During the past six months, pro bono attorneys representing low-income clients across the state have received letters of appreciation from the Florida Supreme Court.
Along with the letter, each pro bono attorney who reported at least 20 hours of service received a lapel pin with the “One” campaign logo and slogan: “One Client. One Attorney. One Promise.”
This effort is sponsored by the Young Lawyers Division of The Florida Bar and is implemented in collaboration with the Florida Pro Bono Coordinators Association and the legal aid organizations in each circuit.
In the letter of thanks, Chief Justice Ricky Polston said, “The practice of law is a privilege that carries with it certain responsibilities and obligations to our society and to our democracy. We thank you for giving freely and unselfishly of your time and legal talent to represent the poor, the powerless, the defenseless and the oppressed among us. Your work helps to fulfill the promise of equal justice for all.”
The chief justice also encouraged pro bono attorneys to invite colleagues and associates to become involved in helping those less fortunate.
This year’s YLD President Michael Orr and immediate past president Melanie Griffin have expressed deep appreciation for the participation of thousands of pro bono attorneys statewide. The sponsorship by the YLD of the pro bono recognition project is entering its fifth year.
Pro bono representation is a critical factor in maintaining the integrity of our system of justice. Fairness and zealous representation must be available to all, not just those who can pay.
Every day pro bono attorneys are accepting the cases of individuals in a broad range of practice areas including: guardianship, probate, wills and advance directives, predatory lending, contracts, immigration, foreclosure defense, bankruptcy, social security, family law, seal/expunge, criminal law and dependency.
They also are assisting local nonprofits in their work with low-income families and in blighted neighborhoods. These cases may include incorporation, copyright issues and contracts. Support is available for pro bono attorneys in the form of training, expert resources and professional liability insurance.
All of us in the legal community extend our thanks and sincere appreciation to our colleagues who are stepping up on behalf of the poor every day and we hope you will wear your lapel pin with pride.
For more information on pro bono opportunities in the 4th Judicial Circuit, attorneys should contact Kathy Para at [email protected].