FJTC has had a busy and exciting week!

Last week, FJTC’s Board, Staff, and our partners held a strategic board meeting and held a launch part for the pilot Florida Legal Access Gateway (FLAG) portal.  Both events provided an opportunity to reflect on all that we have accomplished in FJTC’s short history as well as think about all the work that is still left to be done when increasing access to justice for Floridians.

The week’s festivities began with a strategic planning process on Wednesday, 10/19 at Tampa Airport Marriott Hotel.  During the day, our strategic planning facilitator, Stacy Reynolds, guided FJTC Board and Staff through a series of mental and visual exercises aimed at reinforcing our shared purpose and mission along with identifying key priorities and task for the next phase of FJTC’s growth and development.

photo-2FJTC Board and Staff in deep thought during our strategic planning process

FJTC Executive Director, Joyce Raby, mentioned, “FJTC is very fortunate to have incredibly talented and dedicated staff and to enjoy the steadfast and enthusiastic support of our board.  It’s a privilege to be a part of such an energetic group at such an exciting time.”  Overall, the strategic planning process was a success and we are grateful for the laughs, deep-thinking, freedom to unleash our inner artists J, and dedication that the Board and staff brought to this day.  Invigorated, focused, and excited we now move on to the hard work of FJTC’s goals for 2017 and beyond.

photo-1Board Member Donny MacKenzie reflects on a visual outlining where FJTC hopes to be in next 5 years

The next event was on Thursday, 10/20 for the launch party of the pilot Florida Legal Access Gateway (FLAG) hosted by the Florida Justice Technology Center, in coordination with the Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice, The Florida Bar and The Florida Bar Foundation.  Available through our website and the Clay County Clerk’s Office website, the purpose of the portal is to connect citizens dealing with dissolution and eviction with local resources and access to free or low-cost legal help.  FLAG is the first-of-its-kind triage assistance program designed to connect individuals with the legal resources they need and moves Florida one step closer to offering residents a central online starting point for finding free or low-cost civil legal help.

triage-1Screenshot of FLAG link from Clay County Clerk’s Website: Photo Credit: Florida Bar Foundation

The FLAG initiative was conceived by the Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice, which was formed by Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labarga to explore and identify solutions to bridge the access gap for individuals who need legal guidance but are either unable to afford an attorney or simply don’t know what steps to take to get the help they need.

triage-4William “Bill” VanNortwick, member of the Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice presents FLAG 

The FLAG concept, which will run as a pilot project in Clay County through Nov. 30, is based on a similar system in operation in New Mexico. However, while New Mexico only refers users to two legal aid organizations, Florida’s pilot project will refer users to any one of several entities: the Clerk’s office, Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and the Jacksonville Area Legal Aid Pro Bono program, Three Rivers Legal Services, and online resources available through