Pro bono services provided to Army reservists

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Attorneys and law students assist Army reservists.
04/11/2011
by Kathy Para
JBA Pro Bono Committee Chair

Recently, area pro bono attorneys combined forces to offer pro bono legal services to our men and women in uniform.

Florida Coastal School of Law, Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and area pro bono attorneys visited the Burpee U.S. Army Reserve Center in Jacksonville from 9 a.m.-noon April 2 to offer free legal services to Army reservists, specifically, the creation of advance directive documents: Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Surrogate Designation, Designation of Preneed Guardian, a Living Will and a Simple Will. The goal was to enable reservists to leave the event with a fully executed set of these legal documents. Each reservist had an appointment with an attorney/law student team and was given ample time to understand the purpose of each document and consider the responsibilities of the designees. Many reservists also were able to use the opportunity to receive other legal advice. Military reservists must deploy with short notice. The preparation time to leave families and then report to remote locations throughout the world is limited. The services provided April 2 will help to minimize the stress of deployment for reservists and family members by helping them organize their affairs prior to departure dates. In addition, by planning ahead, these reservists helped to protect their rights and made informed decisions about their health care, property and family in the event of their own incapacity or death. These documents will help ensure that the plans and choices of these reservists will be carried out in the case of an emergency. During the event, pro bono attorneys were teamed up with Florida Coastal School of Law students. The attorneys provided the legal expertise, while the law students assisted by helping to create, print and execute the legal documents. Each team had a laptop and a thumb drive with all of the document templates. After creating the documents for a specific reservist, the student printed the documents. The attorney and reservist made a final review and revisions, if needed, and then the documents were executed. Each of the 13 reservists left the event with a packet of fully executed advance planning documents. Jacksonville Area Legal Aid would like to thank the following individuals for their enthusiasm, dedication and commitment in serving some of Northeast Florida’s military reservists. The attorneys in attendance included Bill Schmidt, Katherine Naugle, Mike Jorgensen, Martin Sack Jr. and Crystal Johnson Reeves. The law students included Travis Spencer, Jineane McMinn, Jason Kemp, Danielle Vanover, Dixie Lee Ellis, Megan Senade, Jae Hee Kim, Lina Khan, Rolando Rodriguez and Perry Bindelglass. In addition, special thanks are extended to Courtney Brown and Gordon Morgan, who provided notary and administrative services during the event. The support of our military personnel is of critical importance and the individuals who made this event the success that it was truly went above and beyond the call of duty. Attorneys interested in participating in future Military Services Wills and Advance Directives Pro Bono Projects or other pro bono opportunities in the Fourth Judicial Circuit are encouraged to contact Kathy Para, chair, JBA Pro Bono Committee, [email protected] 356-8371, ext. 363.