Positive Results: Through the great work of our Pro Bono Committee, Appellate Practice Section members continue to handle pro bono appeals in family law and dependency matters, landlord-tenant cases, and other civil disputes around the state. Our volunteers have racked up more than 4,415 hours on behalf of the Guardian ad Litem Program alone, drafting answer briefs and presenting appellate arguments in cases that have led to adoptions, permanent guardianships, and parental reunifications. Appellate lawyers making a genuine impact for hundreds of Floridians in need!
Outreach: Our Section's Pro-Bono Committee has flourished under Chair Joe Eagleton, expanding service opportunities in the field of domestic and sexual violence. The theme of this year's Pro Bono Week is to highlight to the need for lawyers to assist victims of domestic violence, and our Section has been hard at work on this issue over the past several months. Speaking of organized, our Section's Immediate Past Chair, Sarah Lahlou-Amine, has updated our Pro Bono Committee's webpage to include resources for victims of domestic violence, including a link to a safety plan for victims to complete in order to assist them in seeking protection.
Bold Options: Interested? Opportunities for appellate-oriented pro bono involvement abound. Want to help children? Our Section's partnership with the Guardian ad Litem Program offers a near-constant stream of opportunities to defend the best interests of children in the dependency system. Want to really thank veterans for their service? Our Section has partnered with the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program, which offers opportunities to represent veterans in appealing the denial of disability benefits. Just want an opportunity to draft an appellate brief or present an oral argument? Our Section receives referrals for pro bono appeals from legal aid organizations across Florida and even, on occasion, directly from the court system. To receive notice of these opportunities, just reach out to our Pro Bono Committee Chair, Joe Eagleton, and ask to be added to the email list that distributes notice of the pending cases.
New Opportunities: Our Pro Bono Committee will also be presenting, in conjunction with the Guardian ad Litem Program, a free training to provide legal aid attorneys and attorneys with domestic violence shelters the information they need to handle their own appeals. Save the date for this program, "Appeals for the Pro Bono Practitioner," which will be held on February 5 at the Orange County Bar Association building in Orlando. All attorneys who are interested in pro bono appellate matters are welcome to attend, and the training will be recorded and made available to legal aid attorneys for free.
The message isn't hidden: Celebrate Pro-Bono! No matter what cause or issue you care most about, the Appellate Practice Section has a pro bono opportunity for you. So what are you waiting for? There's no time like Pro Bono Week to roll up your sleeves, join the pro bono distribution list, and take on a pro bono appeal. Trust me, you won't regret it.
Nicholas A. Shannin, Chair
Appellate Practice Section