Pro Bono Services in the Jacksonville Community
Bedell Firm believes in equal access to justice for all. The firm does not think the cost to hire a lawyer should stand in the way of someone being able to defend his or her rights. The attorneys at Bedell Firm believe it is their duty and privilege as legal professionals to offer pro bono services to those in the Jacksonville, Florida community. The firm’s pro bono involvement offers financial support to Florida Legal Services and Legal Aid in the Jacksonville area. Some of Bedell Firm’s attorneys have won the Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Award for their works in the community.
What Is Pro Bono?
Pro bono comes from a Latin phrase meaning “for the public good.” Practicing lawyers can conduct pro bono legal work by not charging anything for their services. The American Bar Association (ABA),Model Rule 6.1, states that each lawyer has a professional responsibility to provide at least 50 hours of pro bono legal services to those unable to pay per year. Pro bono services aim to make justice accessible to low-income individuals with unmet legal needs. Almost every state has a rule requiring lawyers to provide at least some hours of pro bono services per year.
Pro bono work is an excellent way for law school students to learn the practice while helping the economically disadvantaged. Law students can see firsthand how vital pro bono services are to provide justice and basic needs (e.g., food, shelter, and child support) to those who do not have the means to hire attorneys. While the clients benefit greatly from the legal representation, the lawyers also get the opportunity to develop their skills and get real, firsthand experience within the civil or criminal fields. Pro bono opportunities in and out of law school can help the entire community.
Bedell Firm’s Involvement in Pro Bono Work
The ABA supports the belief that performing pro bono work can enhance a lawyer’s practice and boost the skills of new attorneys. But professional obligation and personal fulfillment are the reasons most firms engage in pro bono work – Bedell Firm included. Bedell does not engage in pro bono work simply because the ABA demands it. It believes delivering legal services to the low-income and needy communities is an obligation of the legal profession. Members of the Bedell Firm regularly represent those in need in conjunction with local and state legal aid associations. Its lawyers also handle criminal appointments pro bono.
Bedell Firm is more than happy to offer pro bono services to people in the Jacksonville community even though Florida law does not make it a requirement. Florida Rule 4-6.1 sets an aspirational goal – not a requirement – of at least 20 hours of pro bono services per year or an annual contribution of $350 to a legal aid organization. The firm is proud to help people in Jacksonville who cannot otherwise afford legal services.
One of the directors at Bedell Firm, Hank Coxe, often takes on important legal issues on a pro bono basis, such as defending children who the state has charged as adults. In an interview, Coxe said pro bono work is important to him because he wants to help those who cannot help themselves. Coxe and the rest of the attorneys at Bedell Firm have provided critical representation to minors and others in need around Jacksonville at no cost to the client.
Contact Bedell Firm for a consultation at an office in Jacksonville.