TALLAHASSEE — The Young Lawyers Section of the Orange County Bar Association (OCBA) is being awarded with the 2019 Voluntary Bar Association Pro Bono Award, which will be will be presented during a ceremony on Feb. 7 at the Florida Supreme Court by Chief Justice Charles Canady.
The award is a way to recognize the efforts made by voluntary bar associations that demonstrated major contributions through delivering pro bono legal services to people and groups.
"The Young Lawyers Section of the OCBA has 750 members, who must be under the age of 35 or practicing law five or fewer years," a press release issued on Jan. 16 said. Those members have developed "Wills for Heroes," a legal aid program that has been planned and presented over the last two years.
The program came up of the need for important legal documents.
"The YLS recognized that there was a great need for estate planning by firefighters, emergency medical personnel, police officers, sheriff’s deputies and members of the armed services. The YLS further recognized that its members had the legal skills to fulfill this need," the release said.
With the help of a grant from the Young Lawyers Division of the Florida Bar, the program started in April 2017, with 30 volunteers helping more than 80 "heroes."
In 2018, "the second Wills for Heroes event drew more than 50 volunteers and served more than 100 people," and, for this year's event, "the Young Lawyers Section will have its hands full: There already is a waiting list of more than 200 people for the April event," the news release said.
The program is planned with months in advance, with members of the OCBA section "along with volunteers from the Orange County Bar Association’s Estate, Guardianship & Trust Committee and others, help attendees create a Last Will and Testament, a Living Will and a Durable Power of Attorney," the release said.
Witnesses, notaries, and other volunteer also participate.