Alan Pickert receives pro bono award

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  • | 12:00 p.m. December 17, 2003
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by Richard Prior

Staff Writer

Alan Pickert practices the best sort of selfishness.

“I would like to tell you that I do it for altruistic purposes,” said Pickert. “But the reality is I go to the homeless shelter, the Special Olympics or whatever for my own personal benefit. Because I walk out of there with the best perspective on how fortunate I am and how fortunate my family is.

“So anything I can do to help, I’m going to do it.”

Pickert’s efforts obviously have been recognized. The Jacksonville attorney is one of a select group chosen to receive The Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award. The presentation ceremony will be held next month.

Pickert’s practice focuses on personal injury, toxic torts, products liability and medical malpractice. A partner in the firm of Brown Terrell Hogan Ellis McClamma and Yegelwel, he has contributed hundreds of hours over the past decade to those in need.

“There is a variety of projects, whether they be sponsored by The Jacksonville Bar Association or any other entity that would benefit greatly from the participation of lawyers here in Jacksonville,” said Pickert. “You can look at the many programs that have been created over the past several years that have benefited dramatically by the input of attorneys and the expertise and special skills that they bring to the table.”

There is a wide variety of programs in Jacksonville that desperately need those skills and expertise, he said. They would also welcome a helping hand from attorneys’ families — or anyone else who has time and talent to contribute.

“It doesn’t just have to be attorneys,” said Pickert. “Special Olympics is a great example. My two oldest children participated in that with me. It gives them a great perspective and gives them an idea of where some other people are coming from.

“There’s nothing magical about needing a legal degree to participate in the Special Olympics every year.”

Pickert also has spent uncounted hours as an organizer and moderator for the Jax Reads! literacy program. The effort encourages all residents to read particular works — such as “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Fahrenheit 451” — and take part in discussions about their themes and issues.

He has handled a variety of cases pro bono and was heavily involved in the creation of a program to provide legal assistance to the homeless at the I.M. Sulzbacher Center.

He has served as chairman of the Holiday in January Project, started by the Young Lawyers Section of the JBA in 1994. The project helps children enrolled in the Department of Children and Families “who might not have had a good holiday season,” he said.

“I’ve taken my kids to it; many others have, too, to help the children pick out presents and what have you,” said Pickert.

On his desk is a piece of paper, headed “Santa’s Wish List for Meals on Wheels.” There are sections set aside for specific needs — clothing, food, small household items.

“I’m getting ready to go buy this individual his stuff,” said Pickert. “He wants a robe and some slippers because he’s cold.

“Every year, I usually take my whole family — all four kids and my wife — and we buy some chicken or something and go out and spend a couple of hours with the individual on the weekend and just chat.

“Again, there’s nothing magical, no special expertise that’s needed. Only your time and effort.”



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