Legal Aid Foundation of Tallahassee Bar Association, Inc.
301 South Monroe Street Suite 108
Tallahassee FL 32301
Contact Information
Address 301 South Monroe Street Suite 108
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Telephone (850) 222-3292 2
E-mail annemunson@tallahasseebar.org
Web and Social Media
Donate to this Orgs Endowment Fund at Community Foundation http://www.cfnf.org/index.cfm?p=ways-to-give
Volunteer Lawyer and Client
At A Glance
Organization DBA
Legal Aid Foundation
LAF
Legal Aid Tallahassee
LAFTBA
LAF Tallahassee
Organization's type of tax exempt status Public Supported Charity
EIN Number 59-1236357
Year of Incorporation 1968
Financial Summary
 
 
Projected Revenue $149,495.00
Projected Expenses $162,495.00
Mission Statement
The Legal Aid Foundation provides civil legal representation and assistance in Leon County to people in need through volunteers and supporters. Established 46 years ago by the Tallahassee Bar, we help lawyers with a passion for equal justice to serve our community. Through their service, the Legal Aid Foundation has helped citizens in desperate situations find legal solutions, allowing them to keep homes, stabilize families, and resolve other overwhelming problems.
Needs Statement
1. Program/Volunteer Management Staffing: Our volunteer coordinator currently serves 35 hours/week, seeking lawyer volunteers and matching them with clients needing assistance. Over the year, the Thunderdome Tallahassee program has become a unique tool to increase volunteers, decrease client wait time, and garner new publicity in the full community for what impact volunteer lawyers have on families in need and equal access to justice. In order to maximize the power of this role. LAF seeks to make this a full time position, estimated at $40,000 in payroll and benefits. 
 
2.   Operational funding: LAF pays $12,600 in professional fees for services our small staff cannot provide: computer support, CPA fees (a 990/audit is required to seek many grants), and accountant fees. With traditional funder support dwindling, LAF is seeking new ways to support these outsourced costs, all essential to our work to serve clients and volunteers.
Impact Statement
Over 2013-2014, LAF accomplishments include:
 
1. Through the help of volunteer lawyers and staff, nearly 800 men and women received legal help to increase safety and stability in their homes, families, and livelihoods.
 
2. Facing a growing need for family law volunteers, the Legal Aid Foundation of the Tallahassee Bar Association partnered with legal/community leaders to create Thunderdome Tallahassee. Over 9 months of education, experienced lawyers mentor those handling pro bono cases in practice and professionalism. This innovative model has helped the Legal Aid Foundation to recruit/develop more volunteers, serve more clients, garner new donors/sponsors, and receive widespread publicity, such as the Tallahassee Democrat and The Florida Bar News.
 
3. Requested by the 2nd Judicial Court Family Law Judges, the Pro Se Program has become a major resource to help clients representing themselves in a family law case. Some did not meet pro bono income qualifications but need urgent assistance at a low cost, and some low-income clients could not wait for a pro bono lawyer.
 
4. In the Pro Bono program, volunteer lawyers represent clients in civil matters. Last year, lawyers donated 3560 hours and closed 311 cases, providing over $800,000 in free legal services to low-income citizens and families in Leon County.
 
5. Legal Aid hosted our first public Family Law Clinic, offering guidance to the public on family law issues and procedures.
 
6. Increased our volunteer coordinator position to 35 hours/week, allowing the Foundation to serve clients more quickly and to increase volunteer participation.
 
Top goals for the current year:
 
1. Implement the 2nd class of Thunderdome Tallahasee, a family law education and leadership program for young lawyers, to increase free legal help for low-income families and develop networked community leaders understanding the impact of pro bono service. After development and a successful launch, we plan to offer this program model to other pro bono programs in the state of Florida.
 
2. Implement a Thunderdome Tallahassee alumni program, increasing volunteer lawyers available for family law cases, our most challenging need for service.
 
3. Improve and document the creation and implementation of Thunderdome Tallahassee, for the purposes of offering to all Florida legal aid programs.
 
4. Implement a quarterly volunteer orientation, to allow new and returning volunteers a full understanding of ways they can assist in supporting equal access to the law through the Legal Aid Foundation.
Background Statement
In a low-income family, basic survival depends on the ability to stay in a home, to secure food and other necessities, and to provide a safe and stable environment for children. Families with challenges in these areas may be torn apart or driven deeper into poverty, with children often suffering the most. The Legal Aid Foundation was founded over 45 years ago for Tallahassee Bar members to assist low-income Leon County citizens with their civil legal needs through pro bono legal service. Today, we serve any local lawyer desiring to volunteer their time to a low-income families need for civil legal help.
 
