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Jax Daily Record Monday, Jun. 3, 201312:00 PM EST

Small claims, big impact, for low-income pro bono clients

by: Kathy Para

Too often, the loss of money resulting from a small claims issue can mean the difference between a family maintaining stability and becoming homeless.

However, a two-part training session offered by Jacksonville Area Legal Aid might help local residents with those issues.

The continuing legal education webinar series "Small Claims – Big Economic Impact" provides training for attorneys to help families or potential clients retain money that can keep food on the table and a roof over heads.  

The two-part series is available upon request and is in webinar format and can be viewed from a computer.

The first session, "Litigating Garnishment Exemption," is taught by attorney Laura Boeckman and provides the understanding and tools needed to successfully litigate garnishment exemption cases.

The webinar explains when income is exempt from garnishment, when an individual can qualify for head-of-household designation, the timelines and deadlines for filing, how income already garnished can be recovered, how to quash a writ of garnishment and how to prepare for a garnishment hearing.

The second session, "Successful Defense of Credit Card Collection Lawsuits," is taught by attorney James Kowalski Jr. and provides the understanding and tools needed to successfully defend a client in a credit card collection lawsuit. 

The webinar includes an overview of relevant law, motions, counterclaims, discovery and litigation techniques.

Participants receive governing statutes, document templates and other time-saving case management resources.

Both CLE training sessions are offered to pro bono attorneys free of charge and because of the webinar format, interested pro bono attorneys can view the session from their offices.

By requesting the webinar and materials, the attorney is making a commitment to serve at least one pro bono client in the specific substantive area.

Participating attorneys are asked to provide pro bono assistance within about a year of the webinar's completion.

Webinar presentations and materials are available upon request from Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and Kathy Para, [email protected].

There are many CLE topics available for support of pro bono attorneys including basic probate, guardianship, naturalization, wills and advance directives, temporary relative custody and many other topics.

The organization provides pro bono attorneys with a host of benefits including relevant reference information and document templates, professional liability insurance and expert attorneys who will serve as a resource for pro bono attorneys representing legal aid clients.

For information on pro bono opportunities and pro bono attorney training and support throughout the 4th Judicial Circuit, attorneys are encouraged to contact Kathy Para, Pro Bono Committee chairwoman of The Jacksonville Bar Association, at [email protected].

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