Adams and Reese attorneys Andrew McBride and Jim Dickson, in the firm's St. Petersburg office, assisted James West, a disabled minister, through the Community Law Program, Inc., in obtaining full restitution on his breach of contract claim in an automobile sale case.
Adams and Reese has long been a partner of Community Law Program Inc., in St Petersburg, a nonprofit originally created by the Bar over 20 years ago to serve the civil legal needs of low-income and disadvantaged individuals. Dickson will serve as the board’s President in August 2015.
In this particular pro bono case, James West v. Pam Vickers, West sold his automobile to an acquaintance after developing problems with his sight. West transferred title to the vehicle and agreed to accept monthly installment payments from the purchaser. No written contract was signed.
Payments were made for several years, but unfortunately, the payments eventually ceased, leaving West with a shortfall of nearly $5,000. West was referred to McBride and Dickson through the Community Law Program. At first, the Community Law Program only asked Adams and Reese to assist West in a limited engagement, to simply prepare a demand letter and complaint, but not actively represent West in court. However, when McBride and Dickson met with West, they believed his interests would best be served with legal representation at all stages of the case.
The lawsuit was filed and defenses were raised, and at the final summary judgment hearing, Pinellas County Judge Walt Fullerton ruled in favor of West, granting summary judgment on all claims. Following entry of the judgment, the defendant contacted McBride, and offered to pay West all owed sums.
“I was thrilled to deliver Mr. West a check for payment in full for all of his damages,” McBride said. “I feel this experience representing Mr. West was both rewarding and fulfilling, and it is important to perform this kind of pro bono work to help people who could otherwise not afford to seek justice for the legal situations they may find themselves in.”
The CLP assists the courts, bar associations and other agencies to improve the delivery of legal services and access to the court system, especially for low-income individuals; and maintains a well-functioning organization with the capacity to respond to the legal needs of low-income and disadvantaged individuals. CLP also arranges for a variety of ongoing outreach programs hosted by volunteer attorneys at various sites throughout the county.
Adams and Reese has a firm-wide pro bono policy mandate that requires every lawyer in the firm annually perform a minimum of 20 hours of pro bono work. In the last two years combined, Adams and Reese attorneys have performed more than 12,000 pro bono hours and the firm was ranked No. 142 in American Lawyer rankings of the Top 200 pro bono firms in the country.