The Florida Bar


January 14, 2009
Dorohn A. Frazier,
The Florida Bar
(850) 561-5764;

The law firm of Fishback, Dominick, Bennett, Stepter, Ardaman, Ahlers, Bolton & Langley LLP, Winter Park, has been selected as the recipient of the 2009 Law Firm Commendation, an award honoring significant contributions in the delivery of legal services to individuals or groups on a pro bono basis. The commendation will be presented by Chief Justice Peggy A. Quince at a Jan. 29 ceremony at the Florida Supreme Court.

Fishback Dominick is one of Central Florida's oldest law firms. Since its founding in Orlando in 1935, Fishback Dominick has vigorously and competently represented clients in Florida and nationwide in a variety of legal areas, including appellate practice, commercial and construction, government, labor and employment, real estate and wills, trusts and probate.

Fishback Dominick has been active in the pro bono panel of the Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association. During the last 20 years, its 11 attorneys have accepted more than 259 cases and contributed more than 4,411 hours on closed cases. The firm was cited by the legal aid society in 2002 and 2008 for its pro bono work, receiving its Law Firm Award of Merit.

In addition, individual attorneys have been recognized for their outstanding pro bono efforts:

Chuck Stepter won The Florida Bar President's Pro Bono Service Award in 1987. To date, he has donated more than 1,830 hours on closed cases. Mr. Stepter was admitted to The Florida Bar in 1973 and began his legal career as a staff attorney at Legal Aid. He has since served primarily as a Guardian ad Litem. He has also been active on the local and state levels advocating for access to legal services for the poor. He is a former Legal Aid president and currently the treasurer. He also serves on the Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services.
Mark F. Ahlers received the Individual Award of Merit in 2007 for his outstanding pro bono work. He has assisted 70 children in 40 Guardian ad Litem cases and donated 1,156 hours on closed cases since 1987. He was admitted to the Bar in 1985. Many of the GAL cases he has handled have been for children in multiple sibling groups.
John Bennett, a member of The Florida Bar since 1969, has contributed more than 1,000 hours on closed cases. He joined the pro bono panel in 1976, before Legal Aid kept computer records. Bennett started with family and consumer cases, but moved to Guardian ad Litem appointments. Since 1986, he has handled 32 cases.
In 2004, Gayle Owens, who was admitted to the Bar in 2000, received the New Lawyer Award for her pro bono service. In addition to Guardian ad Litem cases, Owens works with the Citizen Dispute Settlement Program. Owens has donated 350 hours to cases and projects.

Fishback Dominick has been a leader in the community, advocating by example for lawyers to take an active role in providing free legal services to the poor.

The awards ceremony, which also honors individual,voluntary bar, young lawyers and judicial pro bono efforts, is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009, at 3:30 p.m. at the Florida Supreme Court. In addition, the ceremony will be broadcast live, unless pre-empted, on the Florida Channel (check local cable listings for the channel number) and on the Internet at

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EDITORS: Please note The Florida Bar is not an association and "Association" is not part of our name. Proper reference is "The Florida Bar." Local bar organizations are properly termed "associations."

[Revised: 01-14-2009]