Pro bono spotlight: Florida Coastal School of Law students use spring break to help

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  • | 12:00 p.m. March 28, 2016
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It was called “Spring Break Pro Bono Immersion.”

The project offered four opportunities for students from Florida Coastal School of Law to provide pro bono assistance to people in need.

Professor Karen Millard, director of pro bono at Florida Coastal, encouraged students to sign up for one or all four opportunities.

The students turned out in force to assist some our community’s underserved.

Here is a snapshot of the week with law students immersing themselves in pro bono work.


The first event was an Advance Directives for Seniors project.

Students and pro bono attorneys gathered at Jacksonville Townhouse, a HUD subsidized residential facility for low-income seniors and disabled people.

Twelve senior citizens made appointments to create advance directive documents at the event.

The senior citizens were served by the following Florida Coastal law students: Lolita Burtz, Elizabeth White, Nick Boyle, Matthew Brost, Darren Foster, Neileen Shoemaker, Victor Nazario, Willishia Plant and Chantol Edwards.

These pro bono attorneys provided guidance and supervision: Lisa Dasher, Drew Krieger and Elizabeth Teelon.

The event was organized by the staff of Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and Brian Swanner, service coordinator at Jacksonville Townhouse.


Students reported to the offices of Three Rivers Legal Services where they provided information on eligibility and requirements regarding the Florida Restoration of Civil Rights process.

The students assisted six applicants with completing and submitting Florida clemency packages.

The applicants were served by these Florida Coastal students: Odell J. Brown, Nicola L. Marchand, Jessica Westervelt, Georgia A. Lawrence, Terry Young, Josef B. Hess, Alexandra Stafford, Esau Lolis and Jenni Harrison.


At Riverside Presbyterian House, 13 seniors received legal guidance and executed advance directives documents.

Like at the Jacksonville Townhouse event, students and attorneys created and executed these documents: durable power of attorney, designation of health care surrogate, designation of preneed guardian and living will.

These students provided assistance: Suzanne Love, Matthew Brost, Nick Boyle, Darren Foster, Stephanie Feldman, Elizabeth White and Samantha Swain.

These attorneys provided guidance: Leslie Wickes, Kimberly Jones, Belkis Plata and Shannon Schott.

The event was organized by JALA staff and Kathy Rhoden, the service coordinator at Riverside Presbyterian House.


The first Ask-A-Lawyer event for 2016 was held at SOS Academy on Wilson Boulevard.

Members of the public were invited to come to the school cafeteria for a chance to speak one-on-one with pro bono attorneys in 15-minute consultations.

Thirty-five people attended, seeking guidance in a broad range of substantive areas.

Law students attended to assist with implementation of the event and to observe the consultations and network with members of the legal community.

These law students participated: Joshua Barfield, Shahdokht Rasouli, Ali Sadrolsadat, Elizabeth White; Stephanie Feldman and Hana Eldick.

These attorneys provided guidance to the attendees: Sarah Sullivan, Barry Bobek, Enrique Barquinero, Eric Kolar, Laura Gapske, Rusty Mead and Kameisha Presley.

Ask-A-Lawyer events are held quarterly and are a collaboration of The Jacksonville Bar Association, JALA and FCSL.

During the Spring Break Pro Bono Immersion Project, the law students came with a willingness to learn and a desire to help.

They brought enthusiasm, professionalism and compassion to each event.

The end result: dozens of people in our community received help. The law students clearly increased access to legal assistance.

Sincere appreciation is extended to professor Millard and the students of Florida Coastal School of Law for their meaningful contributions to our community during spring break.

Attorneys interested in pro bono opportunities throughout Northeast Florida are encouraged to contact Para at [email protected]