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U.S. District Court for Southern Fla. Seeks Pro Bono Panelists

By William Peacock, Esq. on April 04, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Got some spare time on your hands? Or perhaps, do you have some fresh associates that could use some "real world" practice beyond what they get from reviewing your work?

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida is seeking a few good men and women to represent the indigent. And though the Volunteer Lawyers Program (VLP) has been shuttered, that doesn't mean the court has given up.

On the contrary, Chief Judge Federico A. Moreno just sent out a memo [PDF] describing the new Pro Bono Panel project, urging members of the local legal community to get involved.

From VLP to PBP

Judge Moreno's memo explains the rationale behind the closing of the VLP:

In recent times the expenses of operating a program like the VLP simply have become disproportionately high when compared to the number of pro se cases it could service. Because the program was funded from funds collected through a portion of attorney admission fees from members of our Bar and pro hac vice fees, my colleagues and I felt a special responsibility to insure that those monies would be used as wisely as possible.

What's the new strategy? Direct management of pro se and pro bono services, with the money formerly earmarked for the VLP going towards volunteer attorneys' expenses.

Get On the List

Even if you aren't free to help at the moment, if you're a member of the community, you should be on the list. Judge Moreno's memo explains that joining the Pro Bono Panel carries no obligations, and will simply mean that you'll hear about opportunities for you, or other attorneys (think: fresh associates), to take cases.

Think of it as joining a big email list. And should you find yourself with some free time, or should you have a bored associate sitting around watching Beyoncé videos on YouTube, maybe one of the opportunities will fit into either your, or your associate's, schedule.

You can sign up for the Pro Bono Panel, and check out available cases, on the court's website.

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