Monthly Archives: February 2012

Family Law Clinic Partnership with Family Court Services

In past semesters, the Family Law Clinic had a partnership with Jacksonville Area Legal Aid (JALA) wherein clinic students assisted with client intake (interviewing clients, directing them, assisting with family law forms, etc.). This arrangement was mutually beneficial in that it provided assistance to JALA in accommodating the numerous family law clients while affording the Family Law Clinicians with the opportunity to hone their interviewing and counseling skills. Unfortunately, due to budget issues, JALA currently does not take many family cases and thus stopped hosting intake. Instead they refer family cases to us and to other pro bono attorneys in the community.
In Fall 2011, the family court contacted Florida Coastal’ s Family Law Clinic seeking assistance in its Family Court Services division. Family Court Services is a division of the family court which provides self-represented (pro se) litigants with an accessible and coordinated means of resolving their family law cases. Family Court Services interviews all persons who are seeking pro se assistance with family law matters and assists them by: determining what type of legal relief is appropriate and then providing information about available court approved forms that may be used by the litigant; providing case information entered in the court file of the litigant; providing definitions of legal terminology; and providing general information about court process, practice, and procedures; as well as other needed assistance.
Due to budget shortfalls, Family Court Services lost personnel and thus developed a need in the area of intake (which involves dealing with walk-in pro se family law litigants, interviewing them, pointing them in the right direction, and assisting with family law forms). Faced with the prospect of curtailing its hours or closing the office on certain days of the week, the family court contacted our legal clinic and requested our assistance. Since Fall 2011, Family Clinicians have been assisting with intake at Family Court Services. Clinicians who have participated in this partnership have been exposed to all types of family law and Family law-related issues and have gained extensive experience with interviewing and counseling, issue spotting and problem solving.

The partnership has been extremely beneficial for all involved because it has afforded our clinicians with valuable legal experience while allowing the office of Family Court Services to continue serving pro se family litigants at its current capacity. The staff at family court services has been extremely complementary of the quality of work provided by our students that a new for-credit externship was created and two family law clinicians (Shachar Spiegel and Nequosha Anderson) have even been extended opportunities to work directly with the Family Court Services Magistrates!

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Immigrant Rights Clinic students represent immigrants in court and help them learn about their rights

Preparing an Asylum case for a Haitian client

 

 

Immigrant Rights Clinic students conduct “Know Your Rights” presentations to immigrant populations. This month the clinic will assist JALA attorney ( Coastal Grad) Karen Winston in conducting a Know Your Rights Presentation to Haitian’s detained in ICE detention centers. Karen’s project focuses on immigrant women in detention.

Follow Karen’s Blog:

http://www.equaljusticeworks.org/new/blog/one-year-later

For more information about country conditions in Haiti  for women see http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/2011/0831/Haitian-women-fight-back-against-abuses

 

Below find a link to Spanish language news coverage on Last year’s Know Your Rights Presentation to the Latino Community of NE Florida. The clip features Coastal Grad Carlos Martin and 3L Andrea Reyes.

http://www.firstcoastnews.com/video/default.aspx?bctid=672131048001

 

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In the Library this Week (February 6th-12th)

-Researching for your ALWR Workshops;
-Secondary Sources Workshops;
-LPI Mandatory Basic Lexis Trainings;
-LPI Mandatory Basic Westlaw Trainings.

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Consumer Law Clinic Helping Servicemembers

The Consumer Law Clinic accepted two new cases last week where we will be helping an active duty and a retired servicemember.  One new client was sold a car that had been completely wrecked.  The client did not know this and took out a loan and paid a substantial sum of money for a car that now has a negative value.  When he attempted to trade in the car, he learned that the car had been in a wreck and declared a total loss.  The Clinic is now investigating who rebuilt the car and attempted to pass it off as a usable car. We will also sue the dealer who sold him the car and attempt to get his money back so that he can satisfy the loan. 

The other new case is for a client who was sued for a debt while he was deployed.  There is a federal law governing the rights of deployed servicemembers, and this law says that a creditor cannot get a judgment against a servicemember while he is deployed.  The debt collector in this action filed an affidavit with the court tesitfying that the client was not in the military and was not currently deployed when in fact he was.  The client did not find out about the debt collector’s judgment until it started garnishing his wages a few months ago to collect on the judgment. We will be asking the court to set aside the judgment and allow us to litigate the merits of the case and perhaps file a counterclaim against the debt collector for filing a false affidavit.

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criminal defense clinic is running at full speed

22 cases on the calendar one day; 15 on another.  Receiving 6 new cases the day before court.  Finding the “P-farm”; and mastering the jail.  Setting 30 day motions; setting hearings; setting trials. . .all while learning the lingo, learning the local rules, learning the law, learning how to juggle, learning to exhale.

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