Florida Rural Legal Services Launches Drive to Work Initiative to Help Poor Residents Whose Driver Licenses Were Suspended or Revoked

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LAKELAND, Fla. – February 28, 2018 – Florida Rural Legal Services (FRLS) has started a new initiative to help low-income residents of South Central Florida get their driver licenses restored after they were suspended or revoked simply because they were too poor to pay financial obligations to the courts.

FRLS’s new Drive to Work Project is focusing on providing education, advice, direct representation in assisting individuals deprived of lawful transportation needed to get to and from work, medical appointments, care for sick or disabled family members, and take their children to after-school activities.

The project is funded by a  grant from Florida Bar Foundation and will pay for two full-time attorneys and one part-time legal professional who will work with low-income residents  and individuals touched by the criminal justice system residing in the 10th and 19th Judicial circuit  including Polk, Highlands, Hardee, St. Lucie, Martin, Okeechobee and Indian River Counties

Close to 91,000 Florida driver licenses were suspended for failure to pay court-ordered financial obligations in 2015-2016 alone. Florida laws suspending or revoking driver licenses for failure to pay costs and fines has a devastating impact on people with little or no ability to pay.

Through the Drive to Work Project, FRLS will work to improve economic opportunities by assisting people in obtaining affordable payment plans which will allow them to have their driver’s license restored.

FRLS will partner on the project with Southern Legal Counsel in Gainesville, with its 40 years of experience working to make positive, systemic change to achieve social, economic, racial, and environmental justice.

Florida Rural Legal Services Executive Director Resigns

Grissim Walker Appointed As Interim Executive Director

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LAKELAND, Fla. – February 19, 2018 – Florida Rural Legal Services (FRLS) is announcing that Donald Isaac has resigned from his position as the organization’s Executive Director, and the organization’s former Board member Grissim Walker has been appointed to serve as Interim Executive Director.

Mr. Isaac has devoted much of his professional legal career at FRLS, a Lakeland-based nonprofit that providing free civil legal assistance to thousands of seniors, people with disabilities, and other low-income people in many areas of the law. Mr. Isaac started out as a clerk in the organization and worked his way up to become staff attorney, senior advocacy director, deputy director, and eventually Executive Director.

“The Board thanks Mr. Isaac for his time and leadership provided to FRLS and wishes him well and only the best in his next endeavors,” said Arthur Schofield, President of FRLS Board of Directors. “Mr. Isaac worked to develop relationships and expand resources in those communities allowing FRLS to supplement its LSC funded activities. Under his leadership, FRLS has provided services to help the most vulnerable individuals and families find their path out of poverty, live independently, and contribute to making our society a better place for all; a commitment and path that will continue for years to come.”

FRLS’s free legal services will continue to operate without change, as the FRLS Board of Directors searches for candidates to fill Mr. Isaac’s position.

Mr. Walker assumes this position with a wealth of knowledge in the operation of FRLS having served on the Board since 2004. He also has years of experience in the area of civil legal assistance, having worked as a staff attorney with Gulfcoast Legal Services, Inc., from 1992 to 1996 and as an associate of Consumer Lawyers of the Suncoast, P.A., a private law firm from 2005 to 2012.  A native of Sarasota, Florida, Mr. Walker is a graduate of Duke University and Florida State University College of Law and holds a Masters of Laws in Tax from the University of Florida.

Mr. Schofield added: “The Board is confident that Mr. Walker will provide the best of leadership guidance to FRLS as the Board works to identify the next Executive Director.”