The Equality Ohio Legal Clinic provides free direct representation services to clients who self-identify as LGBTQ+ and who are at or below 300% of the federal poverty line. In our experience, many of our clients present with mental health diagnoses that both create challenges for attorneys in providing representation and also retrench systemic barriers that encumber meaningful access to justice for our clients. Important to this conversation is the collaboration with trauma-informed social service providers to help address the whole-person needs of the person preventing stabilization. Maya Simek, Esq., LISW-S, and Kate Mozynski, Esq, will discuss these issues in relationship to direct legal representation of our clients. Keyna Smith from the Anti-Trafficking Initiative at the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center will discuss the recognition of and the addressing of mental health challenges when working with members of the LGBTQ+ community, and when and why an interdisciplinary provider configuration is important. Maya will discuss the creation of the Equality Ohio Legal Clinic and the Community Lawyering and Medical Legal Partnership Models. She will also discuss the importance of partnering with community organizations and provide tips for serving clients who present with mental health challenges. Kate will provide case examples of how we have applied trauma-informed lawyering in our legal clinic and speak more generally about trauma-informed lawyering from the attorney perspective. They will also discuss the impact of secondary trauma when serving LGBTQ+ clients, including addressing lessons learned and developing plans to support self-care and burnout. Kate will also address the importance of community partner collaboration from the attorney perspective. Keyna will provide a social service perspective on serving LGBTQ+ clients who have experienced trauma. She will discuss case management and Trauma-Informed Practices. She will also discuss how to identifying mental health needs, and successful practices for follow-up. She will provide case examples and discuss why collaboration with legal and other service providers is important in serving clients.
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