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FLORIDA LAWYERS IN LIBRARIES Celebrate Pro Bono Week October 20 – 26, 2013 Library Staff Presentation.

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Presentation on theme: "FLORIDA LAWYERS IN LIBRARIES Celebrate Pro Bono Week October 20 – 26, 2013 Library Staff Presentation."— Presentation transcript:

1 FLORIDA LAWYERS IN LIBRARIES Celebrate Pro Bono Week October 20 – 26, 2013 Library Staff Presentation

2 Goals of This Presentation Increase awareness of free, online access to justice resources available to librarians Help librarians access those resources to assist patrons with legal needs Help librarians find legal assistance in the local community Answer questions about unauthorized practice of law 2

3 Access to Justice It is the daily; it is the small; it is the cumulative injuries of people that we are here to protect....If we are able to keep our democracy, there must be one commandment: THOU SHALT NOT RATION JUSTICE. - Learned Hand The Access to Justice movement is concerned with: Promoting access Ensuring fairness Reducing barriers (economic, geographic, linguistic) Increasing the range of self-help available Increasing efficiency 3

4 Librarians Role in Providing Access to the Justice System Libraries are the first stop for those seeking information. Libraries are a trusted and welcoming institution. The librarys doors are guaranteed to be open to all. The provision of accurate information. Libraries have a special E-Government focus that attracts people seeking to meet certain legal needs. By providing access to legal information, librarians can advance the administration of justice. 4

5 Nothing New for Libraries Libraries already provide information and referral services Libraries serve the entire community Librarians understand neutrality Librarians are skilled in identifying authoritative information and services Librarians are technologically proficient Libraries provide access to computers and the internet. 5

6 The Survey Says… According to a recent survey by, 99.3% of public libraries have free internet service, 64.5 % of public libraries report they are the only free provider of internet access in their community and 44% of people living below the poverty line used computers and the internet at their public library. 6

7 Legal Referral Network Public Libraries Legal Aid Programs Online Directories Lawyer Referral Services Government Agencies Hotlines Court Based Programs Community Clinics Self-Help Centers 7

8 What to Do with Referral Tools? Help library patrons learn about and access services Add referral links to your websites and online resources Incorporate referral tools into your digital reference services Set up a legal resource materials section Participate in Celebrate Pro Bono Week and Law Day each year 8

9 Connecting Patrons with Legal Information Online Legal Information and Self-Help Resources 9

10 is a system of statewide websites. 10

11 Links to Sites in All States 11

12 Types of Resources Available Fact Sheets Booklets Self-help forms Links to other providers Referral listings Court information 12

13 Multilingual Information Many Florida resources are available in Spanish and Creole. 13

14 Online Court Self-Help Resources Florida State Courts website has a Self-Help section on the Home Page. 14

15 Online Court Self-Help Resources 15

16 How the Forms Work This page gives pro se litigants information on representing themselves and on completing the forms and finding the right court. 16

17 List of Self-Help Centers in Florida Click on the Circuit that covers the county and the patron will be directed to the self-help center, link or telephone number that covers that circuit court system. 17

18 Resources for the public and consumers can be found here. 18

19 – For the Public The Consumer Information link on The Florida Bars website will direct you to consumer information on subjects from adoption to wills. The public can also find some forms on this page. The consumer information is available in Spanish. 19

20 – Lawyer Referral Service If a patron needs a referral to a lawyer, The Florida Bar has a lawyer referral service. Patrons can complete the online form or call the 800 number. 20

21 National Resources The National Center for State Courts has a Self- Representation Guide. The Guide has links to general information and then has State links for specific information. 21

22 National Center for State Courts Here is a look at the Florida Resources at the National Center for State Courts website. 22

23 Other National Resources Georgetown Law Library Research Guides. Guides are available by state and substantive area. Here is a look at some of the Florida resources. 23

24 Other national resources Law Library of Congress. Here is a look at the Florida page. It includes statutes, codes, and links to self-help sites. 24

25 Immigration Help This is a national directory of nonprofit immigration legal services providers. Click on the appropriate state to see a list of resources in the state. 25

26 This is the first page of the Florida organizations listed on the website. Over 62 providers are listed in Florida. 26

