GAL’s new YouTube channel has free CLE, encourages pro bono
Partnering with the Appellate Practice Section, the Young Lawyers Division, and the Florida Association for Women Lawyers among others, Florida’s Guardian ad Litem program has launched a YouTube channel offering free CLE to encourage lawyers to do pro bono work.
Thomasina Moore, director of Appeals and Pro Bono Initiatives for the GAL program, said the strategy is simple: providing more free CLE will encourage more attorneys to take pro bono cases. It’s called Free Florida CLE: LeGAL Support for Your Pro Bono Practice.
“We want to create a one-stop shop for free CLE education for Florida lawyers,” she said. “Anyone who wants to can look at it and get the credit. They do not have to take a [pro bono or guardian ad litem] case.
“I’ve found if you build it, they will come,” Moore added of her belief that providing the instructional support will boost the number of volunteer attorneys.
The videos collectively have generated several hundred views in less than three weeks, with little publicity.
Another goal is to provide CLE in digestible bites. Rather than take one course that may last six hours, lawyers can tackle the subject in the shorter videos as their time allows — and get credit as they go along.
“All of the courses are either CLE-certified or pending certification,” Moore said.
She has worked with other legal groups in preparing the videos. The Appellate Practice Section has collaborated on nine videos, from preparing the record for appeal to doing oral arguments to appellate motions practice.
FAWL has helped with six videos aimed at attorneys who work with teens in foster care. The topics range from an overview of dependency court to mentoring.
Moore said the YLD is contributing videos based on its stigma-free campaign.
Videos on the Free Florida CLE channel are organized by subject. At the moment, those topics include: Appeals for the Pro Bono Practitioner; FAWL in Love with GAL: Forging Their Future on Helping Foster Kids; Special Needs Advocacy; Trial Skills; and Mental Health Education. New subject areas on domestic violence and the YLD’s stigma free campaign are in the works, Moore said.
The channel has about two dozen videos covering the various topics, and Moore hopes that will increase to 28 to 30 by July. There are also introductory videos on lawyers explaining why they find satisfaction doing pro bono work.
A wide variety of lawyers and judges have appeared in the instructional videos, she said, including Fifth District Court of Appeal Judges Meredith Sasso, Dan Traver, and Jamie Grosshans; Second DCA Judge Morris Silberman; and Sarah Lahlou-Amine and Nicholas Shannin, respectively the past and current chairs of the Appellate Practice Section.
The first videos went up on June 5, and Moore said the idea started with instruction from GAL Executive Director Alan Abramowitz to set up an online training area with free instruction.
“At the Guardian ad Litem program, we want volunteers, we love the volunteers we work with, but if we can get more pro bono interest generated, that’s also important,” Moore said. “It’s really our channel but not just to promote Guardian ad Litem, it’s really to get an interest in the subjects out there.”