The Pro Bono Committee is responsible for coordinating the Section’s efforts to provide pro bono legal services to those in need. Specific appellate pro bono opportunities include referrals from the Florida Supreme Court, the Statewide Guardian ad Litem Program, and legal aid organizations.
The Pro Bono Committee coordinates the Section’s efforts to provide appellate pro bono legal services to those in need. The Committee considers requests from legal aid organizations, courts, and litigants, among other sources. Its volunteer lawyers represent litigants in appeals and original proceedings arising from family law matters, domestic violence proceedings, dependency cases, landlord-tenant matters, and other civil disputes.
FOR LAWYERS: Any member of the Appellate Practice Section of the Florida Bar may become a member of the Section’s Pro Bono Committee by filling out the Section’s Committee Membership Form found HERE. Not a member of the Section yet? Click HERE to sign up. Pro Bono Committee members are added to an email list that distributes appellate pro bono opportunities as they arise. For those interested in leadership efforts, the Committee offers additional opportunities to explore and implement a variety of pro bono initiatives.
In addition to the above opportunities, the Pro Bono Committee is proud to partner with the following appellate pro bono programs:
- Defending Best Interests: The Committee’s partnership with the Office of the Statewide Guardian ad Litem Program allows lawyers to draft answer briefs in dependency appeals. Click HERE to learn more about this opportunity.
- Veterans Consortium: The Committee’s partnership with the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program allows volunteers to assist veterans in appealing the denial of benefits or compensation in the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Click HERE to learn more about this opportunity. A CLE training is required to participate, but the Committee offers the training remotely for free.
FOR LITIGANTS: Litigants with a matter pending in a trial court should contact their local legal aid organization. For a listing of legal aid organizations throughout Florida, click HERE. Litigants with a matter pending in an appellate court or who would like to seek appellate review may contact the Pro Bono Committee directly or, if they are represented in the trial court, through their trial counsel or local legal aid organization.
Litigants who are deemed financially eligible for pro bono legal services will be asked to provide basic (non-privileged and non-confidential) information about their case, including the names of all parties involved, along with a copy of any order(s) they would like to appeal. This information will be shared with the Committee’s members by email with a request that any interested lawyers contact the litigant directly. The Committee does not provide legal advice in this process and cannot guarantee the availability of a lawyer. Please note that while a lawyer may be available to donate his or her time free of charge, depending on the circumstances, there may be costs associated with an appeal that the litigant will be expected to cover.
All lawyer-client relationships are formed between the lawyer and the litigant directly. A lawyer may need additional information before deciding whether he or she will be able to represent a litigant. The Committee does not endorse and is not responsible for any lawyer or any lawyer-client relationship. Litigants must understand that there are strict, jurisdictional deadlines for filing a notice of appeal or initiating an original proceeding. Given the time it takes to process a request for assistance and for a lawyer to contact a litigant and determine whether he or she may be able to assist, litigants are reminded that these and all other deadlines remain their sole responsibility unless and until a lawyer-client relationship is confirmed in writing.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS: Victims of domestic violence may be eligible for pro bono assistance notwithstanding financial eligibility. Victims seeking an injunction for protection should contact their local legal aid organization for assistance (click HERE for a listing). If you are a victim seeking pro bono representation on appeal in a domestic violence matter (regardless of whether you or the other party initiated the appeal), you may contact the Pro Bono Committee directly or, if you are represented in the trial court, you may ask your trial counsel or local legal aid organization to contact the Committee on your behalf.
Domestic violence victims are encouraged to review the below resources:
The Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence provides information regarding county-by-county resources for victims, as well as information regarding the Florida Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-500-1119.
Additional information is available from The National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence, which publishes a Safety Plan for victims to complete to assist them in seeking protection.
PRO SE HANDBOOK: For pro se litigants who are not seeking pro bono assistance or who are ineligible for such assistance, the Section publishes a Pro Se Handbook, a guide to representing yourself on appeal.
Click HERE to sign up for this committee.