“Your Legal Buzz” with Joseph Cordova from Florida Legal Services

Each week on “Your Legal Buzz” our host Tiffany Howard talks to attorneys in the North Florida area about important legal questions. This week Steve Strum fills in for Tiffany and talks with Joseph Cordova from Florida Legal Services.

Florida Legal Services is a statewide leader in advancing economic, social, and racial justice.

To learn more, please visit https://www.floridalegal.org.

Why did you choose to go into law?: I wanted to be able to better assist vulnerable populations with accessing resources and exercising their rights and protections.

What is your specific field of law?: I am the Project Manager of a Fair Housing Education & Outreach Initiative. This project promotes greater understanding of the Fair Housing Act to Property Managers, Real Estate Agents, Legal Aid Attorneys, Tenants, New Homebuyers, and really anyone in the housing community.

How do you set yourself apart from other firms in the area?: Actually, our goal isn’t so much to set ourselves apart from other firms and legal organizations, but to work with them and collaborate. I think we do our jobs well when we are able to move forward alongside our partners and include other legal organizations and advocates in our efforts.

What do you see as the greatest challenges in your practice?: So much of my work involves community outreach and having an audience with housing providers, real estate agents, advocates, and tenants. During COVID, we have had to get creative in how we conduct outreach. So, an opportunity like ‘Your Legal Buzz’ is a great way to reach interested parties and letting them know I am available to provide a Fair Housing presentation or discussion with your team and staff.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as an attorney?: I really enjoy the outreach, so COVID has been a hurdle that has been difficult in getting over. I really like when community members, leaders, partners and organizations know they have someone available to them to provide information.

How do you stay connected to your community? Are you involved in any local organizations?: I try to involve community partners in all of my efforts. I really believe that having a strong network of partners builds sustainability, so that when my job changes or my availability increases or decreases, there is a network of partners in place to take the reigns and keep going. As an attorney, I personally am not involved in legal associations or local Bars, though I know I should, instead my efforts usually connect me to schools, churches, and other advocate organizations.

What advice would you give someone considering going to law school?: Here is my advice, and I know it’s not popular, and I know it’s not how everyone does law school, but here it goes anyways: “Go to every class, and read every page.”Preparation and participation in your experience is so important. The only person you’re cheating when you skip steps is yourself. The content is difficult, vast, and intense, so don’t plan on ‘catching up’. Stay ahead.