Blog Post

Nonprofit Spotlight: Lakeshore Legal Aid

Posted on March 5, 2024

Through the Nonprofit Spotlight series, Advancing Macomb highlights the work of a Macomb-County-based nonprofit. This month we feature Lakeshore Legal Aid.

“Sasha” was recently divorced and shared young children with her ex-husband. During her marriage of more than a decade, Sasha and her children were frequent victims of domestic violence. Eventually, Child Protective Services (CPS) became involved and told Sasha she must divorce her husband or CPS would petition to remove their children.

Sasha proceeded with the divorce, but the stalking and abuse only escalated. Sasha’s now ex-husband was eventually charged and found guilty of domestic violence in criminal court. Despite his conviction, he filed a request to lift a Personal Protection Order (PPO) that Sasha had against him in the civil court. Sasha was afraid of her ex-husband but didn’t know how to ensure the PPO stayed in place, bringing her to Lakeshore Legal Aid.

At the PPO hearing, Sasha courageously explained to the Judge, in front of her ex-husband, the abuse she had endured and her concerns about removing the protective order. Not only did the Judge uphold the PPO, but based on the testimony, they suggested that Sasha request an even more restrictive PPO in the future. With Lakeshore’s help, Sasha accessed the strength she needed to speak openly about her experience, protecting herself and her children.

Lakeshore Legal Aid is a not-for-profit law firm providing free legal services to individuals who have low-income, older adults aged 60 and above, and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Lakeshore assists with a wide variety of civil legal areas, like housing issues, family law, consumer law, protection from abuse, education advocacy, estate planning, public benefits law, and more. Lakeshore Legal Aid has 10 litigation offices across southeast Michigan, including two Macomb County locations in Mount Clemens and Warren.

Large group of people outdoors in a park like setting gathered together and smiling for the camera.

Lakeshore Legal Aid Staff

“We provide an income-based service, and it is always free,” said Ashley Lowe, CEO of Lakeshore Legal Aid. “Our funding is mostly through grants and foundations as well as private donations.”

Lowe notes that Lakeshore has benefitted from working with Macomb County’s robust community of social service and legal agencies helping under-served individuals. Lakeshore also actively participates in Advancing Macomb’s Nonprofit Roundtable sessions.

“Connecting with Advancing Macomb has allowed Lakeshore to learn more about our Macomb County community partners and to educate other nonprofit leaders about how we can assist their clients,” said Lowe. “When someone is facing multiple barriers to achieving safety and stability, it’s crucial for every service agency to know what’s out there and to offer those connections to our clients. Working with Advancing Macomb provides another avenue to learn, connect, and grow our network.”

Recently, Lakeshore Legal Aid made headlines when it received a $2.5 million donation from philanthropist Mackenzie Scott through her charitable organization, Yield Giving. Lowe called the grant “transformational.”

“We’re extremely grateful to receive this generous donation and turn it into something that will transform our organization,” said Lowe. “This gift gives us the freedom to do what we think is best to sustain our organization’s future.”

According to Lowe, initial priorities with the funding include:

  • Building up long-term financial stability for the organization.
  • Improving technology, including the current phone system, which is part of a hotline.
  • Using AI to serve clients better and improve business processes.
  • Improving the online application for services.

For those interested in getting involved, Lakeshore is always seeking lawyers to volunteer their time for a range of pro bono opportunities like criminal record expungement, estate planning and family law. In 2023, 177 attorneys and law students volunteered to provide pro bono work for Lakeshore Legal Aid. The market-rate value of these services was nearly $600,000.

Anyone interested in receiving legal services from Lakeshore Legal Aid should call 888-783-8190 to reach the Counsel & Advocacy Law Line, Lakeshore’s statewide free legal advice and referral hotline. Potential clients can also complete the online intake form at

“I wish more people knew to call us when they have a situation they can’t resolve on their own,” said Lowe. “People don’t reach out to Legal Aid early enough. The sooner they can get in touch with us, the sooner we can let them know their rights and, when appropriate, connect them with a lawyer.”

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