JACKSONVILLE BAR ASSOCIATION TO RECEIVE STATEWIDE PRO BONO AWARD
TALLAHASSEE – The Jacksonville Bar Association is the recipient of the 2017 Chief Justice’s Voluntary Bar Association Pro Bono Award. The award, which recognizes a Florida voluntary bar that has demonstrated a significant contribution in the delivery of legal services to individuals or groups on a pro bono basis, will be presented by Chief Justice Jorge Labarga at a Jan. 19 ceremony at the Supreme Court of Florida.
The JBA’s commitment to pro bono service has spanned decades; the association also received the Chief Justice’s Law Firm Commendation in 1997 and again in 2002, and its good works continue. Recent pro bono projects include:
● In 2009, the Pro Bono Committee of the JBA started quarterly Ask-A-Lawyer events, largely in response to the foreclosure crisis. At locations in low-income neighborhoods chosen with help from the Jacksonville City Council, people with legal questions can have 15-minute, one-on-one conversations with pro bono attorneys. Each event draws 12 to 15 attorneys offering counsel for up to 100 people.
● In 2010, at the 12th Annual Equal Justice Awards event, the JBA received the Robert J. Beckham Equal Justice Award from Jacksonville Area Legal Aid in recognition of its work with JALA in addressing problems in the community with financial support and ongoing pro bono service.
● The Pro Bono Attorney Ad Litem program, managed by the Legal Needs of Children Committee, was started in 2012. The JBA has recruited and trained attorneys and facilitated the placement of dozens of children with them, which has resulted in hundreds of hours of pro bono legal assistance and advocacy.
● In 2013, the JBA’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee created the Pro Bono Mediation Project.
● In 2016, the JBA joined with the Fourth Circuit Pro Bono Committee to organize and implement the first circuitwide pro bono attorney recognition event at the Duval County Courthouse.
In addition, the Law Week Committee coordinates Citizenship Day at Florida Coastal School of Law. Attendees complete applications for naturalization, have the applications reviewed by one of nearly 40 pro bono attorneys and submit them for consideration. The JBA also assists with fundraising efforts including the Law Review (a variety show featuring the talents of judges and attorneys), donation drives at luncheons and receptions, and the 30/60 Challenge.
This year’s awards ceremony, which also honors individual, circuit, law firm, young lawyer, state judicial and federal judicial pro bono efforts, is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 19, at 3:30 p.m. at the Supreme Court of Florida. The ceremony will be streamed live at http://wfsu.org/gavel2gavel.