Legal Aid Society of Cleveland

Legal Aid Society Of Cleveland

Legal Aid Society of Cleveland

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The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland is a legal aid society in Cleveland, Ohio established in 1905. It helped pioneer a nationwide legal aid movement whose leaders held to a simple but profound principle: that rich and poor alike are entitled to equal treatment under the law.

The first legal aid organization, the Deutscher Rechts-Schutz Verein (German Legal Aid Society), was incorporated in New York City in 1876 "to render legal aid and assistance, gratuitously, to those of German birth, who may appear worthy thereof, but who from poverty are unable to procure it."John MacArthur Maguire. The Lance of Justice: A Semi-Centennial History of the Legal Aid Society, 1876–1926 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1928). Chicago's Ethical Culture Society formed the Bureau of Justice in 1888, which sought to provide legal services to all poor persons. This, according to a chronology of the history of legal services, was the first true legal aid organization.

In 1896, the New York society amended its charter, dropping the word "German" to become "The Legal Aid Society," and in 1899 it opened three branch offices. Following these pioneers, legal aid societies were organized in Boston (1900), Philadelphia (1902), and Cleveland (1905).Arthur F. Bigelow, "Epitome of Legal Aid History in the United States, 1876–1925," in "Legal Aid Work," John S. Bradway and Reginald Heber Smith, eds., special issue,...
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