jam for justice fundraising event ready to rock for a good cause

This summer, justice carries an axe.

This is not the tagline for a blockbuster film (although it should be), but the idea behind "Jam for Justice," a fundraising event in support of The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.

Four rock bands, all fronted by area attorneys and judges, will pound guitars instead of gavels July 11 at House of Blues. Among the acts are Rule 11 and the Sanctions, helmed by incoming Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association president Jonathan Leiken, and Judge Michael Donnelly's classic rock combo Faith & Whiskey.

"All the bands are great," says Melanie Shakarian, Legal Aid's director of development and communications.

Each act is rocking out to support Legal Aid's work in the community. The nonprofit organization assists low-income Northeast Ohioans in need of counsel. It has 45 lawyers on hand to give free help to the poor in cases involving evictions, divorce, loss of benefits and other civil issues. Legal Aid aims to counsel 26,000 clients in 2013.

Jam for Justice, now in its fifth year, moved to House of Blues this summer after outgrowing its previous space. Shakarian expects 500 philanthropic music fans to attend the concert. The group has a fundraising goal for the event of just under $20,000.

A concert is not the typical venue to find a congregation of lawyers and judges -- and that's what makes the event fun while also supporting an important cause, says Shakarian.

"The show appeals to more than just the legal community," she says. "We always get a diverse cross-section of folks from across the region."

SOURCE: Melanie Shakarian
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth
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