The general magistrate’s experience practicing at Jacksonville Area Legal Aid helped improve her litigation skills.
ByAaron Irving | Jacksonville Area Legal Aid Director of Pro Bono
| 12:55 a.m. December 7, 2023
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The Bar Bulletin
Fourth Judicial Circuit General Magistrate K. Beth Luna is no stranger to Jacksonville Area legal Aid.
From 2000 to 2006, Luna was a staff attorney at JALA in the Family Law Unit and the supervising attorney for the unit toward the end of her tenure at JALA.
Luna credits her experience at legal aid for helping improve her litigation skills.
“Michael Figgins, the director at that time, was extremely supportive of legal education and provided me many opportunities to learn and improve my skill set as an attorney. This included allowing me to attend multiple programs with the National Institute of Trial Advocacy, which significantly helped me in improving my trial skills. I am forever grateful to both him and JALA for those opportunities.
“The experience at JALA was enhanced by the co-workers and the clients. The work is so rewarding and eye opening as to the needs of the community. I honestly feel it was a privilege to serve JALA and their clients during my time there,” Luna said.
In 2018, Luna was appointed a general magistrate/special magistrate/child support hearing officer in the 4th Judicial Circuit. She currently hears cases in Clay County involving family law, dependency and mental-health related matters.
Luna is an active participant with The Florida Bar where she is a member of the Family Law Section Executive Council.
In addition to her membership on the council, she is co-chair of the section’s Legislation Committee. Luna also serves on The Florida Bar Family Law Rules and Forms Committee and chairs its Subcommittee on Vexatious Litigation.
Locally, Luna is the chair of the Outreach Committee with the Florida Family Law American Inn of Court.
“Outreach is important because it connects us more closely to the community around us. As lawyers, it is an opportunity to improve the impressions of our profession. We are so often viewed in a negative light. I love that outreach allows us to give back to the community, but also the impact it has on our own mental health. There is no denying that helping others feels good whether that is by providing pro bono legal services or other hands-on assistance within the community,” Luna said.
Luna said pro bono work is a wonderful way for attorneys to give back to their communities.
“There is a tremendous need for legal assistance, especially in family law. Self-represented individuals often struggle in the courtroom to effectively present their cases. They don’t understand what is or isn’t important to their legal issues, how to submit evidence and other items that would assist them in representing themselves. Pro bono attorneys really can help fill this gap.”
When asked what advice she had for members of the Bar, including the judiciary, Luna said she would encourage everyone to provide pro bono services.
“It is rewarding and might provide the feel-good moment I think all attorneys could use from time to time. I know it is time-consuming and takes away from paying clients, so I personally really appreciate attorneys who are willing to give that time.”