Everyone is entitled to a lawyer, right? Right. Each member of The Florida Bar, as part of that member’s professional responsibility, should perform at least 20 hours of pro bono legal service to those who cannot afford private legal services. Along with performing pro bono services, members of the Bar also have the option to make a contribution of at least $350 to a legal aid organization.
As an attorney, it is part of our job to represent clients to whom we have no personal connection. However, in our opinion, it is far more satisfying to help someone who has legal issues and cannot afford an attorney reach a resolution than to make an impersonal contribution. It makes the attorney feel good having been able to touch someone’s life and making a difference; both the attorney and the client win.
Bay Area Legal Services is the prime organization in Tampa that does an amazing job at helping coordinate pro bono services. They screen all potential clients to make sure they meet the criteria for receiving free legal services. At various luncheons, including the Hillsborough County Bar Association and the Hillsborough Association of Women Lawyers, Bay Area Legal Services provides information that lists cases by type of service and a summary of the case. This makes it easy for attorneys to find the cases that they are qualified and able to help with. After finding a case that interests them, an attorney can then contact Bay Area Legal Services and let them know they are interested in taking one of the cases.
Performing pro bono services is a great way to satisfy one of the requirements of being a member of the Florida Bar and is a great way to help those in need.