LAF assists most types of civil cases to residents of Leon County or those in the Second Judicial Circuit with a Leon County Case:
  • family (including adoption, dissolution, child support, establishing and modifying parenting schedules, guardianship, child support modification, paternity)
  • landlord/tenant
  • real property
  • employment issues
  • wills
  • social security
  • SSI
  • discrimination
  • consumer issues, etc.  
Current clients receive help from the Legal Aid Foundation through two programs. The Pro Se Program provides assistance to individuals representing themselves in a family law case. This program served approximately 360 clients last year. In the Pro Bono Program, lawyers represent clients on a volunteer basis in civil matters, approximately 90% of which are family law matters. In 2013, volunteer lawyers donated 3560 hours and closed 311 cases, providing over $800,000 in free legal services to low-income citizens and families in Leon County. 
Service Categories
Legal Services
Areas of Service
Areas Served
Areas
Leon
In order to qualify for free Legal Aid Foundation assistance through a volunteer lawyer, a client must be a Leon County resident. If needed, we also help Second Judicial Circuit residents with a Leon County case. 
Board Chair Statement
From Sid C. Bigham, III
Immediate Past Board President, Legal Aid Foundation of the Tallahassee Bar Association
When I became President of LAF in March of 2013, my fellow board members and I were faced with a number of challenges—significant funding cuts due to the economic downturn, the unexpected vacancy in our Executive Director position, and a looming reduction in volunteerism.
I am extremely proud of our board, our staff, the Tallahassee Bar Association (TBA) and our other community supporters for helping us to meet and overcome the worst of these difficult challenges, and I look forward to seeing the LAF continue to thrive and serve its crucial mission: to provide legal services to needy individuals and families in the Leon County area facing imminent crises that can only be averted by providing access to the justice system.
LAF has evolved to meet its charge through two programs: (1) the pro bono program, providing free legal services for those who qualify under Florida law and (2) the pro se program, “bridging the gap” with out-of-court counseling and form preparation assistance for non-qualifying individuals who still cannot afford needed legal help.  LAF’s delivery model is extremely cost-efficient, but it can only work with basic financing and strong volunteer participation.
The Great Recession took a toll on LAF’s financial resources, and, when TBA eliminated its “mandatory pro bono” requirement in early 2013, LAF suffered a one-two punch that threatened its continued existence.
The board and I acted swiftly to face these issues by bringing in several young attorneys as new board members providing LAF with fresh energy. Then, Anne Munson joined as LAF’s new executive director. Anne has done an outstanding job for LAF, obtaining new financial support from the TBA and others and designing new programs to reinvigorate our volunteer pool.
Our most exciting new program, Thunderdome Tallahassee, began with the induction of its inaugural class in 2014.  This program is designed to familiarize young lawyers with the nuances of family law practice to establish foundational courtroom experience that will gain them the confidence needed to take family law cases on a pro bono basis in the future.
After orientation by experienced family law practitioners, each class member is assigned a pro bono family law case to complete over the course of the program.  Members meet on a regular basis with each other and with family law mentors to overcome the challenges presented by each member’s unique case, and ultimately, to bring each case to a successful conclusion.
The Thunderdome program concept has been employed with great success around the nation, in places like Chicago and Boston, to reinvigorate pro bono volunteerism while providing young lawyers with resume building credentials and skills that will last throughout their careers.
 
I am dedicating my time and financial support to the Legal Aid Foundation because I believe in what we offer to the community, and in how civil legal aid affects lives far beyond the cases we handle. Will you join me with your support? 
CEO Statement/Executive Director Statement
The Legal Aid Foundation is unique in that we have no staff lawyers. Our lawyers are volunteers, offering their own time, resources, and knowledge with no expectation of pay or recovery of court costs. 
 
One of our volunteers put it best, why the Legal Aid Foundation is so important to the community: “The phrase ‘civil legal aid for low-income citizens’ seems so distant. But when a legal resolution results in food on the table, a decent roof over someone’s head, enough child support to buy clothes and school supplies… you name it, these basic needs are what is at stake in a legal aid case.”
 
With the advent of the Thunderdome Tallahassee program, we have increased our volunteers and clients served, decreased client wait time, and our wait list is the shortest it has ever been. 
 
Description

Started in 2011 at the request of the 2nd Judicial Court Family Law Judges, the Pro Se Program was established to give advice and assist clients with filling out Florida Supreme Court certified family law forms. The Pro Se Program offers assistance to individuals representing themselves in a family law case. This program served approximately 360 clients last year.

