(FORT MYERS, Fla.) – The number of low-income people, immigrants, and domestic violence survivors who need legal services is staggering, according to a recent LSC survey.
While individuals facing criminal charges typically have the right to legal representation if they lack the means to afford it, the same guarantee does not extend to civil matters. This discrepancy persists even in cases where the consequences can be life-altering, encompassing issues such as eviction, foreclosure, employment termination, discrimination, access to healthcare, domestic violence, child custody, and divorce.
This week, FRLS acknowledged distinguished pro bono attorneys at the 19th Circuit Bench Bar Conference, which honored the exceptional commitment of several private attorneys who have made significant contributions to underserved residents on the Treasure Coast.
"We extend our heartfelt gratitude to these remarkable attorneys for their selfless dedication to our pro bono mission," said Jaffe Pickett, executive director, chief executive officer at FRLS. "Their efforts exemplify the spirit of service and commitment to providing legal assistance to underserved communities in Florida. We look forward to continuing our partnership with these outstanding individuals."
This year's awardees include:
Lisa Barnes: Attorney Lisa Barnes embarked on her pro bono journey with FRLS back in 1999, and her dedication has remained unwavering throughout the years. Ms. Barnes has passionately handled an array of pro bono cases, spanning from divorce proceedings to adult and child guardianship, and relative custody cases. Her dedication and unwavering support have been instrumental in advancing FRLS's pro bono mission.
Melinda Jacobs: Attorney Melinda Jacobs joined the FRLS pro bono program in 2017 and has consistently demonstrated her commitment to FRLS's mission. She has made a significant impact in the realm of estate planning, assisting clients in need with Last wills and testaments, advance directives, powers of attorneys, and probate matters. Her dedication to providing essential legal services to those in need is commendable.
Jason Berger: Attorney Jason Berger commenced his pro bono work with FRLS in 2011 and has exhibited a remarkable level of dedication ever since. Over the years, he has taken on an astounding 108 pro bono matters, covering areas such as employment assistance, last wills and testaments, and family law assistance and clinics. Mr. Berger's extraordinary commitment speaks for itself and underscores his invaluable contribution to FRLS's pro bono mission.
Carl Domino: Last but certainly not least, Carl Domino has demonstrated his unwavering commitment to the pro bono mission by providing his legal expertise in both the FTP and WPB offices of FRLS. Mr. Domino has taken on numerous cases, primarily focusing on family law, and his dedication has shone through by assisting in nine pro bono matters last year and continuing to work on ten this year. FRLS is deeply appreciative of his tireless efforts in helping clients in dire need.
The Pro Bono Program award ceremony at the 19th Circuit Bench Bar Conference provided an opportunity to acknowledge these outstanding attorneys for their exceptional service and dedication to ensuring access to justice for those who may not otherwise have it.