THANK YOU FOR JOINING US IN TALLAHASSEE
AND MAKING PUERTO RICO DAY 2018 A GREAT SUCCESS!
Special thanks to all legislators and cabinet members who met with us to address the issues affecting the Puerto Rican community, and thanks to our wonderful sponsors. Photo gallery of PR Day 2018 coming soon!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: February 16, 2018
TIME: 10:00 A.M. (EST)
PLACE: SIMULTANEOUS BROADCAST at 10200 N.W. 25th St., Miami, FL 33172
and at 6900 S. Orange Blossom Trail Orlando, FL 32809
CALLED BY: LEGAL SERVICES CLINIC OF THE PUERTO RICAN BAR ASSOCIATION, INC.
WHAT: Announcing the formation and launching of a non-profit law firm certified by the Florida Supreme Court as a legal services provider and qualified to hire displaced attorneys licensed in Puerto Rico to service clients in Florida courts under the tutelage of the clinic’s attorneys, who are Florida licensed.
BACKGROUND: Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and left its mark on Florida, as waves of Puerto Ricans fled the island for a new home in Florida. An estimated 300,000 U.S. citizens left the island and most of these citizens will make Florida their permanent home. While this wave is being addressed by the Florida Legislature, the U.S. Congress, FEMA, and other agencies, thecitizens of Florida have joined the call to action.
The Puerto Rican Bar Association of Florida promptly responded, after recognizing that thousands of these U.S. citizens arriving are indigent and have a plethora of legal problems. In formulating its plan of action, the Puerto Rican Bar Association also acknowledged that such legal problems are taxing the already meager resources of traditional legal services organizations and public defenders. The Legal Clinic of the Puerto Rican Bar Association intends to provide bilingual and multi-culturally competent legal assistance to these newly arrived U.S. citizens from Puerto Rico that have now become Floridians.
However, the Puerto Rican Bar Association also realized that the indigent were not the only group of individuals in distress. Dozens of licensed attorneys from Puerto Rico have similarly been dislodged, and with the destruction of the Puerto Rican economy, they had no choice but to migrate to Florida and other places. Thus, the Puerto Rican Bar Association of Florida petitioned the Florida Supreme Court to certify our legal services law firm under Chapter 13 of the Florida Rules Regulating the Florida Bar, which allows the clinic to utilize attorneys licensed in Puerto Rico (but not yet in Florida) to represent indigent persons in Florida courts while they prepare to take the Florida bar examination. This unique service allows the legal clinic to solve two problems at once.
THANKS: We wish to thank the various people and organizations who led the way and are providing the means to start up this venture:
· The Knight Puerto Rico Fund for Hurricane Relocation at The Miami Foundation, whose generous grant of $50,000 has allowed us to open an office in Miami Dade County.
· The Hispanic Federation of Florida, whose generous contribution includes providing office space, desks, chairs, computers, and technical support for our office in Orange County, in addition to a $25,000 grant for staff hires.
· Casa/La Iniciativa and its President Jimmy Torres Velez, for providing the technical assistance and funding for our website and video productions.
· Attorney Yesenia Collazo, Esq., a seasoned South Florida attorney and longtime member of the Puerto Rican Bar Association, who will act as supervising attorney in the Miami-Dade County office of the Legal Clinic of the Puerto Rican Bar Association.
· Attorney Hector Cuprill, Jr., Esq., a former public defender and an experienced private practice attorney, who will be the supervising attorney in the Orange County office of the Legal Clinic of the Puerto Rican Bar Association.
· Puerto Rican Bar Association of Florida’s President Marie E. Masson, Esq., for taking up the task of running a small, but dynamic bar association dedicated to making a difference in our community and for her assistance and commitment to this venture.
· To all the members of the Puerto Rican Bar Association and volunteers who so graciously continue to give their time to this worthy project.
· To the new Board Members of the Legal Clinic of the Puerto Rican Bar Association, who have pledged their support of this project. They are: Christopher Torres, Esq., who is a partner at Greenberg Traurig; and Michael T. Gibson, Esq., who is the president of The Gibson Law Firm.
Questions about the Legal Clinic of the Puerto Rican Bar Association should be directed to Anthony L. Suarez, Esq., or Hector Cuprill, Jr., Esq. at (407) 841-7373 in Orlando, and to Yesenia Collazo, Esq., at (305) 477-6401 in Miami. The general public will soon be able to obtain further information on the Legal Clinic of the PRBA’s website, which is under construction and its publication will be forthcoming.
October 2, 2017
Orlando, FL 32817
REAL GOOD NEWS! THE PUERTO RICAN BAR ASSOC. OF FL ANNOUNCES ITS “S.T.A.R.” PROGRAM
True to their commitment to service, justice, and equality, the members of the Puerto Rican Bar Association of Florida have embarked on a mission to assist in the education of Puerto Rico’s future leadership in the wake of hurricane Maria. The PRBAF has announced the creation of the Student Temporary Assistance and Relocation (S.T.A.R.) Program, which will aim at providing scholarships to law students who temporarily relocate to the mainland U.S. to continue their legal education. The Bar is also asking the legal community to step up and assist this group of students who will require much more than just financial support; they will also need our cultural and moral support. We ask that you please consider making a tax deductible donation to the Puerto Rican Bar Association of Florida’s Scholarship Fund through PayPal in the Hurricane Relief Efforts tab above. For a full copy of this Press Release, click here.