Pro bono spotlight: Special week highlights need for legal help for low-income citizens

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  • | 12:00 p.m. October 13, 2014
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Celebrate Pro Bono Week is Oct. 19-25, as designated by the American Bar Association.

The purpose of the week is to:

• Recognize the service of pro bono attorneys who provide assistance to low-income people.

• Recruit more pro bono attorneys to provide legal services to low-income people.

• Build awareness of pro bono legal services in the broader community (not just the legal community).

For more information, visit

Local efforts and events in observance of the week include:

• Oct. 1–31: Take one case. The One Campaign – One Client. One Attorney. One Promise: If you haven’t already, take one case. Attorneys who don’t have at least one pro bono case are encouraged to visit the online pro bono case resource at, click on “Cases in Need of Placement with Pro Bono Attorneys” and request more information on the case of a low-income client. Cases posted are identified by Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, Northeast Florida Medical Legal Partnership and Three Rivers Legal Services Inc. For more information, contact Kathy Para, The JBA Pro Bono Committee chair, at [email protected], or (904)356-8371, ext. 363

• Thursday, 6:15-7:15 p.m.: Three Rivers Legal Services Inc. pro se sealing and expungement clinic, Wells Fargo Historic Springfield Community Learning Center, 1601 N. Main St., second floor. For information, contact Chardea Murray, pro bono coordinator, at [email protected].

• Oct. 20, 5:30-6:30 p.m.: Three Rivers Legal Services open house, 3225 University Blvd., Suite 220. Guests will be given tours of the offices and information about the scope of services of Three Rivers. Refreshments will be provided. For information, contact Murray at [email protected]

• Oct. 22, Noon-1 p.m.: Seal/expunge, CLE Lunch and Learn. Three Rivers in collaboration with the D.W. Perkins Bar Association is holding a training session to educate pro bono attorneys on eligibility for sealing and expunging criminal arrest records in Florida. Interested attorneys should contact Murray at [email protected].

• Oct. 22, 5:30-7 p.m.: JALA Open House and Wine Down – Celebrating the Legal Services Legacy (and the 100th birthday of its historic building). The annual JALA open house and reception will kick off The JBA’s 30/60 Challenge. Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, 126 W. Adams St., will host an open house and reception as a thank you to pro bono attorneys, supporters and interested people, and to provide information on the depth and scope of civil legal services provided to low-income people for nearly 80 years. Guests may take a 15-minute, self-guided tour of the JALA offices. After the tour, guests are invited to a reception, happy hour and birthday cake next door at Zodiac Bar & Grill and an opportunity to meet and greet some of the judges. Attorney response is appreciated, but not required to Para at [email protected].

• Oct. 23, noon-1 p.m.: Florida Coastal School of Law Pro Bono Fall Forum, 8787 Baypine Road. The purpose is to encourage and educate students who will soon be practicing attorneys to get involved with pro bono representation of low-income clients. Legal services organizations and other community resource providers are invited to set up displays and distribute information on volunteer and pro bono opportunities for students and attorneys. Lunch will be provided. For more information, contact Karen Millard, director of pro bono programs at Florida Coastal School of Law, at [email protected].

• Oct. 25, 9 a.m.-noon: Senior citizens wills and advance directives pro bono project, Pablo Towers. HUD residential center, pro bono attorneys, Northeast Florida Paralegal Association members and Florida Coastal law students team up to create advance planning documents for senior citizens residing in HUD-subsidized residential facilities. Attorneys interested in serving should contact Para at [email protected] or (904) 356-8371, ext. 363.

• Oct. 19-25: The Lawyers in Libraries initiative launched in 2013. The goal is to have pro bono volunteer lawyers in public libraries throughout Florida speaking with patrons about access to justice and to demonstrate through a presentation the online legal resources that a patron can access for legal assistance. In addition, before the community presentation, the attorneys will make a presentation to librarians about online legal resources and answer questions regarding unauthorized practice of law. Florida Legal Services will develop both presentations and send them to volunteers and to the pro bono coordinators well in advance of the program. The goal is to have the main libraries in all Florida counties staffed by a volunteer attorney and as many branch libraries as possible. Interested pro bono attorneys should contact Para at [email protected] or Murray at [email protected].

• Oct. 28, 5:30-8:30 p.m.: Florida Bar Business Law Section, nonprofit organizations legal services forum, Florida Coastal School of Law, 8787 Baypine Road. Transactional attorneys will consult with local nonprofits regarding legal matters in the areas of contracts, employment, incorporation and real estate. Attorneys interested in providing counsel and advice to staff members of local nonprofits should contact John Macdonald at [email protected]. Nonprofit agencies interested in participating should contact Para at [email protected].

• Watch for more info: The Law Offices of Public Defender Matt Shirk, pro bono opportunities and criminal law training, first floor conference room of the Public Defender’s Office. This training covers topics including court procedures and representation in misdemeanor matters. Upon completion of the training session, participants will be appointed as special assistant public defenders and become eligible for an assignment to one misdemeanor case. Contact Lori at (904) 255-4740 to be added to the list for notification of the training date. Contact Kate Bedell at [email protected] for information or if you have questions about the project.

Many and varied opportunities to serve our low-income neighbors with pro bono civil legal services are available. Contact Para at [email protected].



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