VHFCNBA Names Two Inaugural Fellows to Advocate on Behalf of the Underprivileged
On Saturday, September 21, 2013, the Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter of the National Bar Association (VHFCNBA) launched its 2013-2014 Fellowship Program at Florida A&M University (FAMU) College of Law in Orlando, Florida.
In conjunction with its First Quarterly Meeting, VHFCNBA awarded two inaugural attorney fellowships to La-Zondra Randolph and Rosemond Cely, who will advocate on behalf of the underprivileged. VHFCNBA President Bruce Mount, Jr. expressed his excitement regarding the launch of the fellowship program, stating, “We are very grateful for the opportunity to carry out our mission of ensuring access to the justice system for the underprivileged and disadvantaged of our community.” He described the Fellowship Program as a joint initiative between VHFCNBA, the FAMU College of Law legal clinics, The Florida Legislature and Florida’s Attorney General’s Office.
The fellows will work closely with the FAMU College of Law legal clinic and will be responsible for providing services to indigent clients in the areas of Housing, Homelessness and Domestic Violence. Prior to the partnership, FAMU’s clinic was staffed by certified legal interns and other law students, who are all supervised by clinical director, Professor Ann M. Cavazos. Professor Cavazos explained that due to the current economic and housing crisis, existing legal aid and legal services offices are overloaded and unable to cover the overwhelming demand for pro-bono assistance.
The VHFCNBA fellows will provide pro-bono legal services through these three in- house clinics during three semesters of the current academic year. Fellow Randolph explained how the clinic recently prevented a client from being evicted after the client received a twenty- four-hour writ of possession. “We all worked as a team to file the emergency motion to stay writ of possession. Assisting this particular client helped the law students understand how to deal with cases where time is of the essence.”
Florida Bar President Eugene Pettis was in attendance to congratulate VHFCNBA and the FAMU College of Law legal clinics on this historical initiative, while encouraging the lawyers and law students to continue the efforts to effect positive change in underserved communities. Professor Cavazos expressed her gratitude to the VHFCNBA for choosing FAMU College of Law as the location for the inaugural year of the fellowship program.