21 FLORIDA LAWYERS WILL RECEIVE FLORIDA BAR PRO BONO AWARDS IN SUPREME COURT CEREMONY JAN. 28
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 13, 2016
CONTACT: Mark Hohmeister, email@example.com,
The Florida Bar
TELEPHONE: (850) 561-5764
TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Bar will recognize 21 lawyers for their work on behalf of poor and indigent clients at a Jan. 28 ceremony at the Supreme Court of Florida.
Established in 1981, The Florida Bar President's Pro Bono Service Awards are 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. Florida Bar President Ramón A. Abadin will present the 2016 awards.
The awards recognize pro bono service in each of Florida's 20 judicial circuits as well as service by one Florida Bar member practicing outside the state of Florida. They are presented annually in conjunction with the Tobias Simon Pro Bono Service Award, which is given by the chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court. Awards recognizing pro bono contributions also will be presented in the categories of Distinguished Judicial Service, Distinguished Federal Judicial Service, Law Firm Commendation, Voluntary Bar Association and Young Lawyers Division.
In the most recent 12 months reported, Florida lawyers provided more than 1.7 million hours of pro bono services to those in need and nearly $5.2 million to legal aid organizations.
This year's awards ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 28, at 3:30 p.m. at the Supreme Court of Florida. Watch it live at http://wfsu.org/gavel2gavel.
Here are the 2016 circuit honorees. Recipients' photographs are linked.
1st Judicial Circuit (Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton counties)
Jason A. Waddell graduated from Cumberland Law School at Samford University in Alabama in May 2001 and headed for Northwest Florida. It wasn’t much later that the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 dealt a blow to the economy, and Waddell found that the job market had dried up — especially for somebody without connections in the community. However, many local lawyers and others in Pensacola offered Waddell guidance and support as he worked to build his practice. Within two years, his practice was large enough that he could add his wife as a partner — creating Waddell & Waddell, P.A. — and he has been finding ways ever since to say thanks. Waddell contributes about 50 hours a year in direct pro bono efforts.
Recently, working with Legal Services of North Florida and the Council on Aging of Northwest Florida, Waddell led the development of a program on advanced directives. Through two free CLE courses, lawyers and paralegals received documents and guidance as well as a refresher on durable power of attorney.
After the CLE and two presentations to Council on Aging groups, Legal Services of North Florida conducted two workshops at which, with Waddell’s assistance, about 10 lawyers provided 33 people with assistance and documents free of charge.
2nd Judicial Circuit (Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty and Wakulla counties)
At his law office in Tallahassee, James V. Cook works almost exclusively in federal civil rights law, with cases including police misconduct, sexual misconduct in prisons and the like.
In his pro bono work with dependency cases and troubled teenagers, however, Cook’s legal help is sought by guardians ad litem, the state’s Department of Children and Families, Florida State University’s Public Interest Law Center, attorneys for other parties in cases, judges in court and even the families of children in need.
Cook has volunteered to handle many difficult cases. In one, a child was in a psychiatric facility far from his mother. The separation threatened the mother’s parental rights, but Cook helped reunite the mother, the boy and his siblings. Another challenging case involved an abused youngster who faced drug-related delinquency charges. Dealing with the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Juvenile Justice, Guardian ad Litem and even the Indian Child Welfare Act, Cook arranged for a custody agreement including the mother and an aunt and uncle. The child’s delinquency problems are being resolved.
Cook is a graduate of the Florida State University College of Law.
Frederick L. Koberlein, Jr. (photo)
3rd Judicial Circuit (Columbia, Dixie, Hamilton, Lafayette, Madison, Suwannee and Taylor counties)
One might have excused Frederick L. Koberlein, Jr. if he had declined a request from the public defender to act as an attorney ad litem for a girl charged in a shocking Columbia County killing. But Koberlein, of Koberlein Law Offices, PLLC, in Lake City, took the case, knowing the complications and time that might be involved.
The 14-year-old girl had shot her brother, then fled from their home with a younger sister. The teenager had been chronically emotionally and physically abused. She had been locked in a room, often for weeks, with only a bucket and a blanket. It was the same room where she had been sexually abused by an uncle. Koberlein faced an extra challenge of preventing anything in a parallel dependency case from compromising the teenager’s rights in the criminal proceeding.
