The Florida Bar


January 7, 2008
Francine Andia Walker;,
The Florida Bar

The Florida Bar will recognize 21 lawyers for their work on behalf of poor and indigent clients at a January 31 ceremony at the Florida Supreme Court.

The Florida Bar President's Pro Bono Service Award was established in 1981. It is intended to encourage lawyers to volunteer free legal services to the poor by recognizing those who make public service commitments and to raise public awareness of the substantial volunteer services provided by Florida lawyers to those who cannot afford legal fees. President Francisco R. Angones, of Miami, will present the 2008 awards.

The award recognizes pro bono service in each of Florida's 20 judicial circuits and one Florida Bar member practicing outside the state of Florida. It is presented annually in conjunction with the Tobias Simon Pro Bono Service Award, which is given by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of Florida. Awards recognizing pro bono contributions will also be presented for Distinguished Judicial Service, Law Firm Commendation, Voluntary Bar Association and Young Lawyer during the Jan. 31 ceremony.

By circuit, the 2008 recipients are: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, Out of State Florida Bar Member.

William Jemison Mims, Jr.
First Judicial Circuit (Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton)

William Jemison Mims, Jr., is an associate with Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Eschner & Proctor, P.A. in Pensacola. In the past year, Mr. Mims has donated approximately 292 hours of pro bono services. He spent more than 20 hours handling an ongoing guardianship case for two children in Escambia County. He also spent at least 40 hours handling two criminal cases for defendants who were unable to afford an attorney. He donates at least one hour per week to his church, Holy Cross Episcopal, serving as legal adviser for the church and assisting members with low or fixed incomes.

Suzanne Smith Brownless
Second Judicial Circuit (Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty and Wakulla)

Suzanne Smith Brownless practices in all areas of regulatory and administrative law.
Since 1995, she has been helping people with their legal needs through the Legal Aid Foundation of the Tallahassee Bar Association. Over the past 12 years, she has provided more than 1,060 hours of pro bono service. She has been an active member of the Legal Aid Foundation Board of Directors since 2003. She also lends her time and financial support to the foundation's fundraising events and outreach opportunities, such as "Law for All," held each May at the Leon County Courthouse.

Robert Eugene Fridley
Third Judicial Circuit (Columbia, Dixie, Hamilton, Lafayette, Madison, Suwannee and Taylor)
Lake City

Robert Eugene Fridley is in private practice with the Law Offices of Robert Fridley, P.A., with offices in Gainesville, Lake City and Jacksonville. He is a trial attorney and focuses his practice on dependency, adoption, dissolution of marriage, wills, estates and trusts.
Mr. Fridley has accepted pro bono cases from Three Rivers Legal Services Inc., the court and the community. His practice consists primarily of accepting court appointments in dependency cases. He has often represented these clients in additional legal matters pro bono. He has also donated pro bono hours to domestic violence and guardian advocacy cases. He also accepts appointments for dependency cases for rural counties within the Third Judicial Circuit, which includes Columbia, Dixie, Hamilton, Lafayette, Madison, Suwannee and Taylor counties.

James D. Francis
Fourth Circuit (Clay, Duval and Nassau)

James D. Francis serves as president of Freeport Petroleum Company Ltd., and is chairman of the board for Micro-Ant Inc., a designer and manufacturer of specialty antenna. In 2005, Mr. Francis began pro bono work with Jacksonville Area Legal Aid (JALA). He has used his background in commercial law in representing five legal aid clients in complex foreclosures, spending hundreds of hours on these cases in 2006 and 2007. In one, he obtained a $4,000 attorney fee, which he donated to JALA.

Jack Arthur Moring
Fifth Judicial Circuit (Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion and Sumter)
Crystal River

Jack Arthur Moring is a partner and shareholder in the Crystal River law firm of Moring & Moring, P.A. He practices in appellate law and family law and focuses on Americans with Disabilities Act accessible client services. Mr. Moring has provided several hundred pro bono hours over the last five years representing children in Citrus County whose parents end up in dependency court. He has also represented indigent adults in connection with Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida.

