Board Chair Davis Promises Thorough and Diligent Search to Meet OLAF, Affiliates’ Needs

After 15 years of service, the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation’s (OLAF) founder and Executive Director, Robert M. Clyde, has decided to retire from full-time status with OLAF. Clyde will assume a part-time role of Senior Counsel and Director of Government Relations. With 12 years prior experience as the Director of Northeast Ohio Legal Services, and five additional years as a staff attorney and the Assistant Director, Bob has devoted his entire professional career, over 37 years, to the delivery of legal services to low-income Ohioans.

“Bob has forged many important and successful trails for OLAF and legal services throughout Ohio and the country, and now with his help we will clear one more trail: his well-deserved retirement,” said Julie Davis, OLAF Board President and Executive Vice President & General Counsel for Retail Ventures, Inc. Davis continued, “Bob’s legacy is as a passionate leader in the legal aid community who has tirelessly worked to ensure that low-income Ohioans have equal access to our justice system His continuous efforts to improve the legal aid system have earned him great respect throughout the state and across the nation.” Clyde’s part-time status will commence on January 19, 2010 and will continue through the end of the year.

[Jerry Lawson]( “Jerry Lawson”), also a well-known and respected leader with past experience in Ohio’s legal aid community, will serve as Interim Executive Director. Lawson will be responsible for management of OLAF’s day-to-day operations and will be responsible for designing and managing the search process. Lawson, who is not a candidate for the permanent position, will begin as Interim Executive Director also on January 19. “We are very fortunate that this plan gives us time to conduct a diligent and thorough search for our next leader, and that someone as qualified and well-known to our organization as Jerry is available to serve us in this transition period,” said Davis of the search for OLAF’s new executive director.

Visit OLAF’s website ( to learn more about the OLAF leadership transition and how to apply for the Executive Director position; and to follow the innovative work of the Foundation. Subscribe to email updates on the transition through the OLAF website.

About Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation

Created by the Ohio Legislature in 1994, the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation, in partnership with the state and local bar associations, elected officials, and local legal aid providers, works statewide to assure that resources, programs and services exist to serve the civil legal needs of Ohio’s poor.


Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation

Jeffrey Fortkamp (

614-466-5337 or 800-877-9772