When Jill Nylander was named executive director of Legal Services of Eastern Michigan (LSEM), she was no stranger to the legal services community. In fact, she has dedicated more than 20 years to helping eliminate the causes and effects of poverty and promoting access to justice for all. Nylander prides herself on being a passionate advocate and empathetic educator who serves low-income individuals with patience and respect. Using her vast connections and resources to bring pro bono efforts to the Flint community, she has spearheaded numerous successful pro bono projects throughout the years.
Nylander has been a leading member and board chair of the Community Dispute Resolution Center (CDRC), which provides mediation and facilitation services to 14 counties in Eastern Michigan. The CDRC pairs mediators with low-income clients in an attempt to amicably resolve legal issues. Nylander also spends countless hours coordinating pro bono projects with the Genesee County Bar Association (GCBA), serving as the chair of the GCBA’s Pro Bono Committee for many years. Due to her professional positions, LSEM and GCBA have collaborated on several pro bono projects, including the “Ask the Lawyer” forums, clinics, and other activities.
Nylander and LSEM staff were also important partners with the State Bar of Michigan and GCBA in the development, planning, and roll-out of the “Michigan Free Legal Answers” pilot project that is currently serving low-income clients in Genesee County. And she has been a strong advocate for Flint residents throughout the ongoing Flint water crisis, rallying attorneys and providing assistance to low-income residents as a member of the Flint Water Advisory Coalition.
As a tireless advocate for LSEM’s low-income and senior clients, Nylander goes above and beyond to ensure that clients receive a holistic approach to their problems. Knowing the importance of dedicated pro bono attorneys in serving as many low-income clients as her program’s resources allow, she routinely partners with pro bono attorneys to assist LSEM clients with legal issues ranging from bankruptcy, elder law, employment law, and education.