Marks Gray Shareholder, Edward L. Birk, received the Jacksonville Chapter of the Federal Bar Association’s 2012 “Spirit of Giving “award on December 12. Association members and area federal judiciary gathered to recognize the civil pro bono efforts of Mr. Birk and James H. Burke Jr. of the Federal Public Defender’s Office for his pro bono efforts in criminal cases.
Mr. Birk was recognized for his work in the Middle District of Florida Jacksonville Division Civil Pro Bono Panel in representing individuals who lack the resources necessary to obtain their own legal representation.
U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard presented the award at the Federal Bar Association’s annual Spirit of Giving lunch meeting on December 12. Judge Howard mentioned Mr. Birk’s work in a recent case where he and the firm represented a woman who had been wrongfully arrested, and as a result lost her job, her truck, her residence, and was saddled with a criminal record that never should have existed. After negotiating a settlement through mediation, Marks Gray continued representing this client to help correct the records of various government agencies to help restore her status in society as a person with no criminal record. Mr. Birk was also noted in the December 17 issue of the Jacksonville Daily Record’s Lawyer Snapshot series where he the benefits of community service and how others can become involved.
U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan and leaders of the Federal Bar Association-Jacksonville Chapter started the Civil Pro Bono Panel in 2006. They invited all members of the association’s Jacksonville chapter to join the panel and I accepted. Any attorney admitted to the Middle District of Florida can join the Jacksonville Division’s Civil Pro Bono Panel. Interested attorneys can be added to the list by calling U.S. District Court Clerk’ Office.
Ed Birk shared, “I really am filled with gratitude for the chance to help individuals who lack the resources necessary to obtain their own legal counsel when they need it most. It is easy at times to minimize or forget the extraordinary value of the training and experience we have as attorneys. Helping individuals navigate difficult times in their lives that involve legal problems is a powerful reminder of just how much positive influence we can have in our society to help resolve conflicts and directly impact the lives of people.”