November 18, 2019
With over 90,000 active duty military members, Florida is known as one of the most military friendly states in the country. In line with that reputation, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has appointed Nelson Mullins, along with a small group of AmLaw 100 law firms, to provide pro bono legal help to low-income active duty military members in the state.
DeSantis announced GI LAW’s collaboration with Nelson Mullins and two other well-respected Florida law firms in October. “Through GI LAW, some of our state’s top law firms continue to provide free legal representation to our active duty service members,” DeSantis said. “Having provided pro bono legal service to over 60 military members, my administration remains committed to supporting our brave men and women in uniform.” GI LAW is a joint effort among the governor, the Department of Military Affairs, the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs (FDVA), and Enterprise Florida, Inc.
William Baldwin, an associate in the firm’s Fort Lauderdale office, orchestrated Nelson Mullins’ involvement with GI LAW by coordinating with the FDVA, which recognized the firm as an excellent fit for the program given its reputation in the state and consistent track record of pro bono work with veterans. “This program addresses a gap in the legal services offered by military lawyers and what low ranking military members can afford in the market for private legal services,” Baldwin said. “The demand for these services is so great that GI LAW experienced a backlog within months and had to temporarily suspend requests for certain services until the backlog could be cleared.” Miami managing partner Mark Raymond and Orlando partner Todd Norman are supporting this effort as well.
Through GI LAW, lower ranking and low-income active military members in Florida receive pro bono legal counsel on civil matters, including landlord/tenant disputes, consumer finance matters, wills and estates, home finance and ownership issues, contracts, and family law matters. In its first week of joining GI LAW, Nelson Mullins attorneys have taken on two cases. Tallahassee of counsel Leonard Collins is representing an active duty military member on a residential sale issue. Tallahassee partner Ginger Barry Boyd’s client had property damage following Hurricane Michael that her insurance company refuses to pay out, which has resulted in further collateral consequences.
Established in 1897, Nelson Mullins has more than 800 attorneys and government relations professionals with offices in 11 states and Washington, D.C. Nelson Mullins and Broad and Cassel LLP combined effective August 1, 2018 and does business in Florida as Nelson Mullins Broad and Cassel. For more information on the firm, go to www.nelsonmullins.com.
These materials have been prepared for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Internet subscribers and online readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.