This program provides needed assistance to clients who would not financially qualify for LAF, but needed urgent legal assistance at a low cost, or for low-income family law clients who cannot afford, time-wise, to wait for pro bono representation. The Pro Se program has given clients the opportunity to understand the legal concepts in their paperwork, as well as complete the required paperwork in a timely fashion in order to meet summons deadlines.
 
 
Budget $12,000.00
Category Crime & Legal, General/Other Administration of Justice
Population Served Adults, Families, Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent
Program Success Monitored By Clients complete forms within 1-3 weeks and submit them to the Clerk of the Courts.
Examples of Program Success
We recently helped Audrey, a grandmother concerned about her 4-year-old granddaughter, gain custody of Ruby Rose. Though she works full time, without family law forms assistance, Audrey could not have navigated the system alone. Today, she is caring for Ruby Rose in a safe, secure home.
 
Here’s what Audrey told us:
 
"The best word I can find to describe my life now is “daunting”. The process of legally gaining custody was daunting. Dealing with the heartbreak that your child is in the throes of mental illness or the clutches of drugs is daunting. Dealing with a child who is grieving their pain is daunting. Getting back into the routine of dinner, homework, bath and bed in the space of two hours is daunting. Paying for childcare is daunting. There are social services available, friends and family to help for most of these daunting tasks, but there is very little help for processing through the legalities of grandparents raising children. I am grateful to be able to take care of my grandchild and truly appreciate the wonderful help I received from the Legal Aid Foundation."
Description

The Legal Aid Foundation continues to sponsor the Legal Aid Guardian Program, providing a guardian for the children in family law cases (a demand created when the State of Florida Guardian Ad Litem Program eliminated advocacy services for children in family law cases not involving dependency). This program is fundamental in assisting the complexities of custody/visitation disputes for both parents and children. The GAL program is an asset to ensure that the best interests of the children are being promoted in these family law cases.

Budget $0.00
Category Crime & Legal, General/Other Administration of Justice
Population Served Families, Children and Youth (0 - 19 years),
Program Success Monitored By The Guardian Ad Litem Program success and nature is monitored by activity reports sent back to us quarterly through our participating volunteers. 
Description

Partnership with the Florida State University Public Law Interest Center and the FSU College of Law – continuation of working with and coordinating family law pro bono cases with law students and supervising attorney professors. This program not only provides a great service to many LAF clients, but also affords many law students the opportunity to gain first hand legal experience in legal research, client representation and client interaction under the supervision of attorney professors.

Budget $0.00
Category Crime & Legal, General/Other Administration of Justice
Population Served Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent, Adults, Families
Program Success Monitored By The success of the FSU Law Partnership is measured through the continued participation of FSU law students.
Description
In the Pro Bono Program, lawyers represent clients on a volunteer basis in civil matters, approximately 90% of which are family law matters. In 2013, volunteer lawyers donated 3,560 hours and closed 311 cases, providing over $800,000 in free legal services to low-income citizens and families in Leon County. Recent accomplishments include implementing new online tools and resources to serve volunteers and supporters.
 
This overarching program, especially due to staffing and overhead costs, takes up the bulk of the Legal Aid Foundation budget. 
Budget $98,000.00
Category Crime & Legal, General/Other Legal Services
Population Served Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent, Adults, Families
Short Term Success TBD
Long term Success TBD
Program Success Monitored By The program's success and nature is monitored by activity reports sent back to us quarterly through our participating volunteers. 
Examples of Program Success
Once, Kristina Benton had been separated from her son, who was exposed to a meth lab and living in filth at her estranged husband’s home. Now, 25 hours of free legal help later that involved going to court, Benton has full custody of her 8-year-old son, described as happy at home and enrolled in a new school.
“I didn’t know where to go, what to do, who to turn to. And they helped me from beginning to end. I was thinking I was on a waiting list, and he said, ‘No, I’ve got your case.’ I about fell out of my chair.”
Benton walked into the TBA’s Legal Aid office, asking for help in a child visitation modification. Because of some false accusations, the child had been placed with her estranged husband, but he did not provide proper care. Living in a tent inside a filthy house, the child was exposed to a meth lab. His hair was coming out in patches, because he had an untreated ringworm infection on his head and had broken out in a rash. The boy complained he wasn’t given enough baths, and he had to go to school dirty.
Munson called McAlarney, a volunteer attorney who is also in the new Thunderdome Tallahassee family law education, mentoring, service and leadership program. McAlarney said he was honored to take Benton’s case.
 
