Guardian Ad Litem "Wheel"

FLABOTA encourages each of its chapters to take a look at the good work of the Miami Chapter, and its pro bono guardian ad litem program. We encourage each chapter's participation and the participation of your judicial circuit in this worthwhile endeavor. Miami's program provides pro bono review of minor's settlements as a service to the bench and the community. Annually, the Miami chapter evaluated more than 150 minor's settlements at no cost. In Miami, the program is administered under the leadership of Ms. Maria Harris of the Miami-Dade Administrative Office of the Court, (305) 349.7172, who has generously offered to explain the manner in which the Miami/Dade system operates.

The program works like this:

When a minor's settlement comes before the Court for evaluation, the Court contacts Ms. Harris for the name of an ABOTA member to review the settlement. Although there is some variation in the way each judge handles the appointment, the Court's judicial assistant usually contacts the selected ABOTA member for her/his consent to the appointment and then issues an order of appointment. Some judges simply issue the order. Upon accepting an appointment, the member's name falls to the bottom of the computerized list. If the member cannot accept the appointment, Ms. Harris provides the Court with the next name on the list and the Court contacts that member. The non-accepting member's name remains at the top of the list until that member accepts an appointment or declines three successive appointments at which time, the name drops to the end of the list.

Miami's circuit judges rave about the program. Miami's chapter members say nothing else engenders the good will and support of the judiciary the way this pro bono program does. If you were able to attend our Conference in 2013, you may recall the unsolicited praise for this pro bono effort from FLABOTA's Jurist of the Year, Southern District Circuit Judge Robert Scola.

For a draft letter to your chapter's members of the judiciary, please click here.