27 Legal Help for Military 27

28 can help find legal assistance including civil legal assistance, military JAG office, Veterans Affairs and Lawyer Referral services. 28

29 Disability Rights Florida Any Floridian with a disability- related issue is eligible to receive Disability Rights Florida services. 29

30 is a national website that provides state specific information for survivors of domestic violence. 30

31 LawHelp Interactive LawHelp Interactive is a resource that provides automated self-help forms. A patron answers a series of questions and LawHelp Interactive (LHI) produces forms that can be filed in court or otherwise used to help solve a legal problem. Florida LawHelp Interactive forms can be found at 31

32 Legal Hotlines in Florida Senior Legal Helpline - The Senior Legal Helpline provides free legal advice and brief services by telephone to eligible Florida residents age 60 and older, for civil (not criminal) legal problems. The Senior Legal Helpline – – also provides solutions to seniors to help them resolve their legal problems, makes referrals to state and local regulatory agencies and, when it is determined that court representation is necessary, helps seniors find legal providers in their communities. Eligible callers are scheduled for a free telephone consultation with an attorney or paralegal. Most callers will receive answers to their legal questions during the initial telephone appointment. Clients may also qualify for referrals to providers who offer free legal services in the clients local communities. These providers work in partnership with the Senior Legal Helpline and the Department of Elder Affairs to ensure that low-income and other vulnerable elderly Floridians have equal access to legal remedies. 32

33 Other Helplines in Florida The Domestic Violence Legal Statewide Hotline Ext. 3 provides legal assistance on the telephone to victims of domestic violence in Florida. Callers dial the statewide domestic violence hotline and push Extension 3, and they are automatically connected to staff who will take initial information from the caller to be provided to the hotline attorney. An attorney is available to return calls to clients and to provide basic legal advice and referral to local legal and social service resources, including the client's local domestic violence center. The Hotline attorney cannot represent the clients in court or submit documents for them. 33

34 Helplines Continued Florida Legal Services Prescription Drug Helpline is a statewide, toll-free helpline which provides assistance to Medicaid and low-income Medicare beneficiaries whose necessary medications have been denied. The services include assistance relating to prior authorization requirements, assistance to patients and physicians with acquiring an immediate, temporary supply of the denied medication, representation by an attorney at a fair hearing, etc. 34

35 Helplines in Florida Legal Services of North Florida operates a telephone legal advice hotline. To apply for service call The hotline is available to those living in the panhandle service area. Community Legal Services of North Florida – Go to this link helpline/ to find the call in number for the Florida counties that this program covers. helpline/ 35

36 A Guide for Florida Public Libraries Legal Reference and the Unauthorized Practice of Law 36

37 Legal Information vs. Legal Advice The line between legal information and legal advice may not always be clear, but there are differences between the two. Anyone can give legal information or sell legal information, but only a licensed lawyer can give legal advice. Legal information is not based on a specific set of facts; whereas legal advice provided by a licensed lawyer applies the law to specific circumstances. 37

38 Legal Information vs. Legal Advice Facts about the law; or Showing patrons statutes, cases or rules but not explaining what they mean; or Teaching legal research techniques; or Helping to indentify broad definitions of legal words or phrases; or Showing patrons how to access cases but not interpreting cases. Recommend a specific legal form, explaining how to fill in the form, or assisting the patron to fill out a form; or Offer an opinion on how a patrons legal problem should be handled; or Interpreting the law; or Writing a brief, will or drafting a legal document; or Interpreting a legal document from a court or an attorney Legal InformationLegal Advice 38

39 Legal lnformation vs. Legal Advice Legal Information - Librarians should answer questions that call for factual information Legal Advice - Librarians should not answer questions that call for an opinion about what a patron should do. vs. 39

40 Librarian dos and donts Promote effective and open access to legal information Provide resources on statutes, cases, rules and court procedure and rules Provide access to legal forms and instructions Provide options, resources and referrals Allow patrons to come to their own conclusions Dont interpret sources of law Dont advise a patron on the appropriate legal course of action Dont recommend a specific lawyer Dont promise any outcome DoDont 40

41 Questions 41

42 Contact For further information about this presentation, please contact: Kathy Grunewald, Florida Legal Services at , This presentation was created in September 2013 for Florida Lawyers in Libraries program during Celebrate Pro Bono Week

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