St Johns lawyer recognized for volunteer legal services

St Johns County attorney Jay Grife is among twenty-one lawyers being recognized for their work on behalf of poor and indigent clients in a ceremony at the Florida Supreme Court in Tallahassee at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 19, 2017, per an announcement received by Historic City News this week. Watch it live.

Established in 1981, The Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Awards are intended to encourage lawyers to volunteer free legal services to the poor and to raise public awareness of the substantial volunteer services provided by Florida lawyers to those who cannot afford legal fees. Florida Bar President William J. Schifino, Jr. will present the 2017 awards.

In the most recent 12 months reported, Florida lawyers provided about 1.7 million hours of pro bono services to those in need and nearly $5.4 million to legal aid organizations.

Jay S. Grife had a successful career as a physician and podiatric surgeon. He might have retired comfortably after his health wouldn’t allow him to continue. Instead, he chose a second career as an attorney, earning his J.D. from the University of Florida Levin College of Law in 1995, more than 20 years after he had earned his M.D. Today, the Grife Law Office in St. Johns concentrates on medical malpractice and health-related law.

Grife’s pro bono work takes a different direction, focusing on consumer finance and banking matters affecting low-income residents of St. Johns County.

In one case, a 94-year-old woman couldn’t understand why her home was in foreclosure. Grife found that a relative had fraudulently obtained a reverse mortgage on the house and that the bank, while claiming the woman no longer lived in the house, was having foreclosure papers delivered to that very address. Eventually, Grife saved her home.

Since January of 2014, Grife has contributed more than 495 hours to pro bono cases. That’s in addition to the 480 hours he has spent doing client intake interviews for the St. Johns County Legal Aid Consumer Pro Bono Program, often working into the evening.

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