CLEARWATER – A free legal workshop for low income people was held Nov. 4, at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church. Organized by Gulfcoast Legal Services, more than 60 clients received free legal advice on 85 different legal matters.
In what resembled musical chairs, clients went from one attorney to the next asking questions and finding answers for their legal needs.
Twenty-three local attorneys, most members of the Clearwater Bar Association, answered questions and offered counsel on a variety of areas of law, such as mortgage foreclosure, tenant rights, bankruptcy, wills and a myriad of other topics. The volunteer attorneys were: Barry Berger, Esq.; Catherine Petrovich, Esq.; Mike Faehner, Esq.; David McCrea, Esq.; Michael Ziegler, Esq.; Rebecca Graham, Esq.; Mary Lou Wagstaff, Esq.; Kimberly Todd, Esq.; Myriam Irizarry, Esq.; David Lillesand, Esq.; Jessica Lillesand, Esq.; Steve Hitchcock, Esq.; Tyler Wolas, Esq.; Michael Kenny, Esq.; Melissa Loesch, Esq.; David Futerman, Esq.; Curtis Raven, Esq.; Connie Stephens, Esq.; LeAnne Lake, Esq.; Don Crowell, Esq.; Stephanie Velasquez, Esq.; Bridget Heptner, Esq.; and Larry Sandefer, Esq.
Two paralegal students from St. Petersburg college, Rosemary Carlson and Jessica Bennett, helped with registration and directed client traffic, introducing clients to attorneys with expertise in their area of legal need.
Pastor Harvey Lawrence and Pastor William Sherman from the Upper Pinellas Ministerial Alliance welcomed the group. The Dinning Committee of Mt. Carmel, known for their hospitality, served a sandwich buffet, purchased by the Clearwater Bar Foundation.
This pro bono workshop was held in conjunction with the spirit of the Florida Bar’s Pro Bono ONE Campaign, asking attorneys across the state of Florida to assist the indigent who are not able to afford an attorney and have nowhere else to turn. Jane Helms, Pro Bono Coordinator for Gulfcoast Legal Services and a member of the Florida Pro Bono Coordinators Association, was instrumental in scheduling this workshop, one of many held in the 6th Judicial Circuit.