Rainbow Justice, a program that trains private attorneys to provide free civil legal services to members of the LGBTQ+ community, was initiated in early 2020 by the Legal Aid Programs in Broward County. The robust legal training curriculum is offered to attorneys in exchange for their commitment to volunteer at any of our upcoming legal clinics for income-eligible LGBTQ+ Broward residents.
The first Rainbow Justice Project legal clinic incorporated an overview of common housing legal questions, followed by an opportunity for 20 individuals to receive free advice from a pro bono attorney for their specific housing issue.
The clinic was hosted by our community partner TransSOCIAL on March 4. The date and partner were selected with a nod to the International Transgender Day of Visibility celebrated annually on March 31. In addition to celebrating the transgender community, the International Transgender Day of Visibility seeks to highlight and bring awareness to the challenges that this community continues to face. Our clinic shared those goals, with specific awareness within the legal community.
We were thrilled to assist members of the LGBTQ+ community, however, perhaps the biggest impact came from training pro bono attorneys who provided the services.
James Paul, Corporate Counsel with BANG ENERGY and a volunteer at the March 4 clinic, was enthusiastic about some of the skills learned during the training, as well as the opportunity to provide housing advice to someone in need. “The training I received was eye opening. I had no idea about some of the challenges faced by members of the LGBTQ community, let alone how to best help a client who might be navigating those challenges daily,” explained Mr. Paul. “I am a firm believer in taking pro bono cases, and now I believe I am better equipped to provide the very best legal advice to an LGBTQ client. In addition, I also have gained insight that I expect to apply to my daily life.”
By providing training and tools to attorneys like James Paul, we are fostering open dialogue between pro bono attorneys and LGBTQ+ individuals. We look forward to continuing to bring awareness to attorneys so that they can better serve their LGBTQ+ clients and perhaps bring a better understanding to our community at large.