Fall is a season packed with cool weather, pumpkin spice lattes, tailgate parties and many reasons to celebrate. The legal community asks you to mark your calendars with another reason to celebrate this season: National Celebrate Pro Bono week.
Created by the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service, national “Celebrate Pro Bono” week was created because of the increased need for pro bono services in these harsh economic and social times. The events act as a strategic tool to further the interests of local pro bono efforts and help reward and bring attention to its champions and active participants.
Although the Celebration is national in its breadth, the real focus of this event is the local pro bono communities. The Northeast Florida Celebration events are planned to: recognize the service of pro bono attorneys providing assistance to low-income persons; to recruit more pro bono attorneys to provide legal services to low-income persons; and to build awareness of pro bono legal services in the broader community — not just the legal community.
The Pro Bono Committee of The Jacksonville Bar Association will serve as the coordinating and facilitating group for local efforts. Agencies and organizations that serve low-income clients with legal services are invited to help plan and participate. Some of the scheduled national Celebrate Pro Bono events are listed below. Those interested and/or involved in pro bono activities are invited and encouraged to attend and to spread the word.
• Sept. 15, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.: Florida Coastal School of Law, Giving Back Day. Law students will volunteer in service to Northeast Florida with community cleanup efforts. Students should contact Karen Millard, director, Pro Bono Programs, Florida Coastal School of Law, [email protected].
• Sept. 24, noon-1 p.m.: The JBA Luncheon, Hyatt Regency Riverfront, Presentation of mayoral proclamation of Celebrate Pro Bono observances and week in Jacksonville.
• Oct. 12, Launch of the Fourth Circuit Bankruptcy Pro Bono Project. A collaborative effort of The Jacksonville Bankruptcy Bar Association, Three Rivers Legal Services and Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, to support and guide pro se bankruptcy filers and applicants for pro bono attorney assistance.
• Oct. 12, 6 p.m.-10 p.m.: Clay County Bar Association, Bar-b-que and Round Up, Location to be confirmed: Tickets are $25 and proceeds will benefit the Clay County Office of Jacksonville Area Legal Aid. Call Alison Hickman, 269-6699, to purchase tickets.
• Oct. 1–31, Take one case! The One Campaign – One Client. One Attorney. One Promise. If you haven’t already, take one case. Attorneys who don’t have at least one pro bono case are encouraged to visit the online pro bono case resource at www.jaxlegalaid.org, click on “Cases Awaiting Placement with Pro Bono Attorneys” and request more information on the case of a low-income client. Watch for a pro bono reminder in your email inbox or contact Kathy Para, The JBA Pro Bono Committee, chair, [email protected], 356-8371, ext. 363.
• Oct. 20, 9 a.m.-Noon: Senior Citizens Wills and Advance Directives Pro Bono Project, Pablo Towers Residential Center, Pro Bono attorneys, Northeast Florida Paralegal Association members, and Florida Coastal law students team up to create advance planning documents for senior citizens residing in HUD-subsidized residential facilities. Attorneys interested in serving should contact Kathy Para, The JBA Pro Bono Committee, chair, [email protected], (904) 356-8371, ext. 363.
• Oct. 23, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.: Florida Coastal School of Law, Fall Forum of Pro Bono and Volunteer Opportunities. The purpose is to encourage and educate students who will soon be practicing attorneys to get involved with pro bono representation of low income clients. Legal Services organizations and other community resource providers are invited to set up displays and distribute information on volunteer and pro bono opportunities for students and attorneys. Lunch will be provided. Karen Millard, director, Pro Bono Programs, Florida Coastal School of Law, [email protected].
• Oct. 23, 5:30-7:30 p.m.: JALAween and Haunted Happy Hour – The Annual JALA Open House and Reception. Jacksonville Area Legal Aid (JALA), 126 West Adams St., will host an Open House and reception as a “thank you” to pro bono attorneys, supporters, and interested persons and to provide information on the depth and scope of civil legal services provided to low-income persons. Guests may take a 15-minute, self-guided tour of the JALA offices, trick-or-treating along the way. Children and grandchildren are welcome. After their tour, guests are invited to a reception and haunted happy hour at the Zodiac restaurant next door to the JALA Adams Street office. The reception will be an opportunity to meet and greet some of our judges. Attorney response is appreciated, but not required: Kathy Para, Pro Bono JALA, director, [email protected]
• Oct. 24, 5:30-8:30 p.m.: Florida Bar Business Law Section, Nonprofit Organizations Legal Services Forum, Florida Coastal School of Law. Transactional attorneys will consult with local nonprofit organizations regarding legal matters in the areas of contracts, employment, incorporation and real estate. Attorneys interested in providing counsel and advice to staff members of local nonprofit organizations should contact John MacDonald at [email protected]. Nonprofit agencies interested in participating should contact Kathy Para at [email protected].
• Oct. 25, 5 p.m.: Intuition Ale Works, 720 King St., Jacksonville, 32204, invites you to raise your glass to Jacksonville Area Legal Aid (JALA). One dollar from every pint sold will be donated to JALA. Come out for a night of games, food and fun.
• Oct. 26, Noon-1 p.m.: The Jacksonville Bar Association Luncheon; Hyatt Regency Downtown Riverfront. Fourth Circuit Pro Bono Committee will have information on pro bono opportunities and support including the “Accept One Case” board.
• Nov. 3, 9 a.m.-Noon: JBA Ask-A-Lawyer Forum and Florida One-on-One Event, Johnson Family YMCA, 5900 Cleveland Road. Sponsored by The Jacksonville Bar Association Pro Bono Committee, Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, and Florida Coastal School of Law and staffed by pro bono attorneys, Ask-A-Lawyer forums are held in collaboration with members of the Jacksonville City Council. Attorneys with questions and volunteer interest should contact Kathy Para, The JBA Pro Bono Committee, chair, [email protected] for more information.
• Date to Be Determined: The Law Offices of Public Defender Matt Shirk, Pro Bono Opportunities Criminal Law Training, first floor conference room of the Public Defenders’ Office. This training will feature five separate, CLE courses touching on different aspects of criminal law. Upon completion of the training session, participants will be appointed as Special Assistant Public Defenders (SAPDs) and become eligible for a later assignment to one misdemeanor case. Contact Cynthia Hunold at 630-1578 or [email protected] for more information.
For more information and to share ideas, contact Kathy Para, chair, The JBA Pro Bono Committee, [email protected].