Third-year law student Magda Phillips was recently selected by the Ohio Access to Justice Foundation to serve at the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland in the fall of 2023 as a Justice for All Fellow. Her project addresses the racial wealth gap by helping Black residents of Northeast Ohio achieve financial stability in the short and long term.
Phillips, who was drawn to Case Western Reserve University School of Law for its commitment to Public Interest Law, is a member of the Black Law Student Association, head Bar rep for Kaplan, and Regional Director of Alumni Affairs for the Midwest Black Law Student Association.
Having served as a Summer Associate at Legal Aid, Magda had the opportunity to work with the Economic Justice Practice Group and learn from the team working directly on legal issues spanning from Bankruptcy Law, Tax Law, Consumer Law, Employment Law, Unemployment Compensation, and Barriers to Employment (including discrimination). This opportunity provided the introduction to other Fellows, and will allow Phillips to apply her training directly to low income Black Ohians who can benefit from holistic legal attention.
“People cannot save what they do not have.” She said, “And people cannot invest in, or prepare for, a future they are not convinced will materialize. With better access to legal services, our most vulnerable community members will gain the knowledge necessary to protect their rights and the tools necessary to confidently pursue their financial goals.”
“My project will have two central components,” Phillips said. “I will work with current/recent Legal Aid clients who received help with a financial legal issue to delve deeper into their household finances and collaborate on a plan to protect their savings, grow their wealth, and plan for the eventual transfer of their assets to loved ones.”
“In addition, I will conduct Financial Wellness Education sessions for community members at trusted neighborhood locations across Legal Aid’s service area. Attendees may seek one-on-one assistance beyond these sessions for complex matters requiring full representation.”
Congratulations to Magda Phillips!