"We had to go up against one of the biggest lawyers in town, and we were able to push back," McAlarney said. "At this point in my legal career, there has been nothing more beautiful than to help reunite a mother and her child."
Description
Thunderdome Tallahassee is our major new initiative offering volunteer education, mentoring, and leadership program specific to family law pro bono service. Facing a growing need for family law volunteers, we partnered with legal/community leaders to create Thunderdome Tallahassee. Over 9 months of education, experienced lawyers mentor those handling pro bono family law cases in practice and professionalism. This innovative model has helped the Legal Aid Foundation to recruit/develop more volunteers, serve more clients, garner new donors/sponsors, and receive widespread publicity, such as the Tallahassee Democrat, The Florida Bar News, and the Florida Bar Family Law Section Commentator.
You can see links to these stories and more at http://www.legalaidtallahassee.org/thunderdome-tallahassee/
Budget $33,000.00
Category Crime & Legal, General/Other Legal Services
Population Served Families, Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent, Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Short Term Success
Low-income families in Leon County will receive volunteer legal help within weeks of a request, rather than months.
 
Current year Thunderdome Tallahassee class members will help 20-40 families each year with pro bono family law representation.
 
20-25 lawyers each year will receive family law education, mentoring, and community leadership training.
Long term Success
LAF estimates nearly 1500 families need family law assistance each year, needing legal solutions to increase the safety and stability of the home. 
 
Success for this program entails:
 
Low-income families in Leon County will receive volunteer legal help within weeks of a request, rather than months.
 
Current year Thunderdome Tallahassee class members will help 20-40 families each year with pro bono family law representation. Alumni will help another 20-60 families each year, increasing over time as classes complete.
 
20-25 lawyers each year will receive family law education, mentoring, and community leadership training.
 
Over time, LAF will exponentially increase our pool of volunteers and supporters.
Program Success Monitored By
Program success is monitored by:
 
Case assignment, progress, and closure reports 
 
Individual class attendance records
 
Post-class evaluations 
Examples of Program Success
Within 1 week of class orientation, 18 clients seeking family law legal help were assigned to volunteer lawyers. 
 
Incoming cases over the past 3 months have been assigned within 2-3 weeks, rather than 3-6 months.
 
Class attendance is consistently at 93-95%.
 
Class evaluations have consistently shown value to the participants and satisfaction with instructors. 
 
 
Program Comments
CEO Statement/Executive Director/Board Comments
Our most exciting new program, Thunderdome Tallahassee, began in 2014 with the induction of its inaugural class, 21 lawyers and 13 mentors representing over 30 firms and state departments.  This program is designed to familiarize young lawyers with the nuances of family law practice to establish foundational courtroom experience that will gain them the confidence needed to take family law cases on a pro bono basis in the future.
 
After orientation by experienced family law practitioners each class member is assigned a pro bono family law case to complete over the course of the program.  Members meet on a regular basis with each other and with family law mentors to overcome the challenges presented by each member’s unique case, and ultimately, to bring each case to a successful conclusion.
 
The Thunderdome program concept has been employed with great success around the nation, in places like Chicago and Boston, to reinvigorate pro bono volunteerism while providing young lawyers with resume building credentials and skills that will last throughout their careers.
 
Thanks to Leadership Tallahassee, the Tallahassee Bar Association, and the Young Lawyers' Section of the Tallahassee Bar for their support in developing and promoting this exciting new program. We have received requests from as far away as Portland about replicating the program to meet needs for family law volunteer lawyers.
Board Chair
Board Chair Will Hall
Company Affiliation State Attorney
Term Mar 2014 to Apr 2015
Email hallw@leoncountyfl.gov
Board Members
NameAffiliation
Lynwood F. Arnold Jr.Arnold Law
Caroline Arrant Prime Meridian Bank
Sid C. Bigham, III Ausley & McMullen, P.A
Christopher Busch Busch & Kelley PA
Carrol Cherry Office of the Attorney General
Robert Cohen Division of Administrative Hearings
Jami Coleman Viera Williams, PA
Will Hall State Attorney's Office
Lew Killian Berger Singerman
Elizabeth "Buff" Miller Florida Department of Financial Services
Toby Norris Fournier, Norris & Wagner, PL
Tom Powell Powell & Mack
Brittany Rhodaback Office of the Attorney General
Linje Rivers Florida Department of Financial Services
Tom Schulte Judkins, Simpson, High & Schulte
Lindsey Spires FSU Law Student
Harriet Williams Williams Law Group
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 4
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 13
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 10
Female 7
Governance
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 75%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? No
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 60%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 11
Risk Management Provisions
Commercial General Liability
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Darby Scott
Term Start Sept 2015
Email darby@tallahasseebar.org
CEO/Executive Director Current Compensation 61000
Experience
Anne Munson has a Masters of Education in Higher Education Adminstration and Counseling, and is a Certified Nonprofit Consultant. Over her 20 year career, she has served in a variety of roles and fields: 
 
