The 2020 Florida Pro Bono Law School Challenge will kick off on Feb. 3, 2020. The statewide competition, now in its second year, connects Florida law students with lawyers to partner on pro bono cases from local legal aid organizations. Students and lawyers can visit www.FloridaLawSchoolChallenge.org through April 3, 2020, to pick a case. All 12 of Florida’s law schools will compete to see which can take the most cases.
“Law students were thrilled to be given an opportunity to learn from lawyers and gain practical experience with clients through the first challenge,” Claud Nelson, the Foundation’s pro bono program director, said. “And, we heard from many lawyers that they had meaningful experiences mentoring a student and giving back to their community.”
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 launched the pilot version of the competition in January 2019. More than 300 students and lawyers were matched on cases. Florida Coastal School of Law won the top honor for matching the most students with its own alumni. Florida A&M University College of Law and The Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law were runners up.
“After such a phenomenal response to our pilot, the Foundation knew we needed to continue this successful program,” Florida Bar Foundation President Hala A. Sandridge said. “It’s another unique Foundation project that has gained national attention for creative and efficient strategies that increase access to justice.”
Nelson and Eli Mattern, the Foundation’s interim director of technology and co-founder of SavvySuit, the legal tech firm that built the challenge’s online platform, will present on the challenge at Legal Services Corporation’s 2020 Innovations in Technology conference January 16.