In the criminal case, Koberlein helped prepare a strategy that resulted in her entering a plea in juvenile, not adult, court to a charge of burglary and being sentenced to probation. In the dependency case, the parental rights were terminated and the girl was placed in the custody of the Department of Children and Families. But more importantly, Koberlein incorporated the conditions of probation into the girl’s treatment plan. Koberlein, a graduate of the University of Florida Levin College of Law, spent more than 100 hours on the case.
Patricia Vail (photo)
4th Judicial Circuit (Clay, Duval and Nassau counties)
Patricia Vail retired in 2003 after a legal career that included work in the Office of the Attorney General in Ohio and a long tour as a staff attorney with CSX Transportation in Jacksonville. She also was a liaison with the American Bar Association’s Central and Eastern European Law Initiative, heading an office in Kazakhstan and working with that country’s Supreme Court on the establishment of an independent judiciary.
Later, she returned to Jacksonville to open a private practice. She then found a new direction as state pro bono coordinator with Florida Legal Services and working in a number of positions with Jacksonville Area Legal Aid.
In retirement in Jacksonville, she has hardly slowed. She is a resource as a pro bono attorney “on call” in a number of Northeast Florida senior centers and HUD residential facilities. In 2011, she initiated an effort that became the Advance Directives for Seniors Pro Bono Project. The project — a partnership of Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, Florida Coastal School of Law, The Jacksonville Bar Association and the Northeast Florida Paralegal Association — serves 60 to 80 seniors each year with complete advance directive packets. In 2015, the project expanded to include senior patients at medical clinics and rural Council on Aging campuses. Vail is a graduate of the Cleveland Marshall Law School.
Raymond T. McNeal (photo)
5th Judicial Circuit (Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion and Sumter counties)
During a long legal career that included almost 30 years as a judge, Raymond T. McNeal had a life-changing moment on, of all places, a mission trip to Brazil. While there, he was asked: “What are you going to do when you go home? Home is a mission field also.” On the plane flight back, McNeal made a list — and providing pro bono legal assistance was one of the items he jotted down.
In 2010, the now-retired judge began volunteering with Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida, and two years later he became a board member of CLSMF and its sister organization, the Legal Advocacy Center of Central Florida.
As a volunteer attorney, McNeal has assisted more than 200 people who needed legal advice and pro se assistance with family law matters. He also has worked to develop pro se pleadings for Guardian Advocacy, and he has helped countless parents complete the forms to become the guardian advocates for their adult children with disabilities. McNeal works with the staff at CLSMF to recruit lawyers willing to do pro bono work. He is now working with CLSMF to serve people who are homeless by creating a legal-advice clinic at an area church that provides services and meals.
McNeal, who lives in Ocala, earned his J.D. from the University of Florida College of Law in 1972. He became a Marion County judge in 1979 and moved to a 5th Judicial Circuit judgeship in 1983.
Lawrence J. Markell (photo)
6th Judicial Circuit (Pasco and Pinellas counties)
Lawrence J. Markell, a lawyer since 1963, is now retired — if you want to call what he does retirement.
Markell, who earned his law degree at Boston College Law School, had a long legal career in Massachusetts, interrupted by about 11 years in Florida. Soon after he retired to southern Pinellas County in 2012, he began volunteering with the Community Law Program. Since 2012, Markell has handled about 40 contested family-law cases and donated more than 1,000 hours of pro bono service, including volunteering at workshops and legal clinics. Markell accepts challenging cases, often for victims of domestic violence.
In the nomination for this honor, Markell even received support from opposing counsel in a family law case. Carolee K. Blackmon had drafted a settlement in a family law case, but she feared that the agreement wouldn’t be completed before a final hearing. However, Markell worked nights and weekends to review pleadings, confer with his client and negotiate a deal. “I can honestly say that I have never met an attorney as dedicated to pro bono service as Mr. Markell,” Blackmon wrote.
