Certified Lawyers on Call (CLOC)
Certified Lawyers on Call, or “CLOC”, is a Service of The Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and Education (“BLSE”), in conjunction with The Florida Bar Foundation.
The CLOC Service was developed in 2018 to give legal aid organization staff attorneys, and private attorneys who work with a legal aid organization on a referral basis, pro bono telephone consultation access to a Board Certified Lawyer when a legal expert’s advice in a certification practice area is needed by the pro bono client. There are presently 190 Board Certified Lawyers who are available on a volunteer basis to consult with attorneys who are working on a pro bono case through a legal aid organization in Florida.
To participate, contact [email protected]
CLOC works as follows:
The inquiring legal aid staff attorney or legal aid referral attorney will identify a legal issue for which expert advice is needed.
The inquiring attorney will then contact the CLOC Service Contact Coordinator by e-mail. The e-mail address is [email protected]. The inquiring attorney must sign the CLOC Acknowledgment and Limitation Form and attach it to the e-mail which is then sent to the Contact Coordinator. Based upon the inquiry, the Contact Coordinator will determine the specific area of Board Certification the legal issue pertains to. The Contact Coordinator may contact the inquiring attorney by telephone for any necessary clarification of the relevant certification practice area.
After the practice area of Board Certification is determined by the Contact Coordinator, the Coordinator will match the inquiring attorney with a Board Certified Lawyer who has volunteered as an advisor.
The Coordinator will select, on a random and rotating basis, a Board Certified Lawyer from the list of volunteer advisors maintained by the BLSE. The Coordinator will notify the selected Board Certified Lawyer advisor of the inquiry by electronic mail or telephone, provide the inquiring attorney with the Board Certified Lawyer’s contact information, and provide the Board Certified Lawyer with the inquiring attorney’s contact information. The inquiring attorney will have the initial responsibility to contact the Board Certified Lawyer by telephone or e-mail.
Prior to discussing the specifics of any issue, the Board Certified Lawyer advisor must perform a conflict check.
The inquiring attorney must identify all known adverse parties and opposing counsel and provide this information to the Board Certified Lawyer advisor in the initial inquiring attorney’s contact with the advisor. If an actual or potential conflict exists, the Board Certified Lawyer shall advise the inquiring attorney that the advisor cannot assist due to a conflict, and the inquiring attorney will then notify the Coordinator that the selected advisor is unable to provide assistance. The Coordinator will then select an alternate advisor from the list, and the contact process will be repeated. If no actual or potential conflict exists, the inquiring attorney will then describe in detail the legal issue(s) to the Board Certified Lawyer advisor, and the Board Certified Lawyer advisor will provide expert advice.
After a brief discussion with the Board Certified Lawyer advisor, the inquiring attorney should exercise the attorney’s own independent judgment to resolve the legal issue for the client.
It is within the discretion of the Board Certified Lawyer to offer more or continuing assistance to the inquiring attorney with respect to the legal issues raised. Unless the Board Certified Lawyer otherwise agrees, there will be no direct contact between the pro bono client and the Board Certified Lawyer, and no appearance by the Board Certified Lawyer in any pending case.
List of Board of Certified Lawyers
The BLSE has compiled a list of those Board Certified Lawyers who are willing to serve as advisors, their contact information, and their certification area(s) of practice. The list is not distributed to legal aid organizations and it remains an internal BLSE and CLOC service document.
If you are a Board Certified Lawyer and have not yet volunteered and would like to serve as an advisor, please contact the CLOC Contact Coordinator by email and your name will be added to the list. A Board Certified Lawyer may remove the lawyer’s name from the list at any time by contacting the CLOC Contact Coordinator. All communications regarding the CLOC Service should be sent to the CLOC Service Contact Coordinator at the below e-mail address, not the BLSE or The Florida Bar Foundation.
The BLSE intends on occasionally surveying the Board Certified Lawyer advisors, legal aid organizations, and inquiring attorneys to gauge the success and usefulness of the CLOC service and to solicit comments and suggestions for improvement to the service. If you are an advisor or inquiring attorney and receive a request from CLOC to complete a survey, please take the time to give CLOC your feedback and promptly respond to the survey.
Pro Bono Rule
Florida Bar Rule 4-6.1 strongly encourages a lawyer’s public service and states that a lawyer’s professional responsibility includes providing legal services to the economically disadvantaged on a pro bono basis. Board Certified Lawyers have met the highest standards of professionalism and many already provide pro bono legal services. The CLOC Service provides a Board Certified Lawyer with an additional opportunity to serve those in need of expert legal services who cannot otherwise afford them, and to partner with legal aid organizations and The Florida Bar Foundation to ensure equal access to justice.
The Board Certified Lawyer can report the time spent giving advice in the CLOC service to an inquiring attorney as pro bono legal services. Moreover, by participating in the CLOC service, the Board Certified Lawyer advisors will be promoting the value of Board Certification and serving as great examples of lawyers who are dedicated to the highest ideals of professionalism and competence.
The BLSE extends its sincere thank you to those Board Certified Lawyers who have volunteered as advisors.
For all questions about the CLOC service and to participate as an advisor, please contact the CLOC Service Coordinator at: [email protected]