"Upon taking the oath at the beginning of a career in law each attorney makes a promise to 'never reject the cause of the defenseless or oppressed.' By raising our hand and taking that oath we make a commitment which I believe must be taken seriously. Those words were put in that pledge because they represent what is fair and just and they were intended to ensure that even those who could not afford a lawyer would not be denied justice. Despite our best attempts, our system of law is difficult to navigate without a lawyer. If you add to that the unique challenges of people who can’t afford a lawyer the level of difficulty is significantly increased. I believe leading by example is the charge of every judge, and in that spirit I would challenge each of my fellow jurists to encourage attorneys to do pro bono work. It harkens back to the canons we swore to uphold: 'we will promote the fair administration of justice.' Encouraging lawyers to represent those who cannot afford a lawyer is the essence of that charge.”
- Judge William A. Van Nortwick Jr., First District Court of Appeal
Chair, Florida Bar Standing Committee on Pro Bono
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