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- 2017 - March - 13th -

Pro bono spotlight: More than 200 attorneys recognized for volunteer service

By Kathy Para, The JBA Pro Bono Committee chair

More than 200 attorneys who gave at least 20 hours of pro bono service in 2016 were recognized March 3 at the annual Presentation of the Pins luncheon at the Duval County Courthouse.

The event was hosted by the 4th Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee and The Jacksonville Bar Association Pro Bono Committee.

Chief Judge Mark Mahon and Circuit Judge Hugh Carithers, chair of the circuit’s committee, presided over the program.

The attorneys honored were identified by Guardian ad Litem, Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, the JBA Attorney Ad Litem Project, the Northeast Florida Medical Legal Partnership, the Office of Public Defender Special Assistant Public Defender Program and Three Rivers Legal Services.

Mahon thanked the honorees for volunteering to help people who otherwise would not have been represented.

He also thanked the event sponsors: law firms Akerman, Spohrer & Dodd, Pajcic & Pajcic and Holland & Knight and Florida Coastal School of Law.

Mahon also welcomed Bruce Blackwell, executive director of The Florida Bar Foundation, to the event.

Carithers introduced the keynote speaker, 13th Judicial Circuit Judge Ashley Moody, a leader in promoting pro bono involvement who received the 2016 Distinguished Judicial Service Award from the Florida Supreme Court.

She talked about the far-reaching positive impact of pro bono representation and thanked the honorees for stepping in to assist the underserved.

Moody addressed them as “heroes and patriots” for upholding the values on which our country is founded –– liberty and justice for all.

She encouraged those recognized to stay involved and to encourage others to assist with volunteer representation and outreach projects.

Moody thanked Carithers for leading the local effort and presented to him a superhero mask.

The honorees went forward as their names were called to shake hands with and receive a personal word of thanks and appreciation from the 25 judges in attendance.

Circuit Judge Steven Fahlgren, co-chair of the 4th Circuit committee, read their names and was the first to congratulate them for their contributions.

Each received a letter of appreciation from Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labarga and an “Outstanding Pro Bono Service” lapel pin provided by the Florida Young Lawyers Division.

This year, the circuit and JBA committees added an “Outstanding Pro Bono Service” writing pen so the event could be named the Presentation of the Pins (and Pens).

“The contributions of pro bono attorneys greatly impact the administration of justice at many levels and all members of our local bench are deeply appreciative. It’s very important that we recognize those contributions and take a moment to say ‘thank you.’ It was a privilege to have an opportunity to do so in person,” said Carithers.

Sincere appreciation is extended to the members of both committees for their work and implementation of the event and to an anonymous donor for the financial support.

Attorneys interested in pro bono opportunities in the 4th Judicial Circuit may contact kathy.para@jaxlegalaid.org.

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