MAITLAND, Fla. – The Florida Bar Foundation invites Florida lawyers to join in its Oct. 23-29 social media campaign in recognition of the American Bar Association’s Celebrate Pro Bono Week, an annual initiative emphasizing the critical role of pro bono in increasing access to justice.
“This campaign will spotlight pro bono projects, law firms, and individual lawyers helping to ensure legal aid is accessible. We hope to raise awareness of pro bono initiatives and encourage further participation in pro bono, and we invite everyone celebrating Pro Bono Week through their firm or organization to use the hashtag and participate in the Foundation’s campaign,” said Ericka Garcia, the Foundation’s Director of Pro Bono Partnerships.
In its first year in 2015, the Foundation‘s Pro Bono Week campaign – with help from The Florida Bar’s social media – reached more than 10,000 Facebook users with stories about the impact of pro bono on the lives of Floridians. This year, the Foundation will use the campaign to recognize the pro bono efforts of Florida attorneys, mobilize community support for pro bono, recruit volunteers, and foster collaborative relationships between lawyers and their communities in order to increase access to justice statewide.
The stories shared in the campaign also will be featured on a new page within the Foundation’s website, www.TheFloridaBarFoundation.org/probono. Garcia established the page as a way of sharing information about pro bono in Florida, including initiatives in which the Foundation will be a partner.
This Pro Bono Partnerships page serves as a starting point for people looking for information about pro bono opportunities and services. It also offers in-depth articles on the people and programs in Florida making a difference through pro bono work. Success stories currently on the site include a collaboration to help unaccompanied minors navigate the immigration system, a Thunderdome Tallahassee custody case that reunited a mother and son, and an Innocence Project of Florida case that illustrates the role of volunteers, including law students, in helping exonerate the wrongly convicted.
The Foundation also has contracted with Alla Karagodin Holmes, formerly pro bono coordinating attorney for Kids in Need of Defense, to update and enhance FloridaProBono.org, a website for attorneys and law students interested in doing pro bono work. The site now has updated calendars, news and events, and will soon have a constantly updated pro bono opportunities section. It will also be redesigned to be more user-friendly.