Dionne Maria Blaesing
Sixth Judicial Circuit (Pasco and Pinellas)
New Port Richey

Dionne Maria Blaesing is a partner in the New Port Richey firm of Blaesing & Diaz, P.A. She practices in the areas of animal law, family law, business law, estate planning and general civil practice. She entered the legal profession as a second career. For two decades she managed, developed and worked in public and private veterinary hospitals.
Ms. Blaesing donates at least 16 hours per month to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, four hours a month to Bay Area Legal Services, four hours for the Guardian Ad Litem Program and several hours a month providing pro bono legal services directly to the general public.

Debra Trevlyn Alexander
Seventh Judicial Circuit (Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns and Volusia)
St. Augustine

Debra Trevlyn Alexander is in private practice and in St. Augustine and serves as court-appointed counsel for felony, misdemeanor, delinquency and dependency matters as well as providing representation in private criminal and civil family law. Her pro bono service is primarily in civil family law matters. In 1998, when she was admitted to the Bar, Ms. Alexander immediately took on six pro bono cases from a legal aid program. Her pro bono work has continued over the past 10 years in many forms. In addition, she has been the teacher for a monthly Pro Se Forms Class presented by a local legal aid office providing assistance with their do-it-yourself Supreme Court approved forms. She also regularly staffs the Pro Bono Advice Clinic, which is held once a month by St. Johns County Legal Aid. Each class and clinic is a four-hour commitment for attorneys.

Theodore Mark Burt
Eighth Circuit (Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist, Levy and Union)

Theodore Mark Burt is in private practice in Trenton. His practice is in the areas of government law, real estate law, probate and estate planning and Social Security disability. Mr. Burt has represented clients through Three Rivers Legal Services Volunteer Attorney Program since the early 1990s, providing more than 100 hours of pro bono services. With his knowledge of real property and probate law, he has helped several individuals in rural areas preserve family property, homesteads and farms.

John Richard Hamilton
Ninth Judicial Circuit (Orange and Osceola)

John R. Hamilton is a Florida Bar board certified appellate practice lawyer and partner in Foley & Lardner LLP In Orlando. Since 1988, Mr. Hamilton has done pro bono work on more than 100 cases devoting more than 3,000 hours. He has provided advice for and counseling in appellate cases for staff of the Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar and to other pro bono attorneys. He also organized and taught a training session with Judge William Palmer on appellate practice for legal service programs staff. In recognition of his extensive pro bono efforts, he was awarded the 2007 Pro Bono Award from the Appellate Section of Bar.

Gary Randall Gossett Jr.
Tenth Judicial Circuit (Hardee, Highlands and Polk)

Gary Randall Gossett Jr. has had his own firm, Gossett Law Offices, P.A., in Sebring since 1991. His areas of practice include personal injury and wrongful death, bankruptcy, employment discrimination and civil rights, construction litigation and real estate and estate planning. Mr. Gossett's pro bono services include a case of parental rights against the Department of Children and Families and a domestic violence case in which the victim suffered personal injuries. Additionally, he has provided pro bono legal services to other individuals, including many members of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4300. He has spent hundreds of hours handling these and other pro bono cases.

Melanie Emmons Damian
Eleventh Judicial Circuit (Dade)

Melanie Emmons Damian is a partner in and chief financial officer of Damian & Valori LLP in Miami. Her practice areas include complex commercial litigation, corporate fraud litigation and investigation, corporate governance litigation, professional negligence litigation, real estate litigation and employment litigation and counseling. Ms. Damian performs pro bono child advocacy through Guardian Ad Litem and Lawyers for Children America. She also is founder and chair of the board of directors of the nonprofit organization Educate Tomorrow Corp., which seeks to assist disadvantaged children in getting post-secondary education. She dedicates an estimated 500 hours a year to this cause. For her work with Educate Tomorrow, she received the 2007 Pepsi Everyday Freedom Hero Award.

