OPLC Attorneys

Eugene R. King, Director

Gene King focuses his substantive work on access to health care.  He has worked on Medicaid, access for the uninsured, and other low-income health law issues in Ohio for more than 25 years and is an experienced manager and trainer.  Prior to law school, Gene taught in the Cleveland and Cleveland Heights public schools.  Gene received his JD from the Ohio State University College of Law in 1983 and his bachelors from Ohio University in 1974. Immediately after law school, Gene joined the OSLSA State Support Center and became its managing attorney in 1986, a position he held until July 2009, when he became the Director of the Ohio Poverty Law Center. Gene manages OPLC’s work in policy advocacy, litigation support, training, task forces, publications, and specialty assistance and consulting.  Gene chairs several statewide legal aid task forces as well as the Committee On Regional Training, a three state legal aid training consortium.  Gene has served on numerous legislative, administrative agency, and Ohio bar committees and has written articles and developed trainings on health law, advocacy skills, and legal services management issues.

Michael R. Smalz, Senior Attorney

Mike Smalz has been working at OSLSA/OPLC on statewide family law, domestic violence, and other poverty law issues in Ohio since 1988 and has been practicing law for over 30 years.  Mike received his JD from the University of Minnesota College of Law in 1976. Prior to joining OSLSA/OPLC, Mike practiced in legal services in Michigan, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. He is a member of the Ohio Supreme Court’s Advisory Committees on Domestic Violence and Children, Families, and the Courts. He has also served on many Supreme Court, Bar, and administrative agency committees and task forces, and the Ohio Child Support Guidelines Council. Mike has argued, served as counsel, or filed amicus briefs in nearly a dozen major Ohio Supreme Court cases and has given trainings and presentations for attorneys and non-attorneys on domestic violence, child support, fair housing law, public utility law, appellate practice, and other topics.  He has published articles on federal civil rights laws, the primary caretaker custody doctrine, and domestic violence and is the author of two major guidebooks on fair housing law.

Linda Cook, Senior Attorney

Linda Cook is a Senior Attorney at the Ohio Poverty Law Center focusing on statewide consumer law issues.  She engages in legislative advocacy on issues that affect low income consumer rights and fights to preserve consumer protections, working to make the marketplace safer and more transparent. Linda has worked with a broad coalition of consumer advocates to pass legislation reforming the payday lending industry in Ohio; she also helped to draft and worked to pass bi-partisan legislation updating Ohio’s exemption statute.  Linda currently serves as one of the consumer advocates on the Ohio Attorney General’s Consumer Sales Practices Act Advisory Group.  Linda has helped to build partnerships between the Federal Trade Commission and the legal aid community to address widespread problems such as debt collection harassment, identity theft, and a variety of consumer scams.  Linda also manages two statewide collaborative legal aid foreclosure intervention projects. Linda practiced law for over 18 years in a legal aid direct service office as a staff attorney and managing attorney prior to joining the staff of the Ohio Poverty Law Center in August 2006.  In addition to policy advocacy, she provides litigation support, coordinates trainings, and develops materials and publications to address a broad range of consumer issues at the local and state levels.  Linda also chairs and coordinates the statewide consumer law task force for the legal aid community.  Linda is a 1987 graduate of the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

Joseph V. Maskovyak, Staff Attorney

Joe Maskovyak has been practicing law for over 25 years, litigating and solving housing problems for indigent people in Franklin County and, for the past several years, addressing low-income Ohioans’ housing problems on a statewide basis at OPLC.  He received his JD from the Ohio State University College of Law in 1985 and began his career at the Legal Aid Society of Columbus (LASC) in 1985 as a Reginald Heber Smith Fellow. Joe was the managing attorney of the housing unit at LASC for 12 years before joining OPLC in 2007.  Joe has given presentations and trainings on Ohio landlord tenant law, federal subsidized housing law, and fair housing law topics.  Joe has also worked on litigation to keep residential utility rates from rising and to bolster low income assistance & weatherization programs in Ohio.

Sarah Biehl, Staff Attorney

An Ohio native, Sarah Biehl received both her undergraduate and law degrees from Ohio State University and clerked for the Honorable James G. Carr of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio before being awarded a Skadden Fellowship with the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago. While in Chicago, Sarah designed and operated a legal clinic inside a public charter high school on the west side of the city and developed a strong commitment to community-based lawyering as a means of working for systems change.  Sarah moved back to Ohio in early 2008 to focus on systemic advocacy on education law issues as a staff attorney at the Ohio Poverty Law Center. Sarah is deeply committed to empowering low-income children and their families and has represented children and their parents in a variety of areas. Sarah has done presentations on special education law and students’ rights, published articles on school discipline and safe haven laws, and chairs the statewide task force in Ohio on education law issues. Sarah is also a founding member of the Dignity in Schools Campaign, a national coalition of parents, youth, organizers, and advocates who aim to challenge the systemic problem of pushout in the nation’s schools.

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