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Foundation program places students with aid providers.

The Florida Bar Foundation placed 20 law students with 16 legal service agencies across the state during the past summer as part of its summer fellowship program. I

Three summer fellows played at legal services programs were supported by a $10,000 contribution from Florida Lawyers Legal Insurance Corporation, in addition to $2,345 from the Don Gifford Fund, named after the late member of the Bar Board of Governors and the Foundation board. Total expenditures from the program were $107,345, the bulk of which went for student stipends.

The students served for an 11-week fellowship period. Two were from Florida State University, one was from Nova Southeastern University, two were from St. Thomas University, two were from Stetson University, six were from the University of Florida, and seven were from the University of Miami. Stipend amounts were $4,000 for first-year students and $5,000 for second-year students. Of the 20 summer fellows, eight were African-American and two were Hispanic, according to the Foundation. Foundation.

"Everybody who goes through this program really gets excited about] it, and it is just such a worthwhile I 'expenditure of funds," said John W. Thornton, Jr., vice chair of the Legal As Assistance/ Law Student Assistance IOTA Grant Committee.

Thornton said the reports from participating students and legal service programs continue to indicate the success and usefulness of this program and its popularity among public interestminded law students and legal service programs.

Some of those comments include:

* "The most satisfying aspect of the fellowship has been working with the young and energetic attorneys at [Florida Institutional Legal Services] who generally care about infusing the public interest field with new ideas, are passionate about their work, and are willing to mentor students such as myself."

* "Without legal services, a poor person would be overwhelmed and outnumbered by the justice system."

* "My position affirmed the idea that there is an immense need for public interest lawyers. While the current numbers are able to catch what comes their way, there are so many other people and issues that would benefit from public interest lawyers' involvement."

* "This experience has strengthened my commitment to public interest law."

The Foundation board also approved $105,000 in funding for the Summer Fellows program in 2002.
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Publication:Florida Bar News
Date:Oct 15, 2001
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