This year CABA Pro Bono Legal Services (CABA Pro Bono) celebrates its 35th anniversary as well as a record-breaking fundraising effort with $92,000 collected at this year’s events.
Its mission is to change the lives of children, individuals, and families in need through legal advocacy by providing free legal services to those who cannot otherwise afford it — regardless of race, creed, color, gender, sexual orientation or national origin.
“Since 2010, CABA Pro Bono has handled more than 12,000 cases, providing holistic legal representation to more than 200 victims of human trafficking,” stated Maria D. Garcia, president of the Cuban American Bar Association. “This year’s focus has been on increasing funding and starting our new veterans’ program. Together we are working to empower our most vulnerable members which helps strengthen the community at large.”
Some significant awards and partnership this year include:
- Awarded a $100,000 pro bono transformation grant by the Florida Bar Foundation to hire a full-time pro bono coordinator to help expand CABA Pro Bono’s diverse range of opportunities and support for lawyers, including access to CLE training and ongoing mentoring.
- Received funding from the state of Florida, an increase from the previous year, that will allow CABA Pro Bono to extend services to veterans in family law matters including child custody. It will also help victims of domestic violence and victims of trafficking children in foster care.
- Developed a partnership with The Children’s Trust and ConnectFamilias to represent immigrant children who have been abused, abandoned or neglected by their parents. The program addresses both the legal and social needs of a child.
- Received funding from the Miami Foundation Denise Moon grant, sponsored by the Office of the State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle.
It cannot be overlooked that the tremendous impact of CABA Pro Bono on the community has been due, in large part, to the hard work and commitment of CABA Pro Bono’s attorneys, staff, and its Executive Director, Lesley Mendoza. Their committed efforts have helped us reach these milestones and make CABA Pro Bono an effective agent of change in the community,” stated Frances De La Guardia, president of CABA Pro Bono’s board. Since its inception, CABA Pro Bono has recruited millions of dollars in in-kind pro bono legal services from private attorneys.