By Kathy Para
The JBA Pro Bono Committee chair
On Sept. 20 at The Jacksonville Bar Association Luncheon, Mayor Lenny Curry made the annual proclamation of Celebrate Pro Bono Week.
There is immense need for pro bono legal services, but during the weeks and months that follow a natural disaster the need grows exponentially.
For families with few resources, the effects of a storm such as Hurricane Irma can be catastrophic.
As we prepare for Celebrate Pro Bono Week, Oct. 22-28, area attorneys are asked to join the Hurricane Recovery Pro Bono Team to assist low-income people with storm-related legal issues.
Those include matters involving landlord/tenant disputes, contracts, insurance claims, construction defects, FEMA appeals or basic probate.
To add your name to the Hurricane Recovery Pro Bono Team, contact [email protected], and indicate in your email that you’d like to assist with hurricane recovery efforts.
Attorneys also are encouraged to participate in the following upcoming events in observance of the national event:
Sept. 19 to Oct. 31
The launch of Florida Pro Bono Matters and No Case Left Behind
Members of the Large Firm Pro Bono Roundtable rally attorneys in their firms to take a case. The goal will be that the Roundtable will “clear the backlog” and accept at least 50 cases in the weeks leading up to and including Celebrate Pro Bono week. Cases will be identified by Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, the Northeast Florida Medical Legal Partnership, Three Rivers Legal Services, and the Veterans Legal Collaborative. Contact [email protected], (904) 356-8371, ext. 363 or visit floridaprobonomatters.org, choose a northeast Florida county and accept a case.
Hurricane Irma recovery pro bono opportunities
Attorneys are encouraged to assist by signing up to assist with the legal assistance telephone hotline and The Florida Bar’s free online legal guidance. Lawyers also may join the local Hurricane Recovery Pro Bono Team to assist low-income people impacted by the storm with case representation. Contact [email protected] or (904) 356-8371, ext. 363.
October 1 to 31
The Jacksonville Bar Association Pro Bono Initiative
Time to Commit: Each committee of The JBA is encouraged to identify at least one pro bono effort that provides a meaningful and manageable opportunity for committee members to increase access to justice for low-income and underserved people. Contact [email protected] or JBA Pro Bono Committee co-chair Laura Boeckman at [email protected].
October 1 to 31
Lawyers in Libraries
This statewide initiative began in 2013 with the goal to have volunteer lawyers in public libraries throughout Florida speaking with patrons about online resources for access to the courts and to provide information in specific substantive areas. Interested attorneys should contact [email protected].
Jacksonville Area Legal Aid Intake Night and Case Acceptance Forum
When: 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Where: City Rescue Mission, 426 McDuff Ave. S.
This service is coordinated by the Christian Legal Society. Attorneys provide legal guidance to residents in the Life Builders program at the mission and may accept a case for follow-up after the intake night. Interested attorneys should contact Blane McCarthy at [email protected].
October, Date TBD
Florida Coastal School of Law Pro Bono Fall Forum
When: Noon to 1 p.m.
Where: 8787 Baypine Road
The purpose is to encourage law students who will 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. Contact Michelle Hawthorne, director of pro bono programs, at [email protected].
Florida Bar Business Law Section, Nonprofit Organizations Legal Services Forum
When: 5 to 8 p.m.
Where: Florida Coastal School of Law.
Transactional attorneys will consult with local nonprofit organizations regarding contracts, employment, incorporation and real estate. Attorneys interested in providing counsel and advice should contact John Macdonald at [email protected]. Nonprofit agencies interested in participating should contact [email protected].
Seal/expunge criminal records seminar at Three Rivers Legal Services
When: 5 to 7 p.m.
Where: Three Rivers Legal Services, 3225 University Blvd. S., Suite 220.
Three Rivers and the D.W. Perkins Bar Association will offer information and assistance with applications for sealing or expunging criminal arrest records. Attorneys interested in assisting should contact Felicia Wilcox at [email protected].
JALAween and Meet the Judges
When: 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Where: Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, 126 W. Adams St.
An open house and reception as a “thank you” to pro bono attorneys, supporters, and interested persons and to provide information on the depth and scope of civil legal services provided to low-income people for more than 80 years.
At 4 p.m., children from agencies serving low-income families will be invited to participate in Halloween activities, choose clothing accessories and fill a bag with healthy snacks for their families. Adult guests will be provided an overview of JALA services and thanked for their interest and support, and will be invited to an informal happy hour gathering at the Zodiac restaurant. It’s an opportunity to network and meet and greet some of our judges. The event is sponsored by the law firm of Driver, McAfee, Peek, and Hawthorne. Attorney response is appreciated, but not required, to [email protected].