Learn more about how Ohio Lawyers Give Back and its mission to distribute cy pres proceeds to those in need.
As the largest law firm in Lake, Geauga and Ashtabula Counties, this law firm is about more than just practicing law.
Millions of dollars are donated to charities under this little understood legal doctrine.
Helping Charities in Our Community Help Those They Serve
$32,060,412.82 distributed to charities using cy pres.
Ohio Lawyers Give Back was founded by Dworken & Bernstein Co., L.P.A. to promote the use of cy pres in class action settlements. When a class action is settled, plaintiff and defendant agree to a fund amount to pay all class members. Since many class members have moved, passed-away, or can’t be found, millions of settlement dollars go unclaimed. That settlement money is intended to benefit the class—rather than revert to the wrongdoing defendant—so the ancient doctrine is now being used to distribute the unclaimed money to charities and non profits.
Cy pres has been around for centuries, but its use in class actions has not been widespread. That may be because it does not increase the attorney fees which the class counsel receives if they use it and instead requires much more time to resolve the case. It may also be because judges or parties are not familiar with it. Regardless, even limited use of the doctrine has recently provided millions of dollars to charities. This money has saved key charities or their main programs from closing in many cities.
Over $32 million dollars has already been distributed, just by the sponsors, a single law firm. If cy pres were used more broadly, hundreds of millions of dollars each year would be available to help charities, non-profits, and the communities where we live. This website is dedicated to advancing the use of cy pres in all class action settlements where a large pool of unclaimed settlement funds is expected.