Pro bono spotlight: Wagner's work provides peace of mind

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  • | 12:00 p.m. March 23, 2015
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The direction of a family can change dramatically with a single event.

This was the case for the pro bono client of Katherine (Kasey) Wagner. Wagner was able to get a guardianship in place, providing safety, stability and peace of mind for a family in need. Wagner describes her pro bono effort:

What were the basic facts of your case?

The client’s brother suffered a debilitating stroke in 2009, which resulted in the brother losing all ability to care for himself.

The client was able to place his brother in a long-term care facility, but since that time, the client has struggled to obtain quality care for his brother, including rehabilitative therapy and dental treatment.

The client sought to become his brother’s plenary guardian so that he would have the authority to direct his brother’s medical care, along with handling his brother’s personal and financial affairs.

What were you able to accomplish for your client?

After meeting with the client and visiting the client’s brother, I obtained a certificate of incapacity from the client’s brother’s primary care physician.

I then filed the appropriate pleadings and ultimately obtained an order declaring the brother incapacitated and appointing the client as his brother’s plenary guardian.

Why was the outcome important to your client?

The client can now direct his brother’s medical care, which should result in a better quality of life for the client’s brother. Additionally, if and when end-of-life issues arise, the client will be authorized to make the necessary decisions on behalf of his brother.

Why was the experience important to you? That is, what did you gain from the experience?

The client and his wife were extremely kind people who were very grateful for the work I provided to them, and it was so fulfilling to be able to serve their needs.

Further, as this was my first experience handling a guardianship matter in Duval County, I learned how the process worked and can now handle these types of cases in the future, both for JALA clients and for paying clients through our office.

What is the name of your firm? In what areas do you practice?

I am an associate attorney with the Dearing Law Firm. We practice primarily in the area of commercial litigation, along with other types of litigation, including professional liability cases, insurance disputes, and construction litigation.

What advice do you have for other attorneys considering pro bono involvement?

Jump in. We should all spend time serving those who are less fortunate and getting involved with JALA (Jacksonville Area Legal Aid) is one of the best ways to use our specialized skills to give back to our community.

Attorneys interested in pro bono opportunities throughout the 4th Judicial Circuit are encouraged to contact Para at [email protected] Cases in need of placement may be reviewed at (Click on pro bono cases link to the left). Cases are identified by Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, the Northeast Florida Medical Legal Partnership and Three Rivers Legal Services.