COLUMBUS, Ohio (May 14, 2021) — Janica Pierce Tucker is the 2021 recipient of the Ohio Access to Justice Foundation Presidential Award. The award, presented today during the Ohio State Bar Association Annual Meeting, is given annually to individuals, law firms, or organizations that have made outstanding efforts to improve access to justice in Ohio.
Since 1996, the Foundation has honored leaders in pro bono who play an indispensable role in helping Ohioans address civil legal issues that impact health, safety, and financial security.
Tucker, partner-in-charge of the Taft Columbus office and board chair of The Legal Aid Society of Columbus has demonstrated a sustained commitment to access to justice and pro bono service throughout her career. For many years, Tucker built and led a free legal clinic at the First Church of God in East Columbus. She scheduled the clinic and recruited pro bono lawyers, single-handedly devoting herself to solving the civil legal challenges of low-income Ohioans.
In 2013, Tucker joined the Legal Aid Society of Columbus Board of Directors, and in 2019 she stepped into a leadership role as the organization’s Board Chair. Not long after, COVID-19 transformed the organization, and Tucker rose to the occasion again to lead the program through the unprecedented health emergency.
“Janica is always incredibly responsive and willing to help on any and all issues. I’m grateful for her wisdom and guidance as I transitioned into the executive director role,” said Kate McGarvey, executive director of Ohio State Legal Services Association, the parent organization of The Legal Aid Society of Columbus. “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, she has been instrumental in helping develop policies and practices that allow our staff to safely provide critically needed legal services.”
Tucker also advocates for civil legal aid. She speaks publicly about the value of pro bono service at events for various groups, including the Supreme Court of Ohio and the Columbus Bar Association. At a Federal Court-sponsored continuing legal education program, she provided remarks promoting the importance of civil legal services for domestic violence survivors.
“Janica is a leader for justice,” said Kim Shumate, president of the Foundation’s board. “It is our ethical obligation as attorneys to work for the public good, and Janica goes above and beyond that call with the selfless donation of her time and talent.”
Download a headshot of Janica Pierce Tucker here.
The Ohio Access to Justice Foundation improves fairness and access to justice for all Ohioans. Established in 1994 as the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation, the Foundation funds Ohio’s legal aids and other access to justice initiatives through the IOLTA/IOTA program, a civil filing fee surcharge, and donations. Through the Foundation’s work, Ohioans have access to legal help, information, and representation, which ensures fairness for all in the justice system.