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This lawyer is offering free name change services to transgender people

This lawyer is offering free name change services to transgender people

Cuyahoga County Courthouse in Ohio, where lawyer Andrew Schriver is offering free name change services to trans people

An attorney in Ohio is offering free name change services to transgender people.

Meet Andrew Schriver

Attorney Andrew Schriver was considering doing this good deed for a while. But he finally bit the bullet when a friend of his needed one.

‘Having done my friend’s name change, I realized that it was a very straightforward process in most cases — I wish all of my court appearances were as easy as that one was,’ Schriver told ABC News 5 Cleveland.

Apparently, according to Schriver, it is possible to do a name change yourself as well. Still, having an attorney present is preferable for many people.

‘However, the nature of the legal system is that any court proceeding is an intimidating process. Especially for marginalized communities who tend not to be treated well or fairly by the system,’ he said.

‘Just having someone present who is comfortable in that environment and knows the law has really seemed to encourage people to take this step who otherwise would have put it off or never done it.’

Remembering the ‘T’ in LGBT

Though a cisgender man, Schriver understands how important it is for trans people to be granted a legal name change.

‘Transgender people face a frankly devastating amount of discrimination in nearly every area of life. And being able to present as [your] true self and your correct gender in the courts, applying for jobs, interacting with police, applying for housing, etc. can help prevent or at least mitigate a lot of that,’ Schriver said.

Schriver is a relatively new attorney, according to Cleveland Scene. Because his ‘newness’ makes it hard to do pro-bono work, Schriver thought this is an easy way to give back.

‘I really want to impress on anyone who is interested in getting a name change that, in Cuyahoga County at least, it’s about the easiest legal procedure you could ever do,’ he told Cleveland Scene. ‘Any legal process is intimidating to people, often by design, so even though it’s fairly straightforward, I figured that having an attorney would make it more likely for people to follow through and complete the process and get the services that they need.’

Schriver identifies as bisexual, and wants people to know that he stands in solidarity with the entire LGBTI community.

‘I think that when people talk about LGBT+ issues we too often forget the “T,” and that’s a disservice to the entire community,’ he said.

Getting Schriver’s help

There are two parts to the legal name change process. First, filling out the proper paperwork. Then, representation at a short court hearing.

Schriver is available for help with either part, for free, to trans people living in Ohio’s Cuyahoga County and surrounding areas.

The filing fee to change your name in Cuyahoga County is $137 [£104.80; €118.82]. According to Shriver, there is a big need to help trans people with that fee as well.

Schriver Law, Ltd. can be reached by calling +1 330-242-0460 or by email at [email protected]

Other local organizations working to assist trans people with legal name changes are TransOhio and Equality Ohio.

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