Foundation awards three Law School Civil Legal Clinic grants

The Florida Bar Foundation has awarded $220,946 in grants to fund three law school civil legal clinics through a new grant program.

“Clinics are a great way for law students to be involved in community-based civil legal assistance,” said Kate York, the Foundation’s grants program officer. “Law school clinics benefit both students and their clients; students get real-world experience advocating for and representing clients, and low-income community members receive free legal assistance.”

The Foundation’s board approved the grants in June. Funded clinics will involve law students in the provision of community-based civil legal assistance with a focus on economic development in impoverished local communities. Clinics are required to provide an in-depth educational experience in representing the poor in civil matters and to encourage law students to pursue public interest careers or make a commitment to pro bono representation of the poor.

The Florida State University College of Law received $100,000 for its clinic that will work to eliminate barriers to employment such as undocumented status, lack of housing, and lack of health care for immigrants and farmworkers. The college with collaborate with the University of Florida Levin College of Law to team teach and service counties from Madison to Alachua.

St. Thomas University School of Law’s Tax Clinic received a $50,000 grant. The clinic, run by second- and third-year students, serves low-income taxpayers and provides legal representation before the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Tax Court. Student representatives participate in public outreach, including community education presentations, particularly for those who speak English as a second language. The clinic also offers tax preparation services.

The University of Florida Levin College of Law will use its $70,946 grant to provide indigent survivors of family violence with legal representation, mental health counseling, and victim advocacy services. It is a joint program with the FSU College of Law.