Morgan Ray Bentley
Twelfth Judicial Circuit (DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota)

Morgan Ray Bentley is a partner with Williams, Parker, Harrison, Dietz & Getzen in Sarasota. He practices primarily in the area of business and real estate litigation and environmental and land use law. Mr. Bentley has been a volunteer attorney with Legal Aid of Manasota Inc. since 1992. He has served on its board of directors since 1998 and is currently serving as president. He has also been active in fundraising to benefit legal aid. However, his role in providing legal services to the poor goes beyond fundraising and leadership. In 1995, he was instrumental in drafting and gaining approval for the first law firm pro bono plan in the Twelfth Circuit which includes DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota counties. He also has donated hundreds of pro bono hours by staffing a free legal advice clinic and accepting cases for direct representation.

Danelle Dykes Barksdale
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit (Hillsborough)

Danelle Dykes Barksdale has been an adoption attorney with The Law Offices of Jeanne T. Tate, P.A., in Tampa since 1999. As a volunteer for the Bay Area Volunteer Lawyers Program since 1992, she has donated more than 100 hours representing low-income residents in adoption matters and has participated in training sessions addressing adoption and relative caregiver issues. Additionally, she has donated more than 100 hours interviewing applicants seeking legal aid and providing advice to indigent clients as an intake attorney for the program. The pro bono efforts of Ms. Barksdale and her firm earned Jeanne T. Tate, P.A., the Outstanding Pro Bono Service by a Law Firm Award by the Hillsborough County Bar Association in 2006. Ms. Barksdale was awarded the Hillsborough County Bar Association's 2007 Jimmy Kynes Award for her long-term outstanding pro bono service.

Carlotta Appleman-Moniz
Fourteenth Judicial Circuit (Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson and Washington)
Panama City

Carlotta Appleman-Moniz is a partner in the law firm of Harrison, Sale, McCloy and Thompson, P.A, in Panama City, where she has worked since 2000. Her practice areas include probate, estate planning, real estate litigations, real estate closings, business law, bankruptcy, collection and guardianship. Ms. Appleman-Moniz has contributed a significant number of pro bono hours providing legal assistance to individuals needing help with real estate planning and probate as well as general areas of law. She has also provided assistance to at least three local churches in clearing titles, purchase and sale of real estate and other legal matters relating to church business. In 2007, she served as chair of the First Saturday Legal Clinic. This required several hours each month to arrange for attorneys to attend the clinic and assist her in providing legal services to the people seeking help from the clinic, as well as compiling reports on the results of those clinics.

Julie Hope Littky-Rubin
Fifteenth Judicial Circuit (Palm Beach)
West Palm Beach

Julie Hope Littky-Rubin is a Florida Bar board certified appellate attorney and is a partner at Lytal, Reiter, Clark, Fountain & Williams LLP in West Palm Beach, where she is the head of appellate practice. She provides trial support and handles appeals from all areas of civil law. In recognition of her pro bono work in the pro bono appeal of two boys, ages 2 and 3, she was awarded a Pro Bono Award in Appellate Practice by the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach in 2004. Due in part to her ongoing work, the Florida Supreme Court ruled this year that the two boys will continue to live and thrive with their adoptive parents. She also has volunteered in the Palm Beach County's attorney ad litem program, assisting with expediting adoptions.

Patricia Ann Eables
Sixteenth Judicial Circuit (Monroe)
Key West

Patricia Ann Eables is a partner in the law firm of Horan, Wallace & Higgins LLC, in Key West. She practices in the areas of business litigation, real property, products liability defense, probate law, administrative law and Americans with Disabilities Act defense. Ms. Eables has provided legal services in court-appointed cases involving the Guardian Ad Litem Program. Additionally, since 2005 she has served on the board of trustees for Our Kids of Miami-Dade/Monroe Inc., a community-based organization focused on the well-being and development of children. She is also on the board of directors of Big Brothers/ Big Sisters of Monroe County.

