On Wednesday, Jacksonville Area Legal Aid held its annual Robert J. Beckham Equal Justice Award event at the Hyatt Downtown.
More than 350 people gathered to support our circuit’s commitment to civil legal services for the poor, hear the speeches of Judge William Van Nortwick and Morris Dees, and to applaud the financial and pro bono contributions of so many.
Five attorneys were selected to receive the Outstanding Pro Bono Service award in appreciation of the hundreds of hours of pro bono services they provided in 2013.
Joseph Meux serves senior citizens at the Mary Singleton community center on a weekly basis. He is an attorney “on call” maintaining a regular schedule and being available to seniors who have legal questions or need assistance regarding a specific issue. Meux represents his clients in matters from will creation and advance directives to contracts and consumer matters. He hears their stories, defines their legal issues and goes to bat for them, case after case.
Similarly, Patricia Vail regularly visits area HUD residential facilities. She gets to know the staff and the residents and helps identify and resolve legal matters. Vail’s longtime commitment provided the foundation for the quarterly Advance Directives for Seniors events – a project now in its third year. She is the liaison with the service coordinators at the locations and responds to legal needs of the residents. She serves as the attorney for these seniors who are vulnerable and many times need the voice of a strong advocate.
William Gallogly was recognized for his client representation, his case review and analysis, his mentorship of new pro bono attorneys, and for his assistance to the new Jacksonville-based 501(c)3 — All Things New, which was formed to support children in Haiti orphaned by the earthquake. Gallogly’s pro bono spirit and commitment knows no geographic boundaries. Two days later, he received The Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Award in Tallahassee.
Joseph Pickles is part of the litigation group at Purcell Flanagan Hay and Greene. The entire group has supported pro bono efforts and Pickles has coordinated much of the involvement. He has logged hundreds of case hours. He’s represented clients in consumer and contract matters and sees each case through to completion even to the point of collection on the judgment. Pickles does not back down and is undaunted by an unfavorable ruling — it only encourages him to regroup and take another approach. We’ve seen it happen and we’ve seen him prevail in the end on behalf of the underserved.
Elizabeth Jamison is an attorney licensed in Washington state and California who assists with pro bono case placement. Jamison communicates with clients, staff and pro bono attorneys to define issues and assemble documents for consideration. She assists the pro bono attorneys in getting the support resources they need and facilitates the initial communication between client and attorney. Jamison has placed dozens of cases with 4th Circuit volunteers and has given hundreds of hours of pro bono service.
Cases are identified by Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, the Northeast Florida Medical Legal Partnership and Three Rivers Legal Services. Jamison helps ensure cases are circulated for consideration among willing attorneys and, as a result, more clients get the services they need.
Pro bono involvement significantly increases the ability of legal services agencies to serve the low-income community. With passion and commitment, these attorneys and many others understand the critical importance of helping another, even just one other. One client. One attorney. One promise.
Attorneys interested in pro bono opportunities throughout the 4th Judicial Circuit are encouraged to contact Kathy Para, chairwoman, The JBA Pro Bono Committee, at [email protected].