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ProBono Opportunities

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“What greater public good is there than to help those who truly do not otherwise have access to justice. I encourage you to continue to work in your communities.”- Florida Supreme Court Justice Peggy Quince


WHAT

With over 500,000 low income individuals and families in our community, the need for free legal services cannot be met by Legal Services staff alone. Pro bono resources are critical to supplement the work we do and to help address the many unmet legal needs. Legal Services welcomes pro bono assistance from law firms, individual attorneys, law students, and other volunteers, and provides the necessary training and mentoring to support those volunteers. We also provide malpractice insurance for our pro bono volunteers.To volunteer, click here. You can also click here for a list of the cases we currently have available for pro bono placement. For more information on Legal Services Pro Bono Projects, click below:


WHY

By offering pro bono services, you will be able to satisfy your Florida Bar Pro Bono responsibility and be part of the One Campaign.You will also:Grow professionally and gain personal satisfaction
Gain respect and recognition from your colleagues and the community
Learn new areas of law and obtain valuable hands-on experience
And most importantly, you will change lives.

HOW

MENTOR: You can provide leadership and guidance to one of our staff attorneys to support their professional development.

RESEARCH:You can provide legal research on a particular case handled by one of our staff attorneys.

CONSULT: You can consult with one of our staff attorneys in a substantive or skills area within your expertise.

SERVE AS AN EXPERT: You can serve as an expert in a particular area of law in a case handled by one of our staff attorneys.

TRAIN: You can present a training on a legal topic or practice skills area for our staff attorneys.

COMMUNITY EDUCATION: You can present a training on a legal topic for social service providers or a community group.

VOLUNTEER AT A CLINIC: You can provide individual advice to pro se litigants at one of our Self Help Clinics. Click here to volunteer at a Small Claims Clinic. Click here to volunteer at a Divorce Clinic.

TAKE A CASE: You can provide legal representation for a low income individual or family who otherwise would not get help. Areas of representation include defense of evictions and mortgage foreclosures, bankruptcy, consumer, SSI disability, unemployment compensation, tax, transactional work for non-profit developers, special education, probate and naturalization. Visit www.DadeCountyProBono.org for more information about current cases needing pro bono attorneys.

MAKE A DONATION: You can also make a donation to support the work of Legal Services staff. Your donation satisfies the Florida Bar Pro Bono requirements and is tax deductible. To donate now, click here.


WHO

Back in 2012, Mr. C had been tricked into signing a deed to Mr. Y,  who promised to help him save his home from an impending foreclosure.  At the time, Mr. C was in a desperate situation.  His furniture restoration business had failed, he had lost his nose as a result of skin cancer, and he had suffered multiple heart attacks.  Facing foreclosure of the home he had lived in for nearly 30 years, Mr. C fell prey to the defendant’s claims that he would get a new mortgage, resolve the foreclosure and help manage Mr. C’s house.  However, Mr. Y had no ability to arrange for any refinancing – he had terrible credit, little income, and had not filed tax returns for a number of years.  The defendant did nothing; he likely only hoped to steal some of the equity in the house, after it was sold at foreclosure.

Pro bono attorneys at Stearns Weaver filed suit to quiet title after Mr. C was able to work out the foreclosure lawsuit with the help of a friend.  The case was hotly litigated over the course of nearly three years.  It was scheduled for trial on two separate trial dockets, but was not reached.  The firm filed a renewed motion for summary judgment and Judge Monica Gordo granted the plaintiff’s motion, finding a breach of dependent covenants and ordering the quit claim deed be rescinded.  Mr. C  now has full title to his house and the ability to get back on his feet.

Pro Bono Attorney Julie Fishman Berkowitz took the lead in litigating the case and dealing with the defendant’s very contentious counsel.   A number of others at the firm were actively involved in the win, including Darrell Payne, Joey Onorati, and Matthew Graham.

Words from clients who receive pro bono assistance:

“At 3000 Biscayne Blvd, Suite 500, the attorney treated me as if I was family. I love all of you. My case was solved the next day. I thank you so much. God bless every one of you.”

“I was extremely pleased with the courtesy, knowledge & professionalism of the lawyer I saw. Thank you very much.”

Words from pro bono volunteers:

“We brought some of our colleagues out for the small claims clinic last night and had a great experience. Your attorneys and staff were welcoming, helpful, and just did a wonderful job plugging us in and maximizing our utility and time for the mission.”


For more information please contact Vivian Chavez: vchavez@legalservicesmiami.org

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