One client, one caught in a bitter divorce and seeking to move out of the state with her son, summed up Markel’s efforts: “If it weren’t for Larry,” she wrote, “I don’t know where we would be today. But it wouldn’t be good.”
Jennifer C. Anderson (photo)
7th Judicial Circuit (St. Johns, Volusia, Flagler and Putnam counties)
Jennifer C. Anderson’s husband, Gregory, expresses amazement at her willingness to accept guardian ad litem cases that involve abuse and despair. “I have told Jenn that I cannot even bear to hear them anymore,” he said. But there are rewards, too. Consider a girl that Anderson has been helping to protect for two-and-a-half years.
The girl was 9 when they first met, a victim of sexual abuse by her father and abandoned by her mother, who had drug and alcohol issues. Anderson’s first task was to locate the mother, who was in Tennessee, in the hope that she was rehabilitated enough that the mother and child could be reunited.
Anderson then faced the challenge of finding suitable foster care for the girl, who had psychological complications. Anderson consulted with the girl almost daily as the search went on.
In getting to know the girl, Anderson found that she had a talent for music. Anderson helped get the girl a guitar for Christmas, and the girl now is thriving at a school for the arts in Jacksonville after Anderson helped her get an audition. Anderson still visits with the girl at least once a month, as she does with other children she represents, and those visits often include lunch, shopping or a movie. She has spent hundreds of hours on this one case.
Anderson, who earned her J.D. at the Stetson University College of Law, is a partner at AndersonGlenn LLP in Ponte Vedra Beach.
8th Judicial Circuit (Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist, Levy and Union counties)
Mary K. Wimsett, a graduate of the University of Florida Levin College of Law who has a solo practice in Gainesville, began volunteering with the Guardian ad Litem Program when she was a new lawyer. Today, she usually is representing four or five children pro bono as a guardian ad litem and attorney ad litem or through Three Rivers Legal Services.
Since 2006, she has worked with the Partnership for Strong Families and Children’s Home Society to find adoptive homes for children. The state provides a minimal fee for prospective parents, so Wimsett often absorbs the extra costs and time of travel, filing fees and other expenses. She also is a frequent resource for foster families that call for advice and assistance.
In 2010, Three Rivers Legal Services rarely handled adoptions, but when Wimsett became a volunteer attorney, she quickly became the person to answer questions, provide support to staff and accept referrals. When she added elder law to her expertise, she began to accept referrals in that area, too.
Wimsett was instrumental in establishing the Gerald T. Bennett Inn of Court, which focuses on professionalism, and she now serves as its president.
9th Judicial Circuit (Orange and Osceola counties)
Pamela L. Foels is a shareholder with Zimmerman Kiser Sutcliffe P.A., in Orlando, concentrating on worker’s compensation cases. But when Jamie Billotte Moses, president of the Orange County Bar Association, spoke to a middle-school class and asked if anybody had a lawyer in the family, she got a special insight. A girl raised her hand and explained that her father “defended hospitals” and her mother “protected children.” The girl was Pamela Foels’ daughter.
Since 1989, the year she became a member of The Florida Bar after getting her J.D. from the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law, Foels has helped more than 100 children and contributed more than 1,500 hours accepting guardian ad litem appointments.
Foels is currently the guardian ad litem for 14 children, and many of her former clients have stayed in touch. A co-worker recalls being in Foels’ office and seeing some photos she hadn’t noticed before. Foels explained that they were children she had helped through the GAL program.
Foels has received numerous honors for her work, including the R. David Thomas Child Advocate of the Year Award from the Children’s Home Society of Florida in 2000.
10th Judicial Circuit (Hardee, Highlands and Polk counties)
Thomas Saunders, who earned his J.D. from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, practices with the Saunders Law Group in Bartow, with a concentration on family law, business litigation and personal injury-medical malpractice. In the last year, Saunders and his firm devoted almost 80 hours to two pro bono cases.
In his pro bono cases, Saunders often deals with family-law issues. These cases can be the stickiest and most time-consuming — and the hardest to find volunteers for. In one case, a couple trying to file adoption papers pro se walked into Saunders’ office and asked for assistance. Saunders helped, and a final judgment of adoption was entered.
