Meet the JBA board: Alan Pickert

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  • | 12:00 p.m. April 28, 2003
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by Monica Chamness

Staff Writer

Alan Pickert is one of the members of The Jacksonville Bar Association’s Board of Governors. He took a leadership position with the organization in 1993 when he joined the Young Lawyer’s Section.

“I became president and then went on to the big board,” said Pickert.

Three programs have garnered most of his attention since he was elected to the board. The residents at the I.M. Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless take up most his volunteer hours. Every month, Pickert visits the center with two other attorneys to assist the less fortunate with their legal troubles. He makes a point of bringing a lawyer who is skilled in family law, as many legal issues for the homeless concern custody or child support.

“A lot of Sulzbacher’s guests have legal problems and it’s difficult for them to go to an attorney,” explained Pickert. “Most of these individuals are just down on their luck. They are qualified or well-intentioned but they may have lost their job or had their spouse walk out. We listen to them to see if we can resolve the situation on the spot. If not, we’ll handle cases pro bono.”

Pickert estimates he handles two or three of these cases each month.

Through his involvement with YLS, Pickert began volunteering with the Special Olympics and often enlists the help of his two oldest children.

Each year he also participates in the Holiday in January project for children who enter the foster care system after December.

His latest project is Jax Reads! Having spearheaded the project last year, Pickert visits area high schools to discuss a particular book and its meaning. The reading initiative is not a part of the JBA’s regular community endeavors.

“We talked to the kids about stereotypes and its consequences in ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’,” he said. “Each year we’ll pick a different book.”

Pickert was inspired by the main character of the book, attorney Atticus Finch, to fight justice in the legal arena. A Navy brat, Pickert was born in Rhode Island but made Jacksonville his home. He has been practicing law for 12 years, the last nine at Brown, Terrell & Hogan. His first position was with Mahoney, Adams & Criser (now McGuire Woods) fresh out of law school at the University of Florida.

“Many of the cases I take are ones other attorneys are not taking,” he said. “I feel like standing up for those with no voice and who have nowhere else to turn.”

Pickert concentrates his practice on product liability and personal injury, primarily asbestos and thimerosal litigation. Thimerosal is a mercury-based preservative that used to be added to some vaccinations to prolong the life of the shot. Clinics in Washington, D.C. gave these types of shots to normal children who developed autism. Sympathetic to the flight of these youngsters, he volunteers at the Jericho House, a school for autistic children.

In his spare time, he bonds with his own four children over cookouts, ball games, cards or swimming at his St. Nicholas home.



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