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Partnership with Marion County Bar Association Young Lawyer Section Receives President’s Award

Wynn Smith and Lena Kahn

Having a suspended driver’s license creates many issues that can quickly snowball. If someone cannot get to work or is repeatedly late because they must rely on public transportation, they may quickly find themselves out of a job. Without income, many basic necessities can be jeopardized like housing, food, and healthcare.

The reinstatement process is lengthy and can require numerous visits to various agencies before resolution. In Marion County, there are currently 7,215 licenses that have not been restored to their full capacity.

In response to this critical community need, the Marion County Young Lawyer Section (MCYLS) proposed a philanthropic project with CLSMF to assist local county residents to obtain valid driver’s licenses. The project is modeled after the highly-successful clinic in Orlando spearheaded by CLSMF where individuals were able to visit various stations in one location to resolve their driver’s license issues. The two-day Orlando clinic served more than 700 people, which resulted in the reinstatement of 120 licenses.

MCYLS, through its leadership – current president of MCYLS and board member of CLSMF Wynn Smith – sought partnership with CLSMF to host a clinic in the summer of 2019 in collaboration with the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Public Defender’s Office and the Clerk of Court. These agencies will come together to provide a “one-stop” option for residents who need to reinstate their license.

MCYLS presented their proposal during The Florida Bar’s Young Lawyers Division Affiliates Outreach Conference in January. Each year, one affiliate project is selected to receive the President’s Award. This year, the MCYLS project was the recipient of this honor for their inspiring community-based project. Wynn received the award on behalf of the affiliate division stating “The MCBA Young Lawyer’s Section is very excited to partner with CLSMF for this event. If we can help Marion County residents obtain valid driver’s licenses, it will personally benefit the client, and lessen the burden on the local court system.”