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November 15, 2013
Hawkins Chapter of the NBA launches fellowship program

The Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter of the National Bar Association launched its 2013-14 Fellowship Program at Florida A&M University College of Law in Orlando in September.

Eugene Pettis chats with fellowship program participants VHFCNBA awarded two inaugural attorney fellowships to La-Zondra Randolph and Rosemond Cely, who will advocate on behalf of the underprivileged.

“We are very grateful for the opportunity to carry out our mission of ensuring access to the justice system for the underprivileged and disadvantaged of our community,” said VHFCNBA President Bruce Mount, Jr.

He described the Fellowship Program as a joint initiative between VHFCNBA, the FAMU College of Law legal clinic, The Florida Legislature, and Florida’s Attorney General’s Office. The fellows will work closely with the FAMU College of Law legal clinic and will be responsible for providing services to indigent clients in the areas of housing, homelessness, and domestic violence.

Prior to the partnership, FAMU’s clinic was staffed by certified legal interns and other law students supervised by clinical director Professor Ann M. Cavazos, who said due to the current economic and housing crisis, existing legal aid and legal services offices are overloaded and unable to cover the overwhelming demand for pro bono assistance.

The VHFCNBA fellows will provide pro bono legal services through these three in-house clinics during three semesters of the current academic year. Randolph said the clinic recently prevented a client from being evicted after the client received a 24-hour writ of possession.

“We all worked as a team to file the emergency motion to stay writ of possession,” Randolph said. “Assisting this particular client helped the law students understand how to deal with cases where time is of the essence.”

Florida Bar President Eugene Pettis was in attendance to congratulate VHFCNBA and the FAMU College of Law legal clinic on the initiative, while encouraging the lawyers and law students to continue the efforts to effect positive change in underserved communities.

Professor Cavazos expressed her gratitude to the VHFCNBA for choosing FAMU College of Law as the location for the inaugural year of the fellowship program.

For more information regarding representation or other services offered by the VHFCNBA Fellowship, email [email protected] for an application or call the FAMU legal clinic at (407) 254-4000. VHFCNBA is a state affiliate of the National Bar Association. For information regarding future events or membership requirements, visit or direct inquiries to [email protected].

[Revised: 11-23-2017]