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- 2012 - June - 18th -

Judicial appointment pro bono panels have strong start in spring 2012

by Kathy Para, The JBA Pro Bono Committee Chairwoman

The Fourth Circuit Judicial Civil Appointment and Attorney Ad Litem Dependency Court Appointment Pro Bono Panels are up and running and off to a strong start.

These newly formed panels provide a much needed resource for Fourth Circuit judges to help ensure that pro bono counsel is available for people in need.

When a circuit civil or dependency judge identifies an indigent, pro se litigant or child who needs representation in a matter filed in the Fourth Judicial Circuit Civil or Dependency Courts, the judge or the judge’s judicial assistant may call The Jacksonville Bar Association for the names of pro bono attorneys who have indicated they will assist a pro bono client referred by a judge.

The JBA Pro Bono Committee maintains two panels of attorneys available for judicial appointment.

There is a panel of pro bono attorneys who have indicated they will accept judicial appointment of indigent, pro se adult litigants involved in civil matters.

There also is a panel of pro bono attorneys who have indicated they will accept judicial appointment to serve as the attorney ad litem for a child in a dependency court action.

The Judicial Civil Appointment and Attorney Ad Litem-Dependency Court Appointment Pro Bono Panels are administered by The JBA staff and are a collaborative project of The JBA Board of Governors, The JBA Special Needs of Children Committee, The JBA Juvenile Section, The JBA Pro Bono Committee, Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and the Fourth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee.

As always, there are support resources available for the pro bono attorneys. For attorneys who would like to serve as an attorney ad litem, The JBA Special Needs of Children Committee and the Juvenile Section hosted a CLE training for attorneys ad litem for Children in Dependency Action and for Mentors in March at the offices of Holland & Knight.

These trainings soon will be available via web access.

For attorneys who have accepted a judicial appointment of an indigent, adult pro se litigant, Jacksonville Area Legal Aid can open a case for the indigent person so that the attorney is included in the professional liability insurance of JALA, if that’s helpful to the pro bono attorney.

JALA also has an inventory of free CLE webinar topics for pro bono attorneys and is able to pair pro bono attorneys with expert resource people for guidance during the case. Westlaw access may also be provided for pro bono attorneys serving a pro bono client.

There are many opportunities for area attorneys to assist a person in need. The Judicial Appointment Civil and Attorney Ad Litem Pro Bono panels provide an important avenue by which attorneys can help ensure access to justice.

To be added to a panel or to inquire about other pro bono opportunities throughout the Fourth Judicial Circuit, attorneys are encouraged to contact Kathy Para, chairwoman, The JBA Pro Bono Committee, kathy.para@jaxlegalaid.org.

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