Alan Pickert, longtime partner at Terrell Hogan and AAJ member, is 2017’s Lawyer of the Year in Jacksonville, Florida. The Jacksonville Bar Association (JBA) and Daily Record chose Mr. Pickert as this year’s honoree, out of 2200 lawyers, because of his efforts both inside and outside of the courtroom. Pickert has been practicing law for 27 years, handling a wide range of personal injury cases for his firm.
He first became involved with JBA more than 20 years ago when he volunteered to join their work with the Special Olympics. Over the next two decades, Pickert became increasingly involved with both the JBA – joining their Young Lawyers Section, then the Board of Governors, eventually serving as president of the association – and with JBA’s philanthropic activities. JBA is heavily involved in the Jacksonville community. In addition to supporting the Special Olympics, the association is involved in projects ranging from aiding foster children to providing legal aid for the homeless to making it easier for Jacksonville kids to read classic literature.
Outside of JBA, Pickert is heavily involved with a nonprofit organization known as the HEAL Foundation which seeks to inspire, educate, and fund services for those affected by autism. In 2003, Pickert began representing clients with autistic children and soon became aware of the lack of programs available in the area for autistic children and families. Pickert, and a group of other determined individuals, helped create HEAL (an acronym for Heal Every Autistic Life) to fill that niche.
HEAL started as a small organization, but has grown to create an enormous impact within its community. The foundation’s first fundraiser earned just $400 net; over the past 10 years, it has raised almost $2 million. Fundraising efforts support summer camps, sports leagues, support groups, and educational seminars. The foundation also supplies iPads to aid in the education of non-verbal students and service dogs for those with special sensory needs.
Pickert has encouraged his own four children to get involved with the organization as well. He explained, “Helping the community has an altruistic effect, but also gives you great perspective in life – there is a big world out there.”
For lawyers, Pickert argues a different reason why they should get more involved in their communities and organizations like HEAL. “A lawyer’s job is to help people.” If a client contacts a lawyer, it is because he or she needs help in some way. “Volunteering is just taking what lawyers do in the office every day and extending it to the rest of the world.”
Learn more about HEAL at www.healautismnow.org and keep reading the Trial Lawyers Care website for information on other volunteer opportunities.