Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

FLORIDA LAWYERS IN LIBRARIES Connecting Library Patrons to Legal Resources Patron Presentation.

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "FLORIDA LAWYERS IN LIBRARIES Connecting Library Patrons to Legal Resources Patron Presentation."— Presentation transcript:

1 FLORIDA LAWYERS IN LIBRARIES Connecting Library Patrons to Legal Resources Patron Presentation

2 Welcome Welcome to your Public Library Florida Lawyers in Libraries is a statewide program designed to connect lawyers with local public libraries and to assist library patrons in understanding the legal system. The hope is that local communities will engage in conversations about access to justice and create opportunities, such as this presentation, to expand access to justice. 2

3 What you will learn… Why access to justice is important to our community What legal resources are available in Florida and the United States How to find and choose a lawyer when you have a legal problem Tips for representing yourself in court Answer your questions about finding legal information and resources 3

4 Question and Answer Guidelines There will not be individualized legal advice given to anyone during this group presentation. We will answer general questions about legal resources, procedures and issues. 4

5 Access to Justice True or False: If I have a legal problem and cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for me? Mostly False: This is true in criminal cases where a person might be facing jail or prison time and in a few other limited instances. In most cases the court does not appoint an attorney if you cannot afford one. 5

6 Going It Alone… Due to economic and/or geographic barriers many people are trying to represent themselves in court. A single parent fights for the right to spend time with a child, a veteran denied benefits, or an elderly couple facing foreclosure because of a predatory lending mortgage they signed but never understood. None of these individuals have access to court appointed attorneys. 6

7 Do I Need an Attorney? Legal issues are often unexpected, time sensitive and important. A lawyer can help you navigate the case and the court system. Your landlord is being foreclosed upon and you have a 12 month lease. Your father died leaving you a small piece of property. Your ex refuses to return your child after their visit. Your insurance company refuses to pay for medicine prescribed by your doctor. What can you do? How can you find an attorney? 7

8 Find a Lawyer Resources in Florida How can I Find an Attorney? 8

9 – Lawyer Referral Service If you need a referral to a lawyer you can contact The Florida Bar which has a lawyer referral service. You can complete the online form or call the 800 number. 9

10 – Lawyer Referral Service Under the Florida Bar Referral Service, lawyers charge $25 for the initial half-hour office consultation. Specialty Panels The Referral Service has also established Low Fee, Elderly, AIDS Law and Disability Law Panels for clients with those needs. If you qualify for one of these specialty panels, you will receive a free initial 30-minute office consultation. 10

11 Low Income? Try You may qualify for free legal help if you meet certain income and eligibility requirements. By clicking on the Find Legal Help link you can locate the legal services program in the county in which you live. Call the program to see if they have the services and the resources to meet your needs. 11

12 Other Options – 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 – 1-888-895-7873 – 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. 12

13 Should I Represent Myself? If you dont qualify for assistance from a legal services program and you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, then it may be necessary for you to represent yourself in court. More and more people are representing themselves in court. The court will refer to you as a pro se party in your case. Pro se means that you are not represented by a lawyer. 13

14 Pro Se Resources is the place to go to find information about your legal issue and your legal rights. You will also find self-help forms, brochures, pamphlets, information by the courts and more. Click on the legal issue for a list of resources available. 14

15 Self-help brochures Know your rights pamphlets and materials Links to local legal services/legal aid offices Links to other states and national resources Links to forms and court based programs Non-English resources, including Spanish and Creole Links to social service providers Easy to use 15

16 LawHelp Interactive LawHelp Interactive is a resource that provides automated self-help forms. You answer 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 16

17 Example of If you have an eviction problem, to the right is an example of the self- help resources that are available to you at In addition, you can find information about the courts and legal referrals. 17

18 Online Court Self-Help Resources Florida State Courts website has a Self-Help section on the Home Page. 18

19 Online Court Self-Help Resources 19

20 How the Forms Work This page gives pro se litigants information on representing themselves and on completing the forms and finding the right court. 20

21 Court Costs If you are starting a case, you will be required to pay a court filing fee unless you qualify for a waiver of the filing fee. To qualify for a waiver of the court filing fee you must submit an Application for Determination of Civil Indigent Status. The Clerk will determine if you meet the criteria for a waiver of the filing fee. If the Clerk determines you are not eligible, you may ask the Judge to review your application. You do not have to pay a fee to respond in a case that someone else has brought against you. 21

22 Need 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. 22

23 This is the first page of the Florida organizations listed on the website. Over 62 providers are listed in Florida. 23

24 Are you a Veteran or in the Military and Need Legal Help? 24

25 can help find legal assistance including civil legal assistance, military JAG office, Veterans Affairs and Lawyer Referral services. 25

26 Disability Rights Florida Any Floridian with a disability- related issue is eligible to receive Disability Rights Florida services. 26

27 is a national website that provides state specific information for survivors of domestic violence. 27

28 List of Self-Help Centers in Florida Click on the Circuit that covers the county you live in and you will be directed to the self-help center, link or telephone number that covers that circuit court system. 28

29 Suggestions to help you prepare for court and present your case effectively. How to Represent Yourself 29

30 Be Prepared Bring papers, documents, contracts that will help you present your claim or defend against the claim that someone else has brought. Bring the witnesses that you will need to help you present your claim. Make extra copies of the papers. One for the Judge and one for the other side. Bring photographs or actual objects if they are related to your case. 30

31 Be On Time If you are not in court when your case if called and the other side is present, you may lose. 31

32 Be Courteous and Respectful Turn your cell phone off. Wait your turn to speak. The judge will want to hear from both parties. Do not interrupt the judge or the other party. Make a good impression; be courteous and respectful to everyone, including the person on the other side. 32

33 Dress Appropriately Courts are very traditional. Remove your hat or cap while you are in the courtroom or the judges office. Wear business attire or nice, clean casual clothes and shoes. 33

34 Speak loudly and clearly Many people are nervous in court and tend to speak softly. It is important to speak loud enough so that the judge and the person on the other side can hear you and can hear you correctly. 34

35 If You Can Not Attend the Hearing If an emergency arises and you cannot attend the hearing, you should call the clerk of court office or the judges assistant and explain your problem and ask for an extension/continuance. The judge will decide if you can reschedule your hearing. If you know well in advance that you can not attend then you should ask for a continuance in writing and send it to the clerks office. You should send a copy to the person on the other side of your case. The judge will decide if your case can be rescheduled. 35

36 Talking to the Judge You cannot talk to the judge without all the people involved in the case present. If you want to make sure the judge has some information, you should put it in writing, send it to the Clerk of Courts office and send a copy to the person on the other side. The judge is not allowed to give you legal advice. Court staff or staff in the Clerks office are also not allowed to give you advice about your case. 36

37 Questions 37

38 This presentation was created in September 2013 for the Florida Lawyers in Libraries program during Celebrate Pro Bono Week 2013. 2425 Torreya Drive Tallahassee, Florida 32303 38

Download ppt "FLORIDA LAWYERS IN LIBRARIES Connecting Library Patrons to Legal Resources Patron Presentation."

Similar presentations

Ads by Google