Chair’s Message – September 2018

How can appellate attorneys serve those who have served our country?
Read on…the Section would like to connect you with a special opportunity!

For those of you joining us in Washington, D.C. for our 2018 Fall Meeting and Retreat, you may have heard about this exciting opportunity already. Our CLE program in D.C. will feature a presentation by the Honorable Michael P. Allen of the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, who will educate us about his Court, including the Court’s involvement with the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Project — an incredible D.C.-based program offering pro bono appellate assistance to veterans. Judge Allen will be joined by Courtney L. Smith, Esquire, Director of Volunteer Outreach and Education at the Consortium, who will tell us more about the value that we, as appellate attorneys, can bring to the lives of veterans.

“But I’ve never handled an appeal of a denial of veterans’ benefits before.” We’ve got you covered! Colleen Miller of Quarles & Brady has been working with Ms. Smith to expand the Consortium’s reach in Florida and, together, they have kindly made a free CLE training available to our members. If you’re interested in getting involved, just email our Section’s Pro Bono Committee Chair, Joe Eagleton, for the materials and training video links. Through your review of the materials and completion of the video trainings, you will become qualified to handle an appeal through the Consortium, all while earning CLE credit. It’s that easy!

“I’m not comfortable handling this type of appeal on my own.” The Consortium understands that handling a matter outside of your practice area can seem daunting. This is why the program partners every volunteer with an experienced attorney well-versed in this area of the law who will mentor you throughout the process. The Consortium also offers sample briefs and other resources to facilitate your representation.

“Is oral argument scheduled in these appeals?” Yes, in fact, the Court just so happens to be traveling to hold oral argument sessions in Florida at the Stetson University College of Law campuses in Gulfport and Tampa on October 29 and 30, 2018, respectively. The Section is honored to be a contributing sponsor of a reception hosted by the Federal Bar Association for the Court’s visiting judges and staff on October 29 in Tampa. If you are interested in attending an oral argument session or learning more about the reception or other activities that Stetson and the Federal Bar Association are coordinating in connection with the Court’s visit, please contact Joe Eagleton for additional information.

Our Section’s strong commitment to pro bono service is what inspired me to join and get involved in the Section many years ago. I’m proud of our Pro Bono Committee’s offerings of a wide range of appellate pro bono opportunities and of our countless members engaged in pro bono service. With each new opportunity, our Section reaches more people in need, as well as more volunteers who find special meaning in dedicating their time and talent to pro bono service. If you’d like more information about this opportunity, or if you’d like to join the Pro Bono Committee’s listserv offering appellate pro bono opportunities throughout the state, please contact Joe Eagleton. I look forward to hearing about your rewarding experiences serving those who have served our country!

Sarah Lahlou Amine

Sarah Lahlou Amine

Sarah Lahlou-Amine, Chair
Appellate Practice Section
(813) 384-3994
slahlou@bankerlopez.com