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Legal Aid Law Firms Move to New Center for Equal Justice

In a move that has been in the works for more than five years, Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc. (ABLE) and Legal Aid of Western Ohio, Inc. (LAWO) are relocating their law offices on Friday, April 24, 2009 to the new Center for Equal Justice.  The Center for Equal Justice is located directly across from the new sports arena at the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Huron Streets in the heart of downtown, Toledo.

An informal welcome open house is planned for the first morning in the Center for Equal Justice on Monday, April 27 beginning at 9:00 a.m.  United States Senator Sherrod Brown, along with other public officials, LAWO and ABLE staff, members of the boards of trustees, and those who have helped to raise funds for the renovation of the former Western Union Building into the Center for Equal Justice will be in attendance. Senator Brown will make a presentation at approximately 10:00 a.m.
 
In a move that has been in the works for more than five years, Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc. (ABLE) and Legal Aid of Western Ohio, Inc. (LAWO) are relocating their law offices on Friday, April 24, 2009 to the new Center for Equal Justice.  The Center for Equal Justice is located directly across from the new sports arena at the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Huron Streets in the heart of downtown, Toledo.

An informal welcome open house is planned for the first morning in the Center for Equal Justice on Monday, April 27 beginning at 9:00 a.m.  United States Senator Sherrod Brown, along with other public officials, LAWO and ABLE staff, members of the boards of trustees, and those who have helped to raise funds for the renovation of the former Western Union Building into the Center for Equal Justice will be in attendance. Senator Brown will make a presentation at approximately 10:00 a.m.

According to Joseph Tafelski, executive director of ABLE, the loading of 40 years worth of case files, client records, furniture, and other items and moving them one block to the new space has been highly anticipated by everyone involved – including the 90 or more employees who will continue the work at Toledo’s law firms for the poor from the Center for Equal Justice.

“We are very excited to finally be moving into our own building,” says Tafelski. “Staff have been packing in the evenings and weekends for months and are thrilled the day has finally arrived,” he adds.  LAWO and ABLE will release their Toledo employees at Noon on Friday, at which time the movers will begin the process of loading hundreds of case files, office furniture, computers, office supplies, and other items to the Center for Equal Justice, one block south at 525 Jefferson Avenue in downtown.

“What we are very happy about is that we have renovated a vacant eyesore and been able to remain in the downtown area,” adds Tafelski.  “Our clients need to have easy access to our attorneys and advocates as well as to the court system,” explains Tafelski.  “With the location of the Center for Equal Justice, we continue to be accessible, and we are able to significantly contribute to the economic revitalization and sustainability of downtown Toledo,” he says.

“There will be no major down time during the move,” says Kevin Mulder, executive director of LAWO.  “With eight other offices throughout our 32-county service area and our telephone and Web based intake procedures, clients facing emergencies will still get the assistance they need.”

LAWO and ABLE staff will arrive at 9:00 a.m. on Monday at the Center for Equal Justice for their first day of work in their new offices.  The biggest changes in addition to the physical location are the open work environment and the new “green” policies.

“The Center for Equal Justice is a green building where environment-friendly cleaning products, paper, and other materials will be used,” says Mulder.  By transforming an existing building and focusing on energy conservation and efficient use of resources, the firms are seeking LEED Certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) at the silver level.  

The address for the Center for Equal Justice is 525 Jefferson Avenue.  All other contact information for the firms remain the same.