Figgins resigns from JALA

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  • | 12:00 p.m. January 19, 2012
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Jacksonville Area Legal Aid Executive Director Michael Figgins told the organization’s board of directors and staff Wednesday that he plans to accept a job offer in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Figgins has been with JALA for 17 of the 23 years he has spent as a lawyer providing legal services to the poor. He graduated in 1980 from the Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane, Wash.

Figgins said that while he has enjoyed his career at JALA, he decided to accept an offer to join Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma as its executive director.

His last day will be discussed at a JALA board meeting in the next few weeks.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to carry on some of the things that I have done here,” said Figgins.

“I had to give it a lot of thought and talk it over with Christa and we decided it was the best thing to do.”

His wife, Christa Figgins, has been JALA’s senior development director.

The board recently hired Joshua Zmroczek, formerly development director with Girl Scouts of Gateway Council, as JALA development director.

Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma is based in Oklahoma City and serves the poor throughout the state. Figgins looks forward to working for a statewide agency when it comes to fundraising.

“When I go to a project directors’ meeting in Florida, there are 20 people in the room from different agencies that are also seeking funds from the same source,” said Figgins, describing the regional structure of the legal aid system in Florida.

“In Oklahoma, it will just be me in that room trying to raise funds and looking for grants,” he said.

That leaves the JALA board with the job of finding a replacement for Figgins.

“Mike has been very gracious in offering his services as long as we need them, within reason, but a timeline for his replacement has not been set yet,” said Renee Harrell, president-elect of the JALA board.

“He gave us enough notice so we could prepare for this situation and we are very grateful it is going down so amicably,” she said.

The board will schedule a meeting before the end of the month to address Figgins’ resignation, she said.

JALA was founded in 1976 and is now a law firm of about 30 attorneys specializing in providing civil legal assistance to low-income persons.

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