Nonprofit administration 
Volunteer recruitment, management, and appreciation
Marketing and branding
Membership recruitment and retention
Adult education, training, and certification 
Small business ownership
Sponsorship recruitment and recognition
Conference and event planning
College student development and counseling 
Higher education administration 
Staff
Full Time Staff 3
Part Time Staff 1
Volunteers 250
Contractors 1
Retention Rate 100%
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
NonManagement Formal Evaluation N/A
Non Management Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
Plans & Policies
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Under Development
Management Succession Plan? Under Development
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
Collaborations
Legal Aid actively seeks new partnerships with legal and community resources helpful to our clients. For instance, we now include Refuge House and 2-1-1 Big Bend contact information in our client intake process, and include their staff in twice-yearly meetings to discuss Legal Aid clients and programs.
 
We also partnered with the Leon County Clerk of the Courts to offer a new Family Law Clinic to the public, to explain common processes and online resources.
 
In a new and exciting collaboration, we partnered with Florida’s Second Judicial Circuit Family Law Judges, Florida State University Law School, FSU Public Interest Law Center, Leadership Tallahassee, Tallahassee Bar Association & Young Lawyers Section, and the Virgil Hawkins Bar Association to develop Thunderdome Tallahassee. The group recommended and sourced curriculum materials and program operations for this education, mentoring, and leadership program for family law volunteers.
Affiliations
AffiliationYear
Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce2013
United Partners in Human Services2013
United Way of the Big Bend2013
Awards
Awards
Award/RecognitionOrganizationYear
Star Grantee, informal recognition and invitation to present innovative work to the BoardFlorida Bar Foundation2014
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01 2014
Fiscal Year End Dec 31 2014
Projected Revenue $149,495.00
Projected Expenses $162,495.00
Endowment Value $10,522.43
Spending Policy Percentage
Percentage (if selected) 4%
Form 990s
9902013
990 pt. 22013
9902012
990EZ2011
Audit or In-House Financial Documents
IRS Letter of Dtermination
Detailed Financials
 
 
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201320122011
Program Expense$182,726$140,356--
Administration Expense----$192,104
Fundraising Expense------
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.940.960.83
Program Expense/Total Expenses100%100%0%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201320122011
Total Assets$257,043$267,910$285,782
Current Assets$183,799$181,050$285,782
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$1,793$1,982$14,637
Total Net Assets$255,250$265,928$271,145
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201320122011
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities102.5191.3519.52
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201320122011
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
Organization Comments
For 45 years, the Legal Aid Foundation has sought donations mainly from legal professionals. To address shrinking support from traditional funders, we are now reaching out to the surrounding community about our mission and how it supports the general public welfare. Our new Executive Director is tasked with seeking new grant funding to support our client services and volunteer resources.
 
Our newest initiative, Thunderdome Tallahassee, an education, mentoring, and leadership program for family law volunteers, has been so successful that the inaugural class cut our waitlist for family law to the shortest list ever. Now, qualifying cases get help in under a month, rather than waiting 3-6 months. To improve the program for Class 2, and to create a best practice, plug-and-play model to share with over 30 Florida legal aid nonprofits, we are seeking increased funding for staffing, program development, and operations. 
Foundation Comments
  • Financial figures were taken from the 990EZs and 990.
  • Contributions from foundations, corporations, governments are included with total for individuals as they are not separated in a 990EZ or 990.
  • Top 3 funding sources are not reflected above as they are not indicated in a 990EZ or 990.
  • Has an endowment with the Community Foundation.
Additional Documents
State Charitable Solicitations Permit
View
Nonprofit Legal Aid Foundation of Tallahassee Bar Association, Inc.
Address 301 South Monroe Street Suite 108
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Primary Phone 850 222-3292 2
Donate to Endowment Fund at Community Foundation http://www.cfnf.org/index.cfm?p=ways-to-give
CEO/Executive Director Darby Scott
Board Chair Will Hall
Board Chair Company Affiliation State Attorney
Year of Incorporation 1968