Accomplishing a goal for a client can be the most rewarding part of legal representation.
Pro bono attorney Tim Pribisco enjoyed that reward when he had his pro bono client's consumer and medicals bills dismissed in her bankruptcy proceedings in late February.
The debtor in Pribisco's case had more than $25,000 in consumer debt and medical bills and was overwhelmed with how to deal with the debt.
By obtaining an Order of Discharge that eliminated the client's obligations, Pribisco was able to give her a great deal of emotional relief, allowing her to move on with a fresh start. The outcome provided the client reassurance that people cared about her financial well-being.
This is why Pribisco advises attorneys to take pro bono cases, especially young attorneys.
"(Young attorneys) get the experience and satisfaction of knowing they are using their skills to help people who really need it," said Pribisco.
As for seasoned attorneys, Pribisco said it is never too late to start pro bono work. He is convinced it would change all attorneys' outlook on how their legal experience can really change people's lives for the better.
"I believe that we have the privilege to practice law in Florida and with that privilege comes the responsibility to use our position to have a positive impact in the community," said Pribisco.
The client and Jacksonville Area Legal Aid are deeply appreciative of Pribisco's efforts. The reality is that hundreds of low-income and vulnerable clients are helped every day here in the 4th Circuit by pro bono attorneys.
These attorneys are stabilizing families and households and giving people encouragement and the assistance they need to be productive, contributing members of our community.
Bankruptcy assistance is an area of great need and for attorneys who would like to learn bankruptcy law, Pro Bono Bankruptcy Practice Groups are now forming.
Fifteen newly licensed attorneys or attorneys who would like to add bankruptcy to their practice areas may be part of the new groups.
The groups will offer the attorneys the chance to learn about bankruptcy law as he or she works through two pro bono cases. Attorneys will have access to a bankruptcy software product and educational resources. They also will have the benefit of a "coach" or mentor.
Attorneys interested in being part of the new Pro Bono Bankruptcy Practice Groups should send an email to Kathy Para, at [email protected], chairwoman of The JBA Pro Bono Committee.