On Jan. 30 the Florida Bar honors lawyers from all over the state for their outstanding service to clients who can’t afford legal help. Among them is the award winner from North Florida’s Second Judicial Circuit. There are scores of lawyers in Tallahassee. One of them is Robert Churchill.
“I graduated from law school in 2002,” he said. “I worked for a law firm here for 4 years defending civil cases. And since 2006 I have run my own law firm here in Tallahassee.”
By the very nature of his chosen area of practice, Churchill says many of his clients are folks of limited means.
“I happen to work in an area of law representing people of limited means who are being pursued for collection of money and also landlord/tenant issues and housing matters. So there are a lot of clients in need of those services and I also happen to be very connected to legal service organizations locally, like Legal Services of North Florida and Legal Aid Foundation, we cross paths frequently enough in representing clients in similar situations.”
And those organizations, especially Legal Services of North Florida and the Legal Aid Foundation, often ask Churchill to take on needy clients on a “pro-bono” or “no-fee” basis. Because of his ongoing devotion to these sorts of cases, this Florida Bar is awarding Robert Churchill this year’s Pro Bono Award for the Second Judicial Circuit, which comprises Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty and Wakulla counties.
“I was surprised and I was honored,” he admitted. “I was delighted to get the news certainly. So many people who do pro-bono work do it in secret. They aren’t looking for any recognition from anyone at all and that’s certainly been true of me. I’ve represented people on a pro-bono level for years and years and I guess at some point someone took note of that and the folks who submitted my application through Legal Services of North Florida noted my involvement. It was a delight to see I’d be honored with the award.”
But while happy and grateful to be acknowledged, Churchill insisted there are lots of other public-spirited attorneys around.
“There are a lot of people who are doing a lot of pro-bono work who are not recognized and are perfectly willing to do it regularly and frequently,” he insisted. “I don’t know anybody – and maybe it’s the circles that I run in – who are not providing that service.”
Still, it will be Tallahassee’s Robert Churchill who will be presented one of twenty-two Pro Bono Awards the afternoon of Thursday, January 30th during the ceremony at the Florida Supreme Court.