The General Counsel Glee Club poses for a selfie after performing for the first and last time.

Augustine and Kimberly Ponce de Leon dance to the music of Faith & Whiskey

Brad Schlang, financial advisor, and Colleen Cotter, CEO, Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.

When attorneys, judges and law students ramp the amps and rock the roof beams in support of the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, there’s more musical energy than one venue or month can handle. So this year’s Jam for Justice benefit spanned the city, featuring August sessions on the east side and the west, leading to the main event –with a debut and final performance all in one– right downtown at the House of Blues in September.
The east side slate included Luke Lindbert & the Hung Jury along with Razing the Bar, headlined by Micheal Scharf, dean of the Case Western Reserve University School of Law,  at The Bottle House Brewery on Lee Road. The Brothers Lounge, on Detroit Avenue near W. 116th Street, was the setting for The No Name Band and Out of Order. Stephanie

Monica Cater, Charmaile Sims, Monique Johnson, and Wayne Cater

Haney, digital anchor and legal analyst at WKYC Studios, emceed both events.
The downtown legal crowd ditched the suits and ties for rock ’n roll casual as they entered the surround sounds of DJ Brad Wolfe piping through the House of Blues. The First Offenders lit the stage with “Heatwave,” “Ah Leah,”  and “My Sharona,” among their set list titles.  Ohio Supreme Court Justice Michael Donnelly left his robes in court to “Rock & Roll All Night” in his 16-title set with Faith & Whiskey.
Between the two bands came the highly anticipated General Counsel Glee Club, a chorus of in-house counsel singing to support Legal Aid, in

Ray Malone, Stephanie Wojtasik and Brandon Wojtasik

what was billed as their debut and farewell performance. Rousing renditions of such sing-along pleasers as “Lean on Me” and “Hey Jude” drew fireflies of light from the appreciative crowd’s outstretched cell phones. Was it possibly enough to bring the glee club out of retirement for next year’s jam?
One thing is known: The multi-stage format drew more funds and friends than ever before, according to Melanie Shakarian, Legal Aid attorney and director of development and communications. “Legal Aid is one of the largest law firms in Northeast Ohio,” said Shakarian. “We could not do our work without philanthropy from the community. And Jam for Justice is an important part of our outreach to supporters.”
In 2021, according to the organization, The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland handled more than 6,600 cases, impacting more than 17,300 people. The 2022 Jam for Justice drew 1,100 attendees and brought in at least $115,000 to continue Legal Aid’s assistance to ensure shelter, safety and economic security for low income people in Northeast Ohio. STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY PEGGY TURBETT