Local Lawyer Receives Fellowship

Local attorney Beverly Brown receives a 2010 Equal Justice Works Fellowship and is devoted to helping children with disabilities.

Local Lawyer Receives Fellowship

Local Lawyer, Beverly Brown

Local attorney Beverly Brown receives a 2010 Equal Justice Works Fellowship and is devoted to helping children with disabilities.

The decline in the economy has federal and state budgets slashing funding for legal services, yet the need for legal advice and representation for medical care and foreclosure assistance is on the rise. The Equal Justice Works Fellowships Program was launched in 1992 to address the shortage of attorneys working on behalf of traditionally under-served populations and causes in the United States and its territories.

There are many obstacles that prevent attorneys from practicing public interest law including educational debts. Well, this program provides financial and technical support to lawyers working on innovative and effective legal projects. The two-year Fellowships offer salary and generous loan repayment assistance; a national training and leadership development program; and other forms of support during the term of the Fellowship.

This year, forty-three law students and recent graduates are answering the call to close this justice gap and are recipients of 2010 Equal Justice Works Fellowships. They will spend the next two years providing legal services to underrepresented people and causes across the country.

Beverly Brown, of Yulee, Florida graduated Florida Coastal School of Law in 2007. She has devoted her academic and working life to providing services to children with disabilities. As one of this year’s recipients, she will be advocating on behalf of parents and students to ensure that school systems, penal institutions, and community colleges provide services guaranteed under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (504) or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Beverly studied law to increase the tools she had to make a difference. “This fellowship will allow me to pursue my dreams and advocate for students with disabilities,” she said.

Her sponsor, The Florida Bar Foundation, is a 501 (c)(3) public charity and is the only statewide organization that provides funding for Legal Aid and promotes improvements in addressing the civil legal needs of the poor, has agreed to help fund the fellowship. Three Rivers Legal Services, Inc., Beverly’s host organization, a local, non-profit corporation which provides free civil legal services to low-income, eligible clients in seventeen counties throughout North Florida has agreed to permit her to maintain office space at their facility and provide her with all of the guidance and support provided for attorneys employed there. It is the cooperation of several organizations that help make this program a success. The generous donations of these hosts and sponsors are “giving back” to their communities and making a true difference in the lives of those who need qualified legal representation and advice.

Their mission is to provide quality legal assistance to the poor, abused, disabled and elderly of North Florida and to empower and educate them through preventive legal education.

The Equal Justice Works Fellowship program is the largest postgraduate legal fellowship program in the country supporting fellows working on domestic violence, homelessness, community economic development, immigration, civil rights, juvenile justice, employment rights, access to health care, consumer fraud, environmental justice and other critical issues. Equal Justice Works Fellows design projects with nonprofit organizations providing legal services in low income and underserved communities in a range of issue areas including homelessness prevention, immigration, criminal defense and Native American rights.

Equal Justice Works, a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization, was founded in 1986 by law students dedicated to working for equal justice on behalf of underserved communities and causes. Today, Equal Justice Works is the national leader in creating summer and postgraduate public interest opportunities for law students and lawyers as well as in urging more public interest programming at law schools. For more information, visit www.equaljusticeworks.org.

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