A member of the Florida State Bar Association since 1991, attorney Joe Gufford has served on the boards of directors for the Florida Equal Justice Center and Florida Rural Legal Services. A partner at the Gufford and Brandt firm in Stuart, Florida, Joe Gufford has been honored by the Martin County Bar Association multiple times with its Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award.
Providing pro bono legal services is an integral part of an attorney’s moral and ethical responsibilities to the community. Put simply, pro bono legal services are provided voluntarily at little or no charge and include all kinds of law, from criminal defense to liability cases.
In the case of Florida Rural Legal Services and the Florida Equal Justice Center, lawyers provide civil legal advice and representation for a nominal fee to low-income families, immigrants, people with disabilities, and the elderly. Both nonprofit organizations have considerable experience serving non-English speakers.
As founder and partner at Gufford & Brandt in Stuart, Florida, attorney Joe Gufford helps clients avoid burdensome legal issues following a car accident. Insurance companies can lack sensitivity in their approach to reaching a resolution, and working with an experienced lawyer like Joe Gufford can simplify the process. Joseph Gufford, and the legal team at Gufford & Brandt, serve clients involved in a variety of accidents, including rear-end collisions, side-impact accidents, highway crashes, fatal car accidents, and more.
To ensure the protection of rights, it’s important to take the following actions:
– Contact the police. An officer will arrive at the scene to complete an official report. This report will be vital in future proceedings.
– Take pictures of the overall scene of the accident, including the license plates, the cars, and any injuries incurred.
– Visit a doctor for an examination, no matter how minor the injuries might seem.
– Contact the insurance companies, and avoid discussing the cause of the accident.
– Contact a law firm with experience handling car accidents. For a free legal assessment from Gufford & Brandt, call (866) 603-9936.
After working with several top lawyers in Florida throughout his career, Joseph Gufford practices family and civil law at his firm in Stuart, Florida. Joe Gufford has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of Florida Rural Legal Services (FRLS), a firm dedicated to pro bono work. He has also served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Florida Equal Justice Center. Mr. Gufford and his staff are dedicated to assisting the poor and disenfranchised so that they can receive the justice they deserve, regardless of their ability to pay.
Attorney Joe Gufford believes that it is essential to the administration of justice that all people have access to the Courts and effective representation. Unfortunately, that is not the case in today’s day and age. The practice of law is time consuming, expensive and fraught with complexities. Because resources are limited, Mr. Gufford limits his pro-bono work to cases that are referred to him through FRLS. Mr. Gufford’s pro-bono cases have involved a wide range of family law matters including custody matters, adoptions and guardianships.
After attorney Joe Gufford earned his juris doctor at the Stetson University College of Law, he, like many other students, took the bar examination. After passing, Joe Gufford began practicing in Florida, where he continues to counsel clients today. His alma mater recently announced that its graduates had achieved the highest success rate in the state on the Florida Bar Exam.
Almost 90 percent of Stetson graduates passed the examination in July 2013, as compared to 77 percent of first-time test-takers throughout Florida. Stetson takes several measures to keep that rate high, such as essay evaluation, workshops, and a study plan enabling students to monitor their progress. The program’s goal is for every student to pass the bar the first time.
The Florida Bar Exam’s general test is presented in two parts every February and July. Part A consists of three essays and 100 multiple-choice questions on a range of 19 topics. Part B, the Multistate Bar Examination, comprises two sections of 100 multiple-choice questions on seven subjects.
Joe Gufford has practiced law for over a decade in Stuart, Florida. In his work as a child custody attorney, he sometimes encounters situations wherein child abuse has occurred. Like many individuals in his profession, Joseph Gufford is familiar with the legal requirement to report such situations.If you are a victim of child abuse or are aware of child abuse, abandonment or neglect contact 1-800-96-ABUSE.
Recently the Florida state legislature passed a law, the Protection of Vulnerable Persons Act, which sets stiff penalties for persons failing to report child abuse. Stories of a cover-up in the Pennsylvania State University scandal prompted the legislation.
Prior to this law, state mandatory reporting statutes applied only when the abusers were caregivers, such as guardians or parents. Now, the law applies to anyone. For colleges and universities, failure to report situations they know about could bring a fine up to $1 million. The penalty for individuals not reporting is $5,000, carrying a felony conviction. Local law enforcement will handle cases not involving parents or caregivers.
The law further mandates that the Florida Department of Children and Families provide convenient ways to report, such as e-mails and texting. The legislature allotted the agency an additional $2.1 million to employ additional workers for the state hotline.
Attorney Joseph Gufford has a solid reputation for pro bono work in the central south Florida area, and has earned several professional awards for his efforts. Joe Gufford now operates a multi-attorney practice in Stuart, Florida, and contributes time and energy to the Martin County Bar Association (MCBA) through his pro-bono efforts with Florida Rural Legal Services.
Florida Rural Legal Services is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing quality civil legal advice, representation and education for low income people and communities. Florida Rural Legal Services, gives attorneys the opportunity to fulfil their promise to “never reject the cause of the defenseless or oppressed or delay anyone’s cause for lucre or malice.”
Joe Gufford has made it his practice over the course of the last few years to ensure that his firm is handling at least one pro-bono case at all times. While this may not sound like a lot to the general public, many of these cases are complex and require much time and resources in order to achieve a just result. Virtually all of Joe Gufford’s formal pro-bono activities are done through Florida Rural Legal Services because of the benefits offered to Florida Rural’s Pro Bono Attorneys:
• Out-of-pocket costs are paid by FRLS.
• FRLS will cover malpractice insurance (with deductible).
• Clients are pre-screened to ensure that they are indeed indigent.
• Free CLE webinars are available for attorneys who assist FRLS with cases.
Although many of us treat our small corporations as being synonomys with ourselves, corporations are actually a form of a “fictitious entity”. So, corporations are treated as a separate person under the law. Therefore, since they are a separate person under the law, they can only be represented by an attorney. While you can represent yourself in your individual capacity, as any of us have the right to do, a corporation must be represented by an attorney. To do otherwise would be akin to you representing your neighbor in a legal matter, i.e. practicing law without a license.