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FAQs: Florida Pro Bono Law School Competition

What is the Florida Pro Bono Law School Competition?

A core part of the Foundation’s mission is to promote public service among lawyers by making it an integral part of the law school experience. The Foundation has launched a statewide pro bono competition among Florida law schools. Our goal is to connect students with alumni to partner on a pro bono case from a legal aid organization. Powered by FloridaProBonoMatters.org, students will use a new, cutting-edge interactive platform to pick a pro bono case and be matched with an alumni mentor.

When does the competition run?

The competition begins January 7, 2019, and ends May 10, 2019.

Why should I participate?

The competition will:

  • satisfy students’ pro bono requirements,
  • satisfy lawyers’ professional obligation for pro bono,
  • allow students to network with alumni,
  • introduce students to a local legal aid organization,
  • boost school pride, and
  • provide students with opportunities to be mentored.

I’m a law student. How do I take a pro bono case?

  1. First, navigate to the platform (link will be available in early January 2019).
  2. Choose “student”, then choose your law school.
  3. On the next page, choose the case you’d like to take by clicking “Interested?” on the case card, and filling out and submitting the interest form.
  4. You have an option to share your participation on social media, or email a link to the case you’ve picked.
  5. Once your case has been picked by an alumni mentor, you’ll be notified via email. You’ll receive your alumni mentor’s contact information and further instructions.
  6. The legal aid organization that hosts the case will contact you and your mentor.

I’m an alum. How do I connect with a law student?

  1. First, navigate to the platform (link will be available in early January 2019).
  2. Choose “alumni”, then choose your law school. (If you did not attend a Florida law school, you can still participate! Just choose the law school that you’d like to support.)
  3. On the next page, you’ll be shown cases awaiting a mentor. Click “Interested?” on a case card, and fill out and submit your interest form.
    *If no cases are available, you may choose a case from another school, or request to be notified when a case from your school becomes available.
  4. You have an option to share your participation on social media.
  5. You and your student will receive an email that shares your and your student’s contact information and further instructions.
  6. The legal aid organization that hosts the case will contact you and your student.

What if I have matched with a student/alum, but have not been contacted by the legal aid program?

Legal aid programs work to place multiple pro bono cases on a timely basis. If it has been more than a week since you matched and you’ve not heard from the program, please call Claud Nelson at 407-960-7000.

I didn’t attend a Florida law school. Can I still mentor a student?

Of course! Just choose the Florida law school that you’d like to support (they will earn 1 point for your participation).

Can I take a case that’s not in my local area?

Absolutely! The beauty of FloridaProBonoMatters.org is that you can view cases from all over the state. As long as you are willing to travel or work remotely, you can take a case outside of your local area.

How will my school get credit?

Each student who takes a case will earn one point for their school. Each alumni who takes a case will earn one point for their school. If a UF Law student and a UF Law alum match, UF Law earns two points. If a Stetson student takes a case and is mentored by a FAMU alum, each school will earn one point.

What awards will be given?

Winners will be recognized at the Florida Bar Annual Convention in June. Three trophies will be presented to:

  • the law school with the most student participation,
  • the law school with the most alumni participation, and
  • the law school with the most total points.

Scores will be weighted based on each law school’s enrollment and alumni numbers.

I haven’t been matched with an alumni mentor yet, but I received a notification that my case is no longer available. What happened?

Since the Law School Challenge is powered by FloridaProBonoMatters.org, cases will remain on the site until a lawyer submits an interest form. In the interest of serving legal aid clients as soon as possible, the case will go to the first lawyer who submits a form; if that lawyer is your alumni mentor, you’ll be matched and the case is yours. If that lawyer is not participating in the challenge, the case will go to him or her and not be available to you any longer. If you receive a notification that your case is unavailable, please choose a new one (link available in January 2019).

What is Florida Pro Bono Matters?

Florida Pro Bono Matters (www.FloridaProBonoMatters.org) is an interactive website that enables attorneys to search for pro bono cases that suit their interests and submit an interest form to the legal aid or pro bono program that posted the case. The site is the first in the country to automatically gather and display available pro bono matters from multiple programs via their case management systems.  Click here for the Florida Pro Bono Matters FAQs.

I need more help. Who can I talk to?

If you need additional assistance, please contact the Foundation’s pro bono program director, Claud Nelson, at 407-960-7000, or cbnelson@flabarfndn.org.

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