The Akron Legal News

Login | June 23, 2024

New Mahoning Cty. Bar committee seeks to increase volunteerism

Legal News Reporter

Published: February 2, 2023

Members of The Mahoning County Bar Association often serve on nonprofit boards and service clubs or find other ways to give back to the community.
Now they’ll be able to increase awareness of the different volunteer opportunities available in the area with the assistance of fellow bar association members through a formal committee.
Called the public outreach committee, it’s also designed to help foster relationships with local nonprofits while highlighting the impact of charitable giving of time.
Started in September 2022 by the new president-elect Youngstown Municipal Court Administrative/Presiding Judge Carla J. Baldwin, the committee was created to support efforts that improve the community and the lives of residents by encouraging bar members to become more involved in volunteer activities.
“My vision for this committee was to expand on the good works that so many of our members are already engaged in,” said Judge Baldwin, who serves as the chair of the committee.
“For example, if one of our members needs help with a clothing drive for a rotary club event that person could ask committee members to set up boxes in their offices or at a courthouse.
“It’s not designed to be a heavy lift because many of our bar members are on other committees or involved in more than one nonprofit. It’s merely designed to expand on existing relationships.”
Since it’s still relatively new, Judge Baldwin said the focus at the moment is on getting the word out about the committee and its mission.
“We are looking for bar members to join the committee, but even if they don’t we want them to bring attention to the work they are doing and let us know how we can help.”
In addition to creating and chairing the public outreach committee, Judge Baldwin has been serving as president-elect since October. This after attorney Ross Smith resigned from the role and she was elected by the board of trustees to fill the vacancy.
“I have been busy learning about the bylaws, financial operations and protocols of the bar association,” said Judge Baldwin.
“Right now my primary role is to support the current president Ryan Ingram, but I am trying to get up to speed on the inner workings of the organization so I am prepared to take over as president in July if elected,” said Judge Baldwin.
A native of Youngstown, Judge Baldwin received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Capital University in Columbus and her juris doctorate from Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School.
She began her legal career in 2008 as an assistant county prosecutor in Mahoning County. In 2017, she was appointed as a Mahoning County Juvenile Court magistrate.
That same year, she made history as the first African American female elected as a judge in Mahoning County.
She took her seat on the Youngstown Municipal Court bench in January 2018.
A longtime member of the Ohio State and Mahoning County bar associations, Judge Baldwin is currently a member of The Mahoning County Bar Association Lawyers Assistance and Access to Justice committees and co-chairs the Law Day Committee.
She is a charter member and parliamentarian of the Ohio Black Judges Association.
Judge Baldwin also serves on numerous nonprofit boards, including Inspiring Minds, the Raymond John Wean Foundation, Opera Western Reserve, The Butler Institute of American Art and Classroom 2 Capitol.
In addition, she is a member of the Mahoning County Corrections Planning Board, the Youngstown-Warren Black Caucus, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and serves on the DEI Committee of the Ohio Access to Justice Foundation.
Judge Baldwin is also an adjunct instructor in the Criminal Justice Department at Eastern Gateway Community College, where she is currently teaching Victimology.
“Shirley Chisholm said it best,” said Judge Baldwin. “‘Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth.’ This committee will pay the rent as a continued expression of thanks and gratitude for the opportunity to serve the community beyond the courtroom.”