Pro bono collaboration has the wheels turning on the Justice Bus
PRO BONO VOLUNTEERS from Akerman and Legal Services of Greater Miami boarded the Justice Bus and mapped a course to Marathon Key to provide free legal assistance to Keys residents still struggling with the after effects of Hurricane Irma.
More than a year after Hurricane Irma ravaged the Florida Keys as a Category 4 storm, many low-income Keys residents are still struggling to stay afloat. Many residents continue to experience hurricane-related and other legal issues that have impacted their economic stability.
Pro bono volunteers from Akerman and Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc., boarded the Justice Bus and mapped a course to Marathon Key. In an effort to narrow the access to justice gap, attorneys from Akerman and LSGMI partnered to provide free legal assistance to Keys residents during a one-day intensive legal clinic. Joining the Miami volunteers were attorneys representing the Monroe County Bar Association, along with case managers from Florida Restores, a nonprofit focusing on hurricane recovery in the Keys.
“It’s a fact that many residents of the Florida Keys are still struggling post Hurricane Irma with various legal issues including FEMA, family law issues, employment issues, and housing,” said LSGMI Pro Bono Advocacy Director Jayme Cassidy.
“Unfortunately, there simply aren’t enough resources in the Keys to assist every low-income family facing legal issues,” said Whitney Untiedt, Akerman’s director of Pro Bono Initiatives. “The time and expense to travel to Miami to meet with pro bono lawyers can be an insurmountable hurdle for many of these families.
The Justice Bus was born of the idea that justice is best served when lawyers come into the community to meet with people facing legal challenges.”
During the five-hour clinic, the pro bono volunteers collectively assisted 30 families with a range of legal issues, from a Korean War veteran rebuilding his home with his own hands, to a Coast Guard employee struggling with a difficult family situation.
The pro bono collaboration was sponsored by Akerman and hosted by the Marathon Community United Methodist Church.