LEGAL SERVICES OF GREATER MIAMI, INC. (LSGMI) 2014 PAI PLAN Applicant Number

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1 LEGAL SERVICES OF GREATER MIAMI, INC. (LSGMI) 2014 PAI PLAN Applicant Number Priority Legal Needs of Eligible Clients Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc. conducted a legal needs assessment in the Fall of Priority legal needs identified included: protection of legal rights associated with public, subsidized and private rental housing: protection and defense of home ownership; creation and protection of affordable housing opportunities; promotion of community economic development; protection of legal rights associated with income, employment and public assistance; access to health care; protection of legal rights of vulnerable populations including the elderly, disabled, children, veterans, low wage workers, people with AIDS and people who are homeless; and in Monroe County protection against domestic violence, representation in dissolution of marriage and related family law matters. LSGMI adopted 2014 priorities consistent with the most pressing legal needs of the eligible clients in its service area. These priorities include: Protect rights of tenants; Protect rights of homeowners; Preserve and create affordable housing and promote economic development; Protect rights of low wage workers; Promote access to health care; Promote access to government benefits; Protect rights of consumers; Promote safety and stability for families; Protect rights of children and youth; Protect rights of seniors; Protect rights of veterans and their families; Promote a high quality and comprehensive legal services delivery system; and Respond to emergency legal needs. 2. The Pro Bono Delivery Mechanism is Responsive to the Priority Needs of Eligible Clients Pro bono attorneys are recruited, trained and supported to allow them to accept a variety of cases to help meet the priority legal needs of the eligible client community. Pro bono attorneys with tax expertise accept referrals from the LSGMI Community Tax Clinic. Attorneys with a wide range of specialties are recruited to staff the Small Claims Court Clinic. Private contract attorneys provide representation in family and domestic violence cases in Monroe County. 3. Pro Bono Overview

2 Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc. refers clients to pro bono attorneys to provide legal services to supplement LSGMI staff representation in priority areas and in areas in which LSGMI cannot provide assistance due to limited resources. Clients access pro bono attorneys by receiving a referral from a member of the LSGMI intake staff, or from the Director of Client Services. In Miami-Dade County, the Put Something Back Project (PSB), a joint pro bono project of the 11 th Judicial Circuit and the Dade County Bar Association, is primarily responsible for the recruitment, retention, training, mentoring and recognition of pro bono attorneys, the assignment of clients to pro bono attorneys, and monitoring of cases accepted by pro bono attorneys. LSGMI has established procedures to routinely refer clients to PSB for assignment to a pro bono attorney. The Cuban American Bar Association (CABA) Pro Bono Project also recruits its members to provide pro bono services to low income clients. As appropriate, LSGMI refers individual clients to CABA for pro bono representation. As a general rule, LSGMI refers clients who speak Spanish or who live in close proximity to the volunteer attorney s office. Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc. recruits individual law firms to provide pro bono services in areas not routinely handled by volunteer attorneys recruited by the Put Something Back Project or the Cuban American Bar Association. This includes cases with short deadlines, complex facts, or that require sophisticated legal strategies to resolve. LSGMI directly refers clients to individual firms recruited by LSGMI. Monroe County has an extremely small number of private attorneys who are available to provide pro bono services. Therefore LSGMI contracts with private attorneys at a reduced rate to represent clients in family law and domestic violence cases. LSGMI and PSB co-sponsor a twice monthly Small Claims Court Clinic which serves about 500 clients a year. LSGMI intake staff give clients a Clinic appointment after being screened for eligibility. LSGMI also sponsors the Community Tax Clinic for which it recruits pro bono volunteer attorneys who serve about 50 clients a year. Clients meet with an LSGMI tax attorney to determine eligibility for services and an assessment whether to refer the client to a pro bono attorney or represent the client in-house. 4. Recruitment and Retention To recruit law firms, the LSGMI Executive Director, Director of Client Services and staff

