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Jax pro bono attorneys assist service members

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Jax pro bono attorneys assist service members


Jacksonville area pro bono attorneys combined forces to offer pro bono legal services to the nation’s men and women in uniform.

Florida Coastal School of Law, Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, and area pro bono attorneys visited the Burpee U.S. Army Reserve Center in April to offer free legal services to Army reservists, specifically, the creation of advance directive documents: durable power of attorney, healthcare surrogate designation, designation of preneed guardian, a living will, and a simple will.

The goal was to enable reservists to leave the event with a fully executed set of these legal documents.

Each reservist had an appointment with an attorney/law student team and was given ample time to understand the purpose of each document and consider the responsibilities of the designees. Many reservists also were able to use the opportunity to receive other legal advice.

Military reservists must deploy with short notice. The preparation time is limited before leaving families and reporting to remote locations throughout the world. The services provided will help to minimize the stress of deployment for reservists and family members by helping them organize their affairs prior to departure dates.

In addition, by planning ahead, these reservists helped to protect their rights and made informed decisions about their health- care, property, and family in the event of their own incapacity or death.

During the event, pro bono attorneys were teamed up with Florida Coastal School of Law students. The attorneys provided the legal expertise, while the law students assisted by helping to create, print, and execute the legal documents. Each team had a laptop and a thumb drive with all of the document templates. After creating the documents for a specific reservist, the student printed the documents. The attorney and reservist made a final review and revisions, if needed, and then the documents were executed.

Each of the reservists left the event with a packet of fully executed advance planning documents.

The attorneys in attendance included Bill Schmidt, Katherine Naugle, Mike Jorgensen, Martin Sack, Jr., and Crystal Johnson Reeves. The law students included Travis Spencer, Jineane McMinn, Jason Kemp, Danielle Vanover, Dixie Lee Ellis, Megan Senade, Jae Hee Kim, Lina Khan, Rolando Rodriguez, and Perry Bindelglass. Courtney Brown and Gordon Morgan provided notary and administrative services.

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