Saunders also is active in the legal community. He has served as president of the Polk County Trial Lawyers’ Association, and as chair of the 10th Judicial Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission and The Florida Bar Civil Trial Certification Committee. He also has served on the board of directors of the Willson American Inn of Court. “I have always felt that it is our duty as lawyers to give back to the community,” Saunders says, “and I have experienced great satisfaction in being able to give back through pro bono work.”
Lyndall “Lyndy” Lambert (photo)
11th Judicial Circuit (Dade County)
With Miami lawyer Lyndall “Lyndy” Lambert, a child having her future determined in family court finds not just an advocate but also a mentor and a friend.
Over the past 11 years, Lambert has represented six foster children in dependency court in Miami as an attorney ad litem. She also has acted as a pro bono guardian ad litem for five children in family court and has represented a parent in a child visitation dispute.
Lambert’s influence shows through in the case of a 14-year-old she began representing in 2012. The girl, whose mother died soon after she was born, lived with an abusive father, bounced around group and foster homes, ran away several times and was a victim of sexual exploitation. The state wanted to place her in an involuntary lockdown mental facility, but Lambert argued successfully that this solution was not appropriate. Lambert helped find a stable foster home for the girl — and the girl’s new baby, who had been removed from her custody. The girl will age out of foster care soon, and Lambert has been helping her find a place to live and mentoring the girl as she transforms into a caring mother. Since 2013, Lambert has spent more than 600 hours on this case.
Lambert, a graduate of the University of Miami School of law, also has found strong support from Holland & Knight in Miami, where she is a partner. When Lawyers for Children America lost its office space, Holland & Knight stepped in to provide space in its Brickell Avenue offices.
12th Judicial Circuit (DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota counties)
Legal Aid of Manasota has been leaning heavily on William H. “Bill” Drumm since 2001, when he moved from the chill of western New York state to sunny Sarasota. Over those years, he has donated more than 530 hours of pro bono legal service.
Drumm’s areas of concentration are family law — divorce, adoption, child custody, alimony and mediation — along with business litigation. That’s good news for Legal Aid of Manasota, because family law is the biggest need in legal aid.
At any given time, Drumm may be representing several legal aid clients in complex family-law matters. He has been willing to take the most challenging cases, including ones Manasota has been unable to place with any other attorney. Drumm even will go to the Legal Aid of Manasota office to help as an intake attorney for family-law cases.
Drumm, who earned his J.D. at New York Law School in New York City, also is active in the legal profession and community. He was a board member at Legal Aid of Manasota for seven years, and is a member of the Judge John M. Scheb American Inn of Court, which promotes excellence in legal advocacy.
Isabel “Cissy” Boza Sevelin (photo)
13th Judicial Circuit (Hillsborough County)
For most of the first 13 years after she earned her J.D. from Barry University’s Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law, Isabel “Cissy” Boza Sevelin worked for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Middle District of Florida and was unable to provide pro bono legal service.
She opened a solo practice in Thonotosassa in 2013 — and since then has made up for lost time.
In 2014, Sevelin donated 863 hours to various organizations, and in 2015 that total was even higher. In fact, most of her practice now consists of pro bono work, which explains why she was nominated for the 13th Circuit honor by the Bay Area Legal Services’ Volunteer Lawyers Program, Crossroads for Florida Kids, Inc., and Are You Safe, Inc.
With the Bay Area program, Sevelin began by volunteering with the Domestic Violence Assistance Project. She also serves on the Care Referral Panel and always is working on several cases at a time. When she has a break between hearings, she will head down to the clerk’s office to assist victims. Sevelin also helps victims of domestic violence through Are You Safe, mostly representing women as they seek injunctions for protection.
With Crossroads for Florida Kids, Sevelin’s work goes beyond simply representing a troubled youth. She makes frequent trips to jail to visit and gain the trust of teenagers. If the teens fall back into trouble — as they sometimes do — Sevelin won’t give up, continuing her visits and counseling them in the hope that they will make better choices.
