- 2014 - January - 6th -

Thank you Judge Johnson for carrying the pro bono flag

By Kathy Para, The JBA Pro Bono Committee Chair

On Friday, we honored, paid tribute to and celebrated the life of Circuit Judge Jean Johnson.

At her memorial service, we were reminded that hers was a life well lived. We were reminded that she was a person who didn't back down from a challenge.

She lived boldly and humbly. She loved her family deeply and was delighted and inspired by each person's accomplishments.

It was clear that she strived to serve friends and colleagues with compassion, wisdom and respect. These were the hallmarks of her 20 years as the chairwoman of the 4th Circuit Pro Bono Committee.

Today we say another word of thanks for her service and for her commitment to pro bono legal services.

Judge Johnson willingly accepted the appointment of Chief Judge Don Moran to serve as chairwoman of the Pro Bono Committee in 1993.

During her 20 years as its leader, she welcomed all to the pro bono table. To join the committee, one simply had to agree to work toward the goal of ensuring that all people be represented by counsel regardless of ability to pay.

The committee's quarterly luncheons in her chambers were guided, but open forums, at which all were encouraged to offer ideas and solicit feedback.

When The Florida Bar launched the One Campaign (One Client. One Attorney. One Promise), Judge Johnson fueled the movement. She carried the message in letters to editors, in articles and by promoting pro bono programs.

She thanked those involved in pro bono service in print, in person and in handwritten notes. She applauded when The Jacksonville Bar Association started the "Pro Bono Attorney" ribbons on name tags and when pro bono programs were highlighted during "Celebrate Pro Bono" week.

She attended pro bono open house events, pro bono recognition receptions and the 5K run promoting the One Campaign.

Judge Johnson valued the commitment and participation of the voluntary bar associations and law firms and ensured that their leaders were notified of committee meetings. Judge Johnson gave her best and expected the best of those around her.

So, today, we say "Thank you, Judge Johnson."

We thank you for your commitment to pro bono legal services and to equal justice for all.

We thank you for inspiring us with your commitment to pro bono, your professionalism and your encouragement.

We thank you for the strong foundation you laid for the 4th Circuit Pro Bono Committee.

We will build on your legacy.

Attorneys interested in pro bono opportunities throughout the 4th Circuit are encouraged to contact Kathy Para, chairwoman, The JBA Pro Bono Committee, kathy.para@jaxlegalaid.org.

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