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February 15, 2013

THE VOLUNTARY BAR ASSOCIATION
PRO BONO SERVICE AWARD

Presented by the Chief Justice

The purpose of the Voluntary Bar Association Pro Bono Service Award is to recognize, when appropriate, a voluntary bar which has demonstrated a significant contribution in the delivery of legal services to individuals or groups on a pro bono basis.
Tampa Bay Hispanic Bar Association

The Tampa Bay Hispanic Bar Association brings together lawyers, judges and other members of the Tampa Bay legal community of Hispanic origin or descent and all others who support the group’s mission to promote the exchange of information and ideas related to the practice of law to enhance its members’ knowledge and skills. It also strives to provide resources and opportunities for the education of future attorneys of Hispanic origin or descent while promoting improvement of Florida’s legal system to further its goals of bettering the administration of justice and increasing the availability and quality of the legal services for the Hispanic community.

TBHBA’s membership consists of attorneys having significant experience in representing Hispanic clients, given that Hillsborough County has the fourth-largest Hispanic population in Florida. In light of this need, TBHBA has developed programs to help the Hispanic community. Its volunteer clinic, translation of legal forms and scholarships lead its pro bono efforts.

The Spanish Family Forms Clinic is staffed by the members to assist Spanish-speaking individuals with the completion of the family law form packets that address a variety of issues, from divorce to modification of child support. The clinic is free and held once a month at the George Edgecomb Courthouse in Tampa. Members have assisted more than 100 individuals since the program began in April 2009. With a grant from The Florida Bar Foundation, TBHBA translated into Spanish the step-by-step instructions of each family forms packet.

The association also funds a University of South Florida Latino Scholarship Program, providing educational assistance to two Hispanic college students annually. It also funded a scholarship for the Hispanic-American Inter-Cultural Workshop Social Impact cultural school.
At its annual gala dinner, TBHBA has hosted notable guests from the legal community. Keynote speakers welcomed in the past include former Florida Bar President Francisco Angones, former Florida Supreme Court Justice Raoul G. Cantero III, retired Judge E.J. Salcines from Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal and Florida Supreme Court Justice Jorge Labarga.

TBHBA holds monthly membership meetings addressing a variety of topics. The group is planning its first Continuing Legal Education course entitled “Issues in the Representation of Hispanic Clients.”

Family and commercial law attorney Victoria Cruz-Garcia is the newly elected president.

[Revised: 09-15-2014]