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The Bar Bulletin
Jax Daily Record Monday, Jan. 8, 201811:10 AM EST

Make 2018 your year for pro bono service

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Offer your legal expertise by contacting one of these legal services organizations:

By Kathy Para

The JBA Pro Bono Committee chair

I magine the impact we could make if every attorney took just one pro bono case a year and volunteered for one clinic. That simple contribution could significantly improve access to justice for a Florida resident. Offer your legal expertise by contacting one of these legal services organizations:

Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and Three Rivers Legal Services 

Jacksonville Area Legal Aid is a law firm established in 1935 by The Jacksonville Bar Association which specializes in providing civil legal assistance to low-income people. Three Rivers Legal Services has its headquarters in Gainesville and also provides civil legal assistance to low-income people in the Jacksonville area through its Jacksonville office.

Requests for services are at critical levels. Pro bono attorneys are needed to represent clients in a single legal matter and also to assist with group information clinics and one-day events.

Attorneys can specify the practice areas in which they will assist and review cases prior to acceptance. Professional Liability Insurance and CLE webinar support are provided.

Review cases online at floridaprobonomatters.org. Type your county in the general search line. Read through the summaries, find a case you’d like to consider and click “Interested?” You’ll be sending an email to a case placement manager who will send additional information. Then, you’ll indicate whether you’d like to proceed with the case.

Cases posted on the website are from JALA, Three Rivers, the Northeast Florida Medical Legal Partnership and the Veterans Legal Collaborative. Clinics and outreach opportunities are organized and implemented through the collaboration of JALA, Three Rivers, The JBA, Florida Coastal School of Law and other voluntary bar associations and community agencies.

Opportunities include events such as Advance Directives for Seniors, Citizenship Day, Lawyers in Libraries, Ask-A-Lawyer, brief counsel and advice at the VA Clinic and family law group information clinics in Clay, Duval and Nassau counties.

Contact [email protected], for information about training available and all civil pro bono opportunities. 

Judicial appointment panels for Dependency Court and Civil Circuit Court appointments

The JBA is serving as the point of contact for dependency court and civil circuit court appointments of volunteer attorneys. Lawyers interested in assisting a child in a dependency matter or receiving pro bono appointments from the dependency bench are encouraged to contact Nikki Hawkins at [email protected].

Attorneys interested in assisting an indigent client in a civil matter or receiving pro bono appointments from the civil bench are encouraged to contact [email protected].

Missing Link Inc.

Family law attorneys and paralegals are needed to assist victims of domestic violence with preparing pro se divorce documents.

Missing Link meets once a month in the evening. For more information, contact Cindy Houston for schedule and location details at [email protected]

Northeast Florida Medical Legal Partnership

When a doctor, nurse, social worker or another member of a medical team suspects that an environmental, economic, social or educational legal issue may exist, they make a referral to Northeast Florida Medical Legal Partnership for a legal diagnosis.

An attorney interviews the referred patient and evaluates whether he or she could benefit from legal assistance or another community service. If legal assistance is recommended, the case is placed for pro bono.

Attorneys receive case summaries and full case information prior to acceptance of the case. Support includes training and professional liability insurance.

For more information, contact [email protected].

Guardian ad Litem 

When you volunteer with the Guardian ad Litem program for the 4th Judicial Circuit, you become a voice for a child in dependency court.

Other pro bono opportunities with the program include assistance using your area of expertise, such as special education, probate, guardianship, appeals or immigration. Training is available.

Contact Christine Meyer, supervising program attorney, at [email protected] for more information. 

Office of Public Defender

Attorneys are needed to serve as Special Assistant Public Defenders representing clients in misdemeanor cases in criminal court.

They help a low-income client seek justice, allowing staff attorneys more time to focus on the cases they already handle. For more information, contact Gary Beard at [email protected].

For more information on opportunities in the 4th Judicial Circuit, attorneys are encouraged to email [email protected], or call (904) 356-8371, ext. 363.

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