By Kathy Para, The JBA Pro Bono Committee chair
Joe Meux has been a volunteer attorney with Jacksonville Area Legal Aid since 1994 and has since served more than 300 low-income clients.
He has worked with Elder Source and SHINE and also has served as a volunteer mediator.
For the past 10-plus years, nearly weekly, he has been the attorney on-site at the Mary Singleton Senior Center.
On Jan. 24, Joe shared with us that he is retiring from pro bono work to concentrate his time on his family and his church. We knew this day would come, but we really didn’t want to think about it.
At age 88, Joe has decided to kick back and simplify his life a little. (OK, Joe. No one will ever call you a slouch.)
Here are a few highlights from Joe’s remarkable life and career:
• Served in the Army during the Korean War and continued in the Reserves and retired as a colonel and chaplain in 1984.
• Graduated from Vanderbilt University Law School in 1956 and then was licensed in Tennessee and Florida.
• Worked in private practice for five years.
• Called to the ministry and studied at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Vanderbilt Divinity School and Union Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He was ordained in 1963.
• Served as a Presbyterian minister for 31 years.
• Retired from the ministry in 1994 and became a legal aid attorney, his second career.
When Joe started his work at JALA, he took over for an attorney who was 91 and left practice because he was getting remarried.
At some point, because Joe was spending so much time at JALA, he was given his own office with his name on the door and a staff mailbox and email address.
He has been recognized for his pro bono work over the years including The Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Award for the 4th Judicial Circuit, the Equal Justice Pro Bono Award and numerous outstanding service awards.
The positive impact and far-reaching effects of his commitment are almost impossible to quantify.
Our best measure may be to try to imagine the seniors whose contract terms were enforced, whose leases were upheld, whose property was probated and who are free from illegal collection practices because of Joe’s work.
Deborah Bell, the site coordinator at Mary Singleton Senior Center, said it well: “Mr. Meux will be missed at Mary Singleton. He has become part of the family. We are deeply grateful for his time and commitment all these years!”
Recently, Joe has been joined at Mary Singleton by retired attorney John Humes, who has agreed to continue assisting the seniors and to carry on what Joe has established.
Bravo, Joe Meux, and thank you. We all applaud your commitment, your service, and your example.
Attorneys interested in pro bono opportunities are encouraged to contact [email protected].