Why Thunderdome?

The Legal Aid Foundation estimates over 2,300 low income families in Leon County need help in family law each year, once facing a 3-4 month wait for a volunteer lawyer. This is a major unmet need threatening home, family, and livelihood.

Thunderdome Tallahassee addresses this gaping need for equal access to the law, while supporting diverse volunteer lawyers with the best in legal education and leadership development. Thunderdome Class 1 wiped the Legal Aid Foundation family law waitlist clean and has kept it low!

Who Is Involved?

The original Thunderdome concept was offered to us by clinics in Chicago and Connecticut, recommended as best practices by the ABA. Taking it to the next level, the Legal Aid Foundation and university, legal, judicial, and community leaders enhanced the model with in-depth education, mentoring, and leadership.

  • Second Judicial Circuit Judge George Reynolds
  • Ruth Stone, FSU Law’s Public Interest Law Center, Thunderdome Mentor
  • Sha’Ron James, Leadership Tallahassee
  • Tom Powell, Legal Aid Foundation Board of Directors, Thunderdome Mentor
  • Tom Schulte, Legal Aid Foundation Board of Directors, Thunderdome Mentor
  • Sean Desmond, Tallahassee Bar Association Board of Directors, Thunderdome Mentor
  • Jerry Rumph, TBA Young Lawyers’ Section Board of Directors, Thunderdome Mentor
  • Mutaqee Akbar, Virgil Hawkins Bar Association
  • Kristin Adamson, Tallahassee Women Lawyers, Thunderdome Mentor
  • JoLen Wolf, Thunderdome Mentor
  • Bib Willis, Legal Aid Foundation Volunteer, LAF Family Law Mentor Panel
  • Joseph Varona, FSU Law School Student Representative

Each year, participants handle one carefully screened and monitored pro bono family law case at a time, with:

  • The assistance of an experienced family law mentor
  • Professional liability (legal malpractice) insurance coverage provided by the Legal Aid Foundation to its volunteers