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Vision

Our vision is a justice system in which every person, regardless of their income, has equal access to legal representation and justice.

 

Mission

Our mission is to empower low income individuals, groups, and communities by providing them with access to justice through legal advice, representation, and advocacy.

 

Values

Work hard, be passionate, be determined, help others and always keep learning and improving.

 

 

 

FRLS History

Florida Rural Legal Services, Inc. was founded in 1966

Our organization makes a difference in the communities we serve because we change lives by helping people get access to justice that we all want and need.

We do this through our legal services.

Every day, our attorneys and staff work to create opportunities for the most vulnerable individuals and families to find their path out of poverty, live independently, and contribute to making our society a better place for all of us to live.

Take the time to learn how we can help you in improving your life, and how you can support our services to ensure they are available to those who need them most in the 13 counties that we serve.

 

 

 

Florida Rural Legal Services, Inc. was founded in 1966 as a private, non-profit corporation.  FRLS provides free civil legal assistance to indigent families and low income elderly people in thirteen South Central Florida counties.  FRLS also provides legal assistance to migrant workers throughout the state of Florida.

FRLS is unique in its service of farmworkers because of its rich history. The office of Economic Opportunity – the agency created by R. Sargent Shriver during the Lyndon B. Johnson administration to spearhead the War on Poverty – funded a 2 year demonstration and research project to provide legal services to farmworkers in six South Florida counties. The project was originally called the South Florida Migrant Services.

The program was extremely successful, and to this day, now as FRLS, continues to be the only legal services organization in Florida providing services to farmworkers and migrant workers throughout the state.

Today, FRLS has 7 offices and 70 staff members, including 31 attorneys. FRLS helps clients with the following types of legal problems:  Consumer, Employment, Public Benefits and Economic Stability, Housing, Elder, and Farm Worker Law.  We also provide services in Civil Rights and Family Law. Each year FRLS handles thousands of cases and continues to evolve in the quality and scope of services provided.

FRLS HISTORY OVER THE YEARS

The Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO), President Johnson’s agency which spearheaded the “War on Poverty,” funded a two year demonstration and research project to provide legal services to farmworkers in six south Florida counties. The new program, called South Florida Migrant Legal Services (SFMLS).
The creation of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) FRLS became an LSC grantee.
FRLS expands its services to Central Florida.
On December 4th, the Board of Directors voted to approve the acquisition of the first real estate ever owned by FRLS. They unanimously agreed to the purchase of a commercial building in Lakeland to be used as a new center for client services in the Tenth Judicial Circuit.
FRLS currently serves 13 counties and Farmworkers throughout the state of Florida. With 8 locations in the state, FRLS closed 6,349 cases in 2016.

FRLS LEADERSHIP

EXECUTIVE TEAM

Jaffe S. Pickett

Executive Director

Ms. Pickett will serve as Executive Director, bringing a wealth of knowledge in the operation of Legal Services, having been employed with Legal Services Alabama since 2005. Ms. Pickett served as Deputy Director of Legal Services Alabama since 2018 and as its Director of Development since 2013. Prior to those roles Ms. Pickett served as the Director of Training, Call Center Director and Director of Alabama’s first Elder Law Helpline.

Amy Burns

Deputy Director

Wanda D. Dutcher

Director of Finance & Accounting

Florida Rural Legal Services serves people living in 13 counties across Florida: Hardee, Highlands, Polk, Charlotte, Desoto, Glades, Hendry, Lee, Martin, Okeechobee, Indian River, St. Lucie and Palm Beach.

Cameron Clarke

Human Resource Director

Florida Rural Legal Services serves people living in 13 counties across Florida: Hardee, Highlands, Polk, Charlotte, Desoto, Glades, Hendry, Lee, Martin, Okeechobee, Indian River, St. Lucie and Palm Beach.

Carolyn Fabrizio

ProBono Director

Florida Rural Legal Services serves people living in 13 counties across Florida: Hardee, Highlands, Polk, Charlotte, Desoto, Glades, Hendry, Lee, Martin, Okeechobee, Indian River, St. Lucie and Palm Beach.

Rudy Chagoya

Director of Information and Technology

Rudy Chagoya has a degree in Computer Science and Master’s in Information Technology. Rudy has led FRLS IT for 17 years and continues to find innovative solutions to improve services to low income and vulnerable communities

Roberto Cruz

Advocacy Director

Florida Rural Legal Services serves people living in 13 counties across Florida: Hardee, Highlands, Polk, Charlotte, Desoto, Glades, Hendry, Lee, Martin, Okeechobee, Indian River, St. Lucie and Palm Beach.

Testimonials

Our clients recommend our work and dedication is our motto.
We take any case and turn it into a winning case.