WILKIE D. FERGUSON, JR. BAR ASSOCIATION TO RECEIVE STATEWIDE PRO BONO AWARD
The Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. Bar Association is the recipient of the 2022 Voluntary Bar Association Pro Bono Award, which will be presented by Chief Justice Charles T. Canady in a Jan. 20 ceremony streamed live by the Supreme Court of Florida. The award 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.
The Miami-based association through its members has delivered legal services free of charge directly to those in need and to charitable organizations whose primary purpose is to provide services to the poor.
The Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. Bar Association collaborated with community partners to create neighborhood legal clinics in underserved Miami-Dade County communities such as Liberty City, Miami Gardens, Brownsville, Coconut Grove and Opa Locka. The clinics, held outside normal working hours, were advertised to provide three hours of free services for each session; but in reality, operated as long as there were visitors who requested services.
When the pandemic hit, the Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. Bar Association adapted its outreach by organizing a series of Zoom community legal services seminars. After each presentation, attorney panelists took questions from the audience in the highlighted area of the law.
Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. Bar Association has partnered with Legal Services of Greater Miami, adopting its Tenants’ Equal Justice Clinic on several occasions. This clinic offers free legal advice to low-income individuals whose landlord has not returned a security deposit or clients who are living in unsuitable, unsafe or unhealthy living conditions. Attorneys help initiate pro se small claims court cases or draft letters.
Members of the Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. Bar Association also partnered with Nelson Mullins to represent indigent individuals arrested during the Black Lives Matter protests for misdemeanor crimes such as trespass, violation of curfew, and disorderly conduct.
Through these programs, Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. Bar Association members collectively provided hundreds of hours of free legal services, demonstrating their commitment to the ideal of equal access, equal opportunity, and equal justice in the legal system.
This year’s awards ceremony, which also honors Individual, Circuit, Law Firm, Young Lawyers Division, Distinguished Judicial Service, and Distinguished Federal Judicial Service pro bono efforts, takes place at the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday, Jan. 20, at 3:30 p.m. Watch it live on Facebook, WFSU: Gavel to Gavel and the Florida Channel.
About The Florida Bar
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