Bar launches educational initiative to help Floridians navigate life’s legal moments
The initiative provides 'helpful resources' on how to hire lawyers, where Floridians may find lawyers to meets their specific needs, and how to navigate the legal system
Hiring a lawyer for important legal moments in life alleviates stress, saves time and money, and increases the likelihood of more favorable outcomes.
With that premise, The Florida Bar has launched “Life’s Legal Moments,” an educational initiative to help Floridians understand when and how to access legal counsel. The program is designed to offer the public guidance on when navigating critical life moments necessitate retaining counsel to evaluate and help handle matters so Floridians can protect their interests.
A priority of Florida Bar President Gary Lesser, the Life’s Legal Moments initiative was developed after a June 2022 survey found three in four Floridians consider the state’s legal system difficult to navigate. The program will help Floridians understand the value attorneys offer as trusted legal advisors during particularly important and challenging life events.
Those major moments of life may include real estate transactions, drafting a will, handling employment disputes, dealing with an insurance claim, filing for divorce, starting a business, obtaining guardianship for a loved one, and much more.
“The ability of the legal profession to serve the public is essential to what we do as lawyers,” Lesser said. “With our experience and knowledge of legal proceedings and of the complications that often occur within it, we know hiring a lawyer can help someone and their family increase the odds of better outcomes. It’s imperative the public we serve recognize this as well, and why Life’s Legal Moments is designed to help every Floridian understand that professional guidance is important and needed.”
Lesser said the initiative provides “helpful resources” on how to hire lawyers, where Floridians may find lawyers to meets their specific needs, and how to navigate the legal system.
The recently launched Life’s Legal Moments website (FloridaLawyersCanHelp.com) provides a host of resources including research showing the benefits of hiring a lawyer; a step-by-step guide on “How to Hire an Attorney,” an animated, informational video series; lawyer referral service information; and pro bono and legal aid information.
Lesser said the campaign also includes a robust social media component and the efforts to spread the word and reach the public will be most successful with the help and support of all Florida lawyers.
“The efforts of Florida’s lawyers sharing these resources via social media, at community events, and within your networks will be invaluable in getting the word out,” Lesser said. “We will also be working closely with the Board of Governors and the Bar’s Citizens Advisory Committee to share informational materials to the many community groups and citizens with whom they interact every day. Collectively, Florida lawyers can spread the word and ensure Floridians consult with legal counsel on important legal matters to better protect their interests.”
Lesser said the Bar’s survey indicates Floridians know that hiring a lawyer for legal matters results in better outcomes, but for many reasons, too many choose to go it alone.
“That’s why the Life’s Legal Moments initiative was created,” he said. “It explains why hiring a lawyer actually allows someone to protect themselves and their family’s interests more effectively.”
According to the survey, Floridians who engaged a lawyer for a civil legal matter involving divorce or custody were 88% more satisfied with the outcome than those who represented themselves.
The same survey found 91% of respondents think retaining a lawyer would help protect their rights or interests; 84% believe it would reduce the stress of dealing with a legal issue; and 84% said hiring a lawyer would lead to a better or more equitable outcome.
“This is all about lawyers helping and serving the residents of Florida,” said Lesser, adding the data also shows that the lawyer/client relationship is most beneficial to the client being helped, so it’s imperative the Bar educate the public on the basics of how hiring lawyers is in their best interest.