14th Judicial Circuit (Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson and Washington counties)
Robert L. Thirston, II, of Panama City Beach got an early start when it comes to providing free services to those in need.
As a student at Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Va., Thirston dove right in with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, and in his last two years at law school, he was the program director. Before earning his J.D. in 2007, Thirston had provided more than 180 hours of pro bono service.
When Thirston started working for the State Attorney’s Office in the 20th Circuit in 2008, he continued his volunteer work. But when Thirston opened his own practice in Panama City Beach in 2012, the 20th Circuit’s loss was the 14th Circuit’s gain.
He immediately became involved with the Bay County Bar Association/Legal Services of North Florida’s monthly First Saturday Legal Clinic. There he provides legal assistance to low-income individuals and families in civil legal matters. Through this program, he has spent well in excess of 100 hours on cases involving divorce and child custody. From 2014-15, Thirston was co-chair of the clinic.
Recently, Thirston started volunteering with Legal Services of North Florida to represent clients who are having trouble with their federal income taxes. That includes representing these families in IRS audits, appeals and collections. He also has agreed to do the same through Three Rivers Legal Services in Jacksonville, through its Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic.
Jason D. Lazarus (photo)
15th Judicial Circuit (Palm Beach County)
Since joining Holland & Knight’s West Palm Beach office in 2001 after several years as an assistant state attorney, Jason D. Lazarus has provided a wide range of pro bono services, including defense of eviction, foreclosure, Lemon Law cases and contractual disputes. Over that time he has donated more than 900 hours, and in one case in which there was an award of attorney’s fees, he directed that the money be given to the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County. In 2015, Lazarus was inducted into the Legal Aid Society’s Hall of Fame.
One case in particular demonstrates Lazarus’ dedication. In 2008, Debbie Vaughn, a woman in her 50s, was arrested after spraying a neighbor with a hose. During the arrest by a sheriff’s deputy, her arm was broken in several places, her shoulder was dislocated and she lost several teeth.
In a pro se action, she sued the deputy and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office for excessive use of force and other claims. Lazarus, with help from Holland & Knight, became involved after accepting the case from the Volunteer Lawyers’ Project for the Southern District of Florida in 2014. In the end, the sheriff’s office admitted it should not have hired the deputy, considering his background, and a settlement was reached. The law firm did not keep any attorney’s fees, and gave the entire settlement, minus a few minimal costs incurred, to Vaughn. Lazarus spent more than 200 hours on the case.
Lazarus is a graduate of the University of Florida Levin College of Law.
Patricia A. Eables (photo)
16th Judicial Circuit (Monroe County)
In 2008, Patricia A. Eables received The Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Award for the 16th Circuit, with a nomination focusing on her guardian ad litem work. This year, Eables’ nominators from Legal Services of Greater Miami told a story that illustrates the dedication of pro bono attorneys.
In 1997, unbeknownst to family members, a Key West man took out a reverse mortgage on the conch-style home that had been in the family for generations. He deeded the house to a daughter in 2001, then died in 2010. In 2012, to the surprise of his daughter, the process server came with a foreclosure action.
The daughter, who wanted to keep the home where she had been raised, qualified for services from Legal Services of Greater Miami, and the case was assigned to Eables. As the case dragged on, the home fell into disrepair, and the amount of the loan grew from $96,000 to more than $375,000. At that point, Eables and her client realized that their best hope would be to salvage the equity in the property. In the end, the daughter couldn’t retain ownership of the home. But she did come away with some money, and Eables helped her relocate to an apartment. Eables contributed more than 158 hours to this case.
Eables, a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law, moved to Key West in 1994 after beginning her legal career in Little Rock. She now has a solo practice, Patricia A. Eables, PA.
Russell Miller-Thompson (photo)
17th Judicial Circuit (Broward County)
After earning his J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law and being admitted to The Florida Bar in 1985, Russell Miller-Thompson had a successful career as a corporate executive. In 2000, though, he decided to use his legal skills to help private clients, and he opened up a solo practice, the Law Offices of Russell M. Thompson in Sunrise. Soon after, Thompson also began using his legal skills to help those less fortunate than him.
