News / Events

Practicing in this New Normal

Message from Karen J. Ladis, Executive Director

As the new school year begins, it is hard to comprehend that we are still in the midst of this pandemic and still working remotely and practicing social distancing. I am grateful to our dedicated attorneys who handle family law, domestic violence, guardianship, housing, bankruptcy, children’s and housing cases for residents in need, and am amazed by the ability, through technology, for our offices to be able to continue to serve our community in need. Thank you to Board of Governor Steve Davis and The Florida Bar for including Dade Legal Aid and Put Something Back Pro Bono Project in this historic Town Hall Meeting. 
 
Best things of this new normal:
Despite these challenging times, thanks to the leadership of the Bar, Courts, Staff and Volunteers, we are able to provide streamlined services to hundreds of additional clients who no longer have the burden of applying in person, coming to one of our offices, or spending an entire day downtown for a hearing that is now virtual. 
 
Worst things- it is difficult for many attorneys, even isolating, not seeing colleagues, Staff, Court personnel and judges in person on a daily basis. This is a big adjustment since our attorneys are used to being in court every day, but we, like everyone else, are adapting to the new norm, zoom hearings and virtual webinars, workshops, and events to stay connected with each other. 
 
For example, this summer’s tenth annual “Getting a Head Start on Pro Bono for Summer Associates” sponsored by Hogan Lovells pivoted from a large scale in person event to a virtual game of a Pro Bono Jeopardy, with approximately 80 attendees including law students from local firms watching the competition and learning about the many opportunities to get involved in Put Something Back. 
 
In terms of Put Something Back Pro Bono Project, the best thing that has happened is the increase in volunteer attorneys since the pandemic- over 200 new attorneys have signed up to take cases which has enhanced our ability to refer cases more expeditiously. 
 
The worst thing that has happened is the huge spike in Housing, Domestic Violence and Family Law cases at Legal Aid and at Put Something Back. If you are able to take a new pro bono case please click here. Thank you to our many stakeholders, firm leaders and foundations for your support and commitment to help change the lives of disenfranchised residents. We are truly blessed to work with so many outstanding partners to address the many vital legal needs. Thank you!