service fellowships at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.