Friday, February 3, 2012

Dade County Bar Association Celebrates 5 Years of Free Advice Hotline

MIAMIFeb. 1, 2012—The Dade County Bar Association (DCBA) is commemorating the five-year anniversary of LegalLine of Miami-Dade, the Bar’s first monthly, free legal advice hotline for the legally under served of South Florida. Founded in February 2007 with assistance from the Miami office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, which will be making a donation to celebrate the anniversary, LegalLine has provided basic, anonymous legal advice to thousands of callers over the past five years, helping secure the DCBA The Florida Bar’s 2008 pro bono award.

The monthly hotline is staffed by volunteer attorneys from Miami-DadeCounty law firms on a rotating basis, and operates from 6-9 p.m. the first Wednesday of every month from The Legal Aid Society offices at DCBA headquarters. Derek León, a litigation partner at Morgan Lewis, brought the idea for LegalLine from a similar service in Houston, and has served as LegalLine’s program chair since inception.
DCBA Legal Line, a free legal advice monthly call-in program, continues on the First Wednesday of each month from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Residents of South Florida are invited to call the DCBA at 305-371-2220 where volunteer attorneys will answer simple legal questions, give brief legal advice or refer the call to the appropriate social service agency for further assistance.  Interested in volunteering?  Please contact Maricarmen Ortega at (305) 415-3477 or
“Especially with the Recession, we feel that LegalLine has literally served thousands of people who might not otherwise have been able to pay for legal advice or to qualify for pro bono civil legal services due to budget cuts,” said Andrea S. Hartley, president of the DCBA. “The Bar has long employed attorneys to provide free or reduced-fee Legal Aid representation to qualified low-income residents who can’t afford a private attorney,” she noted. “LegalLine is completely different, but an extension of that commitment to serve our community.”

“This is the time to say how grateful we are to all the volunteer attorneys who have answered the call to provide this valuable pro bono service over the past five years,” León said, “We couldn’t have done it without you, and we hope you will continue to serve and to recruit your colleagues so LegalLine can keep operating and growing.” 

Added Hartley,”We’d also like to take this anniversary as an opportunity to say how much we appreciate the continued support from both Derek and his firm, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.”

LegalLine answers questions across a broad range of specialties, including:  family, probate, landlord-tenant, criminal, personal injury, business, immigration and employment law.  Both callers and attorneys remain anonymous, and callers receive brief advice and referrals to other community resources, as appropriate.

Volunteers should contact Maricarmen Ortega at (305) 415-3477 or .

About the Legal Aid Society
The Legal Aid Society is the oldest legal provider in Miami Dade County and is part of the DCBA. Legal Aid provides legal representation for indigent families and their children, specializing in the areas of family law including divorce, custody, paternity, family member custody, guardianship, and representing victims of domestic violence and dependent children as their attorney ad litem. This past year budget cuts of 16% have resulted in staff reductions of 21% and a 10% decrease in the number of clients served.  Attorneys may make contributions directly to Legal Aid and meet The Florida Bar’s expectation of provided pro bono services.  

About the Dade County Bar Association

The Dade County Bar Association was incorporated in 1920 to serve the lawyers of this county, to promote the administration of justice, to enhance attorney professionalism, and to cultivate positive relationships among all members of the Bar.




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