At McDonald Hopkins, we believe public service is fundamentally important to the legal profession. We strive to be good corporate citizens and the needs of our communities guide and frame what we do. Whether it’s providing pro bono legal assistance, participating on local nonprofit boards, or donating to charitable campaigns, we focus on giving back to those who need us most. We encourage and recognize attorneys at our firm who demonstrate a commitment to public service and pro bono legal work.
- Recent pro bono activity
- Medicaid Pro Bono Program
- Ohio Patent Pro Bono Program
- McDonald Hopkins' Veterans' Pro Bono Clinic
Victory for U.S. Navy veteran
McDonald Hopkins’ Joseph Muska recently represented a disabled U.S. Navy veteran he met through the firm's Veteran's Pro Bono Clinic in a landlord-tenant dispute. The lawsuit arose when the landlord failed to return the veteran’s security deposit after he terminated his lease. The court entered an order in the full amount of the security deposit in favor of Muska’s client and against the landlord.
Right to Counsel
McDonald Hopkins represented several Legal Aid organizations and advocacy groups throughout Ohio in filing an amicus brief requesting the Supreme Court of Ohio to accept jurisdiction of a landmark legal issue involving the right to counsel. The case seeks to establish the right of an to indigent parent to have an attorney appointed on their behalf in contested adoption cases in which a separate party is attempting to adopt the child. Amy Wojnarwsky was the lead attorney on the amicus brief.
Appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
McDonald Hopkins represented a debtor in bankruptcy who owned a martial residence together with his spouse as tenants by the entirety. The opposing party had obtained a substantial default judgment against the debtor which had been recorded as a lien against the marital residence. The debtor’s wife subsequently died after the filing of the bankruptcy petition. The issue presented is whether future interests in property held as a tenant by the entirety as of the petition date are exempt from bankruptcy administration under 11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(2). The appeal remains pending. The client is represented by Stephen Rosenfeld and Shara Cornell in the Chicago office
McDonald Hopkins is proud to partner with Disability Rights Ohio to expand their existing Medicaid Pro Bono Program, which provides legal services to Ohio families and children with disabilities. The program, which started when DRO teamed up with Nationwide Insurance in 2017, will now be able to reach more people struggling to obtain access to adequate healthcare services and medical equipment.
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Under the America Invents Act, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Cleveland Intellectual Property Law Association (CIPLA) established the Ohio Patent Pro Bono Program to assist financially under-resourced independent inventors and small businesses. The program functions as a referral service and matches inventors with volunteer attorneys who donate their services to help prepare and prosecute patent applications. McDonald Hopkins was a founding member of the IP Venture Clinic at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, which currently administers the program throughout Ohio.
As one of the first firms to commit pools of billable hours to the program, McDonald Hopkins has continued to support the Ohio Patent Pro Bono Program since its establishment. In April 2019, Mark Guinto and Julie Micalizzi received U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Certificates of Achievement for their donations of more than 50 hours of pro bono work. Mark is consistently recognized by the USPTO for his pro bono work, having also received the USPTO Outstanding Volunteer Award in 2017 and 2018.
Working with the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland and the Veterans Administration Community Referral and Resource Center, McDonald Hopkins has developed a program to provide free legal advice and referrals to low-income veterans in need of help. Veterans who have been pre-identified by the Legal Aid Society meet with McDonald Hopkins volunteer attorneys for in-person, one-on-one counseling on civil legal issues related to shelter, safety, consumer rights, health, education, work, or income issues.
Since May 2014, the clinic has been proud to serve some of the nearly 900,000 veterans in Ohio. The Veterans’ Pro Bono Clinic is offered every four to six weeks at the Veterans Administration Community Referral and Resource Center in Cleveland. Veterans looking for legal assistance can refer to the schedule on the Legal Aid Society’s website for specific dates and times.
In October 2015, the Legal Aid Society honored McDonald Hopkins’ Jeffrey Pollock with a Community Impact Award for his work leading the Veteran Pro Bono Clinic. Even after retiring from the firm in 2017, Jeffrey continues to provide pro bono legal services to Ohio veterans and still volunteers at the clinic.