Lisa Gasbarre Black, general counsel for Catholic Charities, Diocese of Cleveland, was honored June 16 by the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association as the 2022 Justice for All Volunteer of the Year. The award, which was presented at CMBA’s 15th annual meeting, recognizes her extraordinary volunteer service and support of the Cleveland Homeless Legal Assistance program and the JFA committee.
“I am so pleased to report that the JFA Committee has selected Lisa Gasbarre Black, a longtime CMBA and JFA Committee member and past JFA chair, to receive the 2022 JFA Volunteer of the Year Award,” said Sara Nemastil, JFA chair. “For many years, Lisa has advanced the JFA Committee’s mission to ensure that all members of our community have equal access to justice, especially the poor and underserved. Lisa is a true inspiration within our profession as a lawyer who gives back.”
“I am both humbled and grateful to the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association for selecting me as the 2022 recipient of its Volunteer of the Year Award,” Black said. “I have worked with many outstanding lawyers and legal professionals over the years at the CMBA and in our legal community.”
(See her comments in the video above.)
She expressed gratitude to Patrick Gareau, Catholic Charities’ president and CEO, for his support of her efforts over the years, and Bishop Edward Malesic and leadership at the Diocese of Cleveland for their dedication to the people of Greater Cleveland.
During the past eight-plus years, Black has devoted many hours of volunteer service to CMBA, including serving two years as chair of the JFA Committee. She also was a volunteer in the Cleveland Homeless Legal Assistance Program and led efforts to partner with organizations to provide regular volunteer service to the homeless and at-risk individuals at the Bishop William Cosgrove Center, a Catholic Charities’ ministry, and the West Side Catholic Center. Both sites have many service needs.
Black helped forge stronger relationships between CMBA and the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland as pro se (cases where a litigant proceeds without counsel) and other clinical programs have developed and grown over the years. She also is a CMBA Fellow, making a commitment of support through a financial pledge.
Her knowledge of the needs of the poor and underrepresented in the community has been an asset to CMBA as the organization builds its programs, recruits and trains volunteers. She has also used her knowledge of the CMBA and legal community to help build stronger partnerships with community organizations serving those in need, promoting a Pro Bono Summit. CMBA said she stands out as a volunteer who has made and continues to make a big difference -- a general counsel committed to pro bono and community service through the “lawyers giving back” programs, a leader and collaborator and a financial supporter.
Black mentioned Mary Groth of CMBA, who she called “A tireless advocate for young people and diverse communities and someone who always encouraged me to get involved and stay involved in community engagement program with our bar association. Planting one small seed has truly reaped a bountiful harvest of pro bono (donated legal work) and charitable service to those in need in our Greater Cleveland community.”