The pro bono case success of Christopher and Bruce Page
Admitted to practice in Florida in 2013, Christopher Page is not ready to retire.
By contrast, his father, Bruce, was admitted to practice in 1987 and already transitioned into retirement.
Both were interested in assisting a pro bono client and they joined forces on a landlord/tenant matter to achieve a wonderful outcome.
What were the basic facts of your case?
Our client was a tenant who had his electricity shut off due to a clerical error in the landlord’s management office.
After several attempts by the tenant, the management office would not re-establish electricity without a deposit. The tenant was on a tight budget and unable to pay the deposit per the management’s demands.
The tenant made due the best he could while the electricity was shut off but ultimately he decided to leave the apartment and terminate his lease.
What were you able to accomplish for your client?
After a few phone calls with the apartment management it became clear the electricity was turned off due to a management error.
While the company initially was unable to assist us in our attempts to recover a reasonable settlement for the tenant, a short conversation with the apartment owner’s attorney led us to believe a settlement might be reached.
Within 48 hours, the apartment’s attorney informed us the tenant’s demands would be met, which were:
• $1,600 for two month’s rent while the electricity was shut off
• $300 for the food in the tenant’s refrigerator that spoiled because of no electricity
• A guarantee there would be no negative credit reports against the tenant for his early termination of his lease
• A guarantee there will be no negative references given when the tenant tries to secure a new apartment lease
Why was the outcome important to your client?
Our client seemed interested in making sure he did not receive negative credit reports or references because of his early lease termination.
The monetary settlement was something he seemed to think was fair, but this was not his main concern. We were able to secure all of our client’s demands relatively simply after it was determined the apartment management was at fault for the initial termination of electricity.
Why was the experience important to you? That is, what did you gain from the experience?
Christopher: “I gained some basic negotiation experience as well as some experience dealing with large, corporate law firms. I was amazed at how simple the whole process was once it was determined that the law was on my client’s side.”
Bruce: “After practicing law on behalf of government agencies and large entities, it was gratifying to see such a positive result for person of little means.”
What advice do you have for other attorneys considering pro bono involvement?
Christopher: “Volunteering for Jacksonville Area Legal Aid was a great way to gain experience in an area of law in which I was not already familiar. Also, it was a great feeling knowing that I had helped someone who was faced with a problem that was too big for him to handle on his own.”
Bruce: “As attorneys, we have unique skills. We’re equipped to help others gain access to fairness. It really is important that we find ways to share those skills.”
Sincere congratulations and appreciation are extended to Bruce and Christopher Page for their efforts on behalf of this low-income people.
Attorneys interested in pro bono opportunities throughout the 4th Judicial Circuit are encouraged to contact Kathy Para, The JBA Pro Bono Committee chairwoman, at email@example.com