Lead Letter: Florida lawyers give back to communities – Florida Times-Union
Helping the elderly prepare a care directive so they can get proper medical treatment.
Fighting to change laws so that victims of cyber exploitation have a remedy.
Stepping in to protect a child who is suffering abuse at the hands of a foster parent.
This work doesn’t make headlines but is done daily by attorneys who volunteer expertise and give a voice to those who would otherwise be left to go it alone.
Pro bono service is part of the very DNA of our justice system, because accessing it shouldn’t have a price tag or be limited only to those who can afford it.
Florida is one of the few states in the country that requires its attorneys to report how many hours of service and dollars they donate each year because numbers matter. Last year, Florida attorneys collectively donated more than $5.3 million in legal aid and more than 1.7 million hours of free legal service.
And while these figures are impressive, they are sadly still not enough to address the growing needs of citizens across the state. According to the World Justice Project, more than 80 percent of low-income litigants either go it alone or simply give up when faced with a legal challenge.
By making the extra push, Florida attorneys can play a vital role in bridging the justice gap. If Florida attorneys donated 1.7 million hours last year, imagine what could be accomplished if this grew to 2 million or more?
Numbers matter because behind each hour counted and dollar raised is another child who could be rescued, veteran who could be treated or domestic violence victim who could be protected.
Numbers matter because behind each number is a person who might have otherwise slipped through the cracks.
Let’s make our numbers count.