Russell E. Carlisle
Seventeenth Judicial Circuit (Broward)
Fort Lauderdale

Russell E. Carlisle, sole practitioner of the Carlisle Law Firm in Fort Lauderdale, is Florida Bar board certified in elder law. In his more than 50 years as an attorney, he has been dedicated to helping the poor get legal assistance and has been a leader in pro bono service. Mr. Carlisle was the founding president and a board member of Legal Aid Service of Broward County Inc. In 1975, he was invited to serve on the board of directors of Florida Legal Services, the statewide organization of local legal aid groups, and he was instrumental in the establishing of the Interest on Trust Accounts (IOTA) program in 1989. As president of the Broward County Bar Association in 1981, his principal project was starting Broward Lawyers Care, the pro bono program of the Legal Aid Service of Broward County, which now has 1,250 members. Through Broward Lawyers Care, Mr. Carlisle has provided numerous pro bono hours providing representation in various legal issues, from Haitians from the Duvalier regime-seeking asylum in the United States to guardianship matters. His pro bono efforts continue in the areas of elder affairs and advocacy.

Amy Christine Hamlin
Eighteenth Judicial Circuit (Brevard and Seminole)

Amy Christine Hamlin is an associate attorney with the law firm of Levin, Morgan & Longo LLC in Longwood, where she represents family law clients in circuit and appellate matters. Ms. Hamlin started her legal career in 2000 as a staff attorney for Greater Orlando Legal Services and then began working at the Seminole County Bar Association Legal Aid Society. After she joined the private sector, she continued to represent low-income clients through the Seminole County Bar Association Legal Aid Society. She donated more than 393 hours in pro bono services in family law cases. She also conducted a seminar for the staff attorneys at Seminole County Legal Aid Society regarding trial preparation and use of exhibits.

Ginger Allison Miranda
Nineteenth Judicial Circuit (Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee and St. Lucie)
Fort Pierce

Ginger Allison Miranda, sole practitioner of Ginger Miranda P.A. in Fort Pierce, works extensively with immigrant programs. Ms. Miranda has performed an estimated 600 hours of pro bono legal services through programs such as the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, the St. Lucie County Bar Association and Florida Rural Legal Services. She worked with the bar association and Florida Rural Legal Services in offering Hispanic Pro Bono clinics to assist non-English speaking clients with problems in domestic relations and foreclosure. She also undertook training for domestic relations to recruit lawyers who do not practice family law.

Melinda Paniagua Riddle
Twentieth Judicial Circuit (Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee)

Melinda Paniagua Riddle has been a solo practitioner in Naples since 1994. She concentrates her practice on probate and guardianship and domestic/family law issues.
Ms. Riddle was key in bringing legal aid services to Collier County, working with other attorneys in forming committees to set up a legal aid office in Naples. In 1997, The Collier County Bar Association approved the formation of Legal Aid Services of Collier County and Ms. Riddle served on its board of directors from its inception until 2004.

In her 23 years of practice, Ms. Riddle has donated countless hours of pro bono representation to citizens and organizations in Naples and throughout Collier County. She accepts many cases on short notice, gives free advice at legal clinics and handles a large volume of pro bono case referrals, all in addition to her regular law firm duties. Her experience, fluency in Spanish and passion to help the constituency has made her an asset to Legal Aid Services.

Ross Benjamin Bricker
Out-of-State Florida Bar Member
Chicago, Illinois

Ross Benjamin Bricker is a partner in the Chicago office of Jenner & Block, where he is a member of the firm's litigation department. Throughout his career, Bricker has handled pro bono cases involving the First Amendment, freedom of religion, Section 8 and other forms of public housing, criminal defense, civil rights and numerous other areas of law. He has been recognized for his precedent-setting work on behalf of migrant farm workers and for his efforts to redress housing discrimination directed as persons with disabilities. Through the American Bar Association Section of Litigation Bricker serves as lead counsel for displaced public housing residents of New Orleans in their efforts to return to the city. In the past 12 years he has devoted more that 3,600 hours to pro bono efforts. In 2007 alone, he provided more than 470 hours of pro bono legal representation. He is also an active volunteer in trial advocacy programs and in his support of civic and bar organizations.

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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: 01-14-2008]