Legal Services of North Florida Awarded $481,000 to boost pro bono services
The Legal Services Corporation awarded Legal Services of North Florida a $481,386 “Pro Bono Innovation Fund” grant.
Legal Services of North Florida (LSNF) is one of 17 legal aid organizations receiving a grant. In total, LSC is awarding $5 million to support efforts to expand and improve pro bono legal services for low-income Americans.
LSC says in the face of a vast justice gap — where low-income people do not receive sufficient legal help for 92% of their civil legal problems — pro bono services are one of the approaches it advances to address the disparities in access to justice.
“Expanding pro bono and other volunteer services gives legal aid providers increased bandwidth to assist low-income Americans in civil issue areas like housing, family, employment and income maintenance, consumer debt, and natural disaster recovery,” according to the LSC.
LSNF plans to restructure its pro bono program to be integrated across its 16-county service area. This will increase both the number of clients able to receive legal help and the level of legal assistance volunteers can provide, according to the Tallahassee-based legal aid organization. With its grant, LSNF will conduct a “rigorous assessment and use the findings to efficiently integrate the pro bono program across the entire organization, improve and institute effective pro bono reporting systems, and create and implement thoughtful volunteer recruitment and recognition practices.”
LSNF will test these new approaches in an estate planning pro bono pilot project.
“LSC’s Pro Bono Innovation Fund supports grantees’ tireless efforts to expand access to legal services,” said LSC President Ron Flagg. “Pro bono volunteers are an invaluable resource for the millions of low-income Americans in need of legal aid.”
LSC is awarding these grants from its Pro Bono Innovation Fund included in its FY 2023 congressional appropriation. Since the inception of Pro Bono Innovation Fund in 2014, LSC has awarded 139 grants totaling more than $40 million. Each organization’s project involves creating solutions to persistent challenges in pro bono delivery systems or exploring new ways to implement pro bono services to reach low-income Americans with legal needs. The funds are directed to grantee projects that are replicable and scalable, and which focus on critical, unmet need, according to the LSC.