Sunday, April 27, 2014

Community Services Committee: Please Do Not Forget The Defenseless And The Oppressed

By Lara LaVoie

“Child abuse casts a shadow the length of a lifetime.” ― Henry Ward

A Kid’s Place in Brandon is a state-of-the-art facility that houses about 75 children (up to age 17) at any one time. The children living there have suffered abuse, neglect, and abandonment and have been in horrible situations that many of us could never imagine. To help these amazing children feel like kids for a day, the Community Services Committee (CSC), in conjunction with A Kid’s Place, will be throwing them their very own Pirate Party on Saturday, May 3. 

To make this event a success, CSC needs any amount of donations that can be spared. However, by the time you read this article, the Pirate Party may have already taken place. Please consider helping these wonderful kids in any way you can! They really appreciate your support and generosity. For more information about A Kid’s Place, please visit:


“I will never reject, from any consideration personal to myself, the cause of the defenseless or oppressed, or delay anyone’s cause for lucre or malice. So help me God.” ― Oath of Admission to The Florida Bar 

This promise included in the attorney’s oath taken by every Florida lawyer is often forgotten in the busyness of our lives and careers. As Chief Justice Peggy A. Quince has reminded us, “Pro bono legal services provided free to the poor are part of an overall obligation attorneys assume when they take the oath of attorney.” I have to admit that I have not fulfilled this obligation to the best of my ability, and every year that I look at my Florida Bar fee statement, I am starkly reminded that I have no meaningful hours to enter in the pro bono section. Sure, I have spent some significant time helping friends and family members with legal issues and paperwork, but I don’t think I have truly done what we are asked to do when we take the oath.

Fortunately, being part of the CSC has enabled me to not only serve the community as a volunteer in non-legal ways, but it has also allowed me to take advantage of the opportunity to engage in meaningful pro bono work. By the time this article is published, the CSC will have undertaken its first pro bono project for this year in conjunction with Bay Area Legal Services. We hope that this is the first of many pro bono projects that we can participate in as a group to fulfill this professional obligation. Great ideas and volunteers are welcome!

For more information about joining the CSC, or to volunteer, please contact CSC Chairs Lisa Esposito, (813) 223-6037 or, or Lara LaVoie, (813) 638-1357 or Thank you in advance for your help and support!