|Message From The President
Unless you have just emerged from months of isolation in a remote cave somewhere in the mountains of a country I cannot pronounce, you have read and heard that the economically-disadvantaged have real trouble gaining access to our courts. These folks include the hard-working “poor,” who are getting by week to week with no reserves, in the event a legal problem descends upon their family. Reality is that many of our own members could not afford to hire themselves if they had legal problems.
The Florida Bar is studying this societal problem. Study is good, if it results in solutions of some sort. What should be clear is that lawyers alone cannot solve the problems of access to the courts. Taxing lawyers by doubling our bar dues is a band-aid for an arterial bleed. We can, however, be part of the solution. The Brevard County Bar Foundation and Brevard County Legal Aid are two readily available local organizations that offer direct aid in our own community . There may be many excuses why our members are not more involved in the Foundation or Legal Aid, but almost none of them are good excuses.
If you are a commercial litigator, P.I. lawyer or do estates and trust litigation, you already have the skills to guide a needy client through a family law case, eviction or domestic violence matter. You can and will get guidance, if you are willing to sign up and take on a case. There are children in dependency court that need attorney ad litems. Let the Judges know you are willing to take on a child client; I can tell you with certainty that you will be called upon.
Only about ten percent of Brevard County Attorneys are members of the Brevard Bar Foundation. It should be ninety percent. At the last Foundation Dinner, Brooke Deratany Goldfarb introduced well more than a dozen local charities who have benefited from donations from the Bar Foundation. With more members, the Foundation could do much more. Annual dues are minimal. A lifetime membership is a Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00). Even at my age, that’s a bargain and money well spent.
Although I cannot promise that you will experience the same results, I will share that the two years I did the most pro bono work were also two of my highest grossing years as an attorney. Coincidence perhaps. Karma maybe. I will leave that answer to the philosophers in our organization who have taken the time to read this message. If you are motivated to be a part of the solution, call Legal aid and join the Bar Foundation. There are many ways you can help.