FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: Jan. 14, 2009
CONTACT: Dorohn A. Frazier, The Florida Bar
DADE COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION TO RECEIVE STATEWIDE PRO BONO AWARD
The Dade County Bar Association has been selected as the recipient of the 2009 Voluntary Bar Association Pro Bono Award. The award, which recognizes a Florida voluntary bar that has demonstrated a significant contribution in the delivery of legal services to individuals or groups on a pro bono basis, will be presented by Chief Justice Peggy A. Quince at a Jan. 29 ceremony at the Florida Supreme Court.
The DCBA was established in the early 1900s and has a long history of providing much-needed free legal services to the underserved, indigent population. In 1966, it won the American Bar Association's "Award of Excellence" for the most outstanding local bar nationwide.
The association has more than 4,500 members. It operates several agencies to inform, educate and assist for the public good, including the Put Something Back Pro Bono Project, the Legal Aid Society and the Young Lawyers section. In 2008, Put Something Back provided 17,730 hours of pro-bono service to help the poor with issues such as bankruptcy, immigration, probate and real estate and Guardian ad Litem representation. Legal Aid provided thousands of hours of assistance in the areas of divorce, custody, visitation, domestic violence, foster teen advocacy, housing and benefits. The DCBA has also launched such successful projects as eMentoring, the Bankruptcy Assistance Clinic and Wills on Wheels.
Since the fall of 2006, the DCBA has run a nonprofit organization, LegalLine of Miami-Dade, South Florida's only anonymous, free legal help-line. LegalLine operates the first Wednesday of every month and enlists the support of more than 200 DCBA members from 20 private law firms. They provide free, basic legal advice and referrals in English and Spanish. LegalLine is a benefit not only to the community; the program is credited with inspiring higher rates of participation by lawyers in pro bono and community service. It instills and reinforces the habit of pro bono work in the youngest and most promising attorneys early in their careers.
According to The Dade County Bar Association's stated mission, "Over the course of the century, the bar has established and run committees and organizations designed to foster growth of the practice, enhance legal education, mentor young lawyers, and provide assistance and legal guidance for members of the public."
The awards ceremony, which also honors individual, law firm, young lawyer and judicial pro bono efforts, is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009, at 3:30 p.m. at the Florida Supreme Court. In addition, the ceremony will be broadcast live, unless pre-empted, on the Florida Channel (check local cable listings for the channel number) and on the Internet at http://wfsu.org/gavel2gavel