3 attorneys make presentations to individual law firms to educate them about the needs of the low income community, the benefits of pro bono service, and how they can become pro bono volunteers. To support recruitment and ensure that necessary substantive expertise is developed, LSGMI trains lawyers who volunteer to support specific LSGMI projects. LSGMI also provides pro bono attorneys with written substantive law materials, and makes available LSGMI staff members as mentors and co-counsel. LSGMI also provides malpractice coverage for all pro bono attorneys and pays for certain court costs. LSGMI provides recognition at special events, in the LSGMI newsletter and website, and in bar association newsletters. 5. Staffing Responsibility for private attorney involvement activities is spread across LSGMI s staff and is overseen by the Director of Client Services. In Miami-Dade County, all LSGMI intake paralegals screen and refer clients to PSB intake sites. Under the direction of the Advocacy Directors and Senior Attorneys, appropriate cases are identified and referred to pro bono programs and pro bono law firms. An LSGMI staff attorney, with the assistance of the intake paralegals, coordinates the Small Claims Court Clinic in the Main Office. The Small Claims Cout Clinic utilizes approximately six pro bono attorneys at each Clinic. The Community Tax Clinic Director, under the supervision of an Advocacy Director, coordinates the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic which refers clients to a panel of approximately 20 volunteer pro bono attorneys recruited by LSGMI. The Director of Client Services coordinates referral of Monroe County clients to the private contract attorneys. 6. Quality Control The Director of Client Services, Directing Attorney, an Advocacy Director, Senior Attorney, or Community Tax Clinic Director, review all cases prior to referral to a pro bono firm or attorney to ensure the referral is appropriate. To monitor cases, pro bono attorneys complete periodic case updates, and a case closing form indicating the final resolution which the Director of Client Services reviews. LSGMI attorneys are available to mentor pro bono attorneys. To ensure client satisfaction, clients are advised at the time of initial referral to a pro bono attorney of the right to file a grievance if they are not satisfied with the pro bono attorney s service. Clients are also asked to complete client satisfaction surveys. The Director of Client Services contacts all clients expressing dissatisfaction in an effort to resolve problems. When a tax case is closed due to lack of contact by

4 the client with the pro bono attorney, LSGMI contacts the client to inquire whether the client continues to require the service of a lawyer, and to provide additional legal services if necessary. 7. Consultation The 2014 PAI Plan was presented to all local bar associations within the LSGMI service area and to all of the director of agencies which appoint LSGMI client board members. No objections or comments to the Plan were received.

5 (Exhibit 1) LEGAL SERVICES OF GREATER MIAMI, INC. SUMMARY OF 2014 PRIVATE BAR INVOLVEMENT PROJECTS 1. Law Firm Pro Bono: Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc. (LSGMI) recruits law firms to provide pro bono representation in specialized and complex cases by making presentations to firm members, providing training and technical assistance, and facilitating referrals through firms pro bono coordinators. 2. Dade County Put Something Back Project (PSB): PSB, a joint project of the Dade County Bar Association and the 11 th Judicial Circuit, recruits private attorneys to handle civil cases on a pro bono basis. LSGMI staff refer clients to PSB intake sites, and in some cases screen and refer clients directly to PSB staff for referral to a pro bono attorney. 3. Small Claims Court Clinic: This is a joint project of PSB and LSGMI. Private attorneys and LSGMI attorneys jointly conduct bi-monthly clinics in LSGMI s main office to provide clients with individual consultations on how to proceed without an attorney in Small Claims Court. LSGMI reviews all advice provided by volunteer attorneys and develops and prints necessary materials. 4. Low Income Taxpayer Clinic: LSGMI recruits attorneys interested in providing legal representation to low income taxpayers to resolve a variety of controversies involving the Internal Revenue Service. Pro bono volunteers conduct intake, provide advice and participate in community education presentations. As appropriate, clients are referred to a pro bono attorney for ongoing representation or are represented by an LSGMI staff attorney. 5. Cuban American Bar Association Pro Bono Project: This Project assists clients with civil legal matters and refers clients to a panel of pro bono attorneys. LSGMI staff screen and refer clients to the Project. 6. Pro Bono Roundtable: LSGMI collaborates with this group of law firm pro bono coordinators seeking to increase pro bono legal services in Miami-Dade County.

6 7. Circuit Pro Bono Committee: The goal of the Circuit Pro Bono Committee is to support the pro bono efforts of the nonprofit legal services providers, the law firms and solo practitioners, the voluntary bar associations, and the law school clinical programs, and their coordination of the delivery of those services. The Chief Judge reactivated the Committee in response to requests by The Florida Bar s Standing Committee on Pro Bono and the Florida Bar Foundation. The LSGMI Director of Client Services is a member of the Committee. 8. Contract Services: Contract lawyers provide free legal services to eligible clients. LSGMI contracts with the private lawyers at a reduced rate.

7 (Exhibit 2) LEGAL SERVICES OF GREATER MIAMI, INC. SERVICES PROVIDED TO AND BY PRO BONO ATTORNEYS Training: LSGMI attorneys train private attorneys who agree to accept pro bono referrals on a variety of legal topics of concern to low income clients. Private attorneys also train LSGMI attorneys in areas such as trial skills. Co-Counseling/Technical Assistance: LSGMI attorneys co-counsel cases and provide technical assistance to private attorneys who handle cases for eligible clients on a pro bono basis in a variety of specialized poverty law areas. Private attorneys also co-counsel cases and provide technical assistance to LSGMI attorneys in complex litigation and in legal areas not within the current expertise of LSGMI attorneys. Bar Association Participation: LSGMI attorneys participate in national, state and local bar associations as well as state and local community organizations with a legal focus on expanding the participation of private attorneys in the delivery of legal services to poor people. Presentations: LSGMI attorneys and staff members give presentations to private law firms regarding the professional responsibility to provide pro bono, the types of cases LSGMI handles, and the opportunities for pro bono representation of low-income clients.

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