A longtime advocate for the poor, Thompson now volunteers with Legal Aid Service of Broward County and Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida, working mostly through three pro bono projects: Broward Lawyers Care, Mission United Veterans Pro Bono Legal Project and the Tracey McPharlin Pro Bono Pro Bono Dependency Recruitment Initiative, whose purpose is to aid at-risk children.
Over the past 12 years, Thompson has represented 22 pro bono clients on distinct cases, with those who benefitted including veterans, survivors of domestic violence and child survivors of abuse and neglect. He also has advised more than 30 low-income clients on housing and debt-collection issues through the Legal Advice Hotline in just the last two years.
Taras S. Rudnitsky (photo)
18th Judicial Circuit (Brevard and Seminole counties)
When a foster child named Lonnie turned 18, he figured it was time to take the money he had been saving from an after-school job and buy his first car. The purchase was a disaster. Luckily for Lonnie, his caseworker contacted the Seminole County Bar Association Legal Aid Society, which placed a call to Taras S. Rudnitsky.
Rudnitsky, of the Rudnitsky Law Firm in Longwood, has devoted his career to consumer protection. As a bonus, he is an automotive engineer with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering. When negotiations with the used-car dealer broke down, Rudnitsky filed a 20-page complaint and aggressively pursued the case. In the end, the dealer gave a full refund to Lonnie, who now drives a car he purchased with a bit more caution.
Rudnitsky is a treasure to three legal aid groups ─ the Seminole County Bar Association Legal Aid Society, Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida and the Legal Advocacy Center of Central Florida. He has logged more than 600 hours of pro bono work over the last five years, and those hours don’t include the time he has spent training and mentoring legal services attorneys, consulting on cases, making presentations on behalf of legal services groups or serving as a member or officer of their boards. He also has been generous financially to help sustain the mission of legal aid.
Rudnitsky is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School.
Kathryn “Kate” J. Hill (photo)
19th Judicial Circuit (Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee and St. Lucie counties)
Kathryn “Kate” J. Hill began her legal career as a prosecutor in the 19th Judicial Circuit, but after five years she moved into private practice — and almost immediately began taking pro bono cases.
Today, Hill is a go-to lawyer for Florida Rural Legal Services, which covers Indian River County. The services she provides for low-income people include dissolutions of marriage, shared-parenting plans, child support and other related matters of family law. Hill, who has been taking pro bono clients from Florida Rural Legal Services since 1999, reported more than 200 hours of pro bono work in 2015 — more than any other lawyer with FRLS. Those hours do not include any additional pro bono time she spends on her own, or the countless hours spent volunteering in the community.
Hill also is willing to accept cold calls from people who need legal services but say they aren’t able to pay. Hill frequently refers such cases to Florida Rural Legal Services for screening, indicating that she is willing to take the case on a pro bono basis if FRLS finds that the client qualifies economically.
Hill, who earned her J.D. at the University of Miami School of Law, has a solo practice, Kathryn Hill, PA, in Vero Beach.
20th Judicial Circuit (Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties)
At the office, Kelley Geraghty Price has used her leadership skills to become a director at Cohen & Grigsby in Naples. In her pro bono work, she has used those skills to lead three major initiatives that expanded access to justice in Collier County.
In 2004, with the creation of Legal Aid Service of Collier County as part of a statewide consolidation of legal aid programs, Price used her position as then-president of the Collier County Bar Association to focus attention on the need for legal services to those who could not afford them. She worked with both groups to create the Collier Lawyers Care Pro Bono Program and to recruit a core group of volunteer attorneys. Today, CLC has almost 200 pro bono lawyers.
When the foreclosure crisis hit in 2008, Price helped found the Collier County Foreclosure Task Force. She led recruitment, organizing and outreach efforts, and through 2012 the task force helped more than 1,000 local homeowners at risk of foreclosure.
In 2012, Price decided the county needed a pro bono event to honor and serve veterans. The inaugural Wills for Heroes was conducted that November — to coincide with Veterans Day — with the purpose of providing wills, power of attorney forms, medical care directives and other estate-planning documents to veterans as well as first responders. Since then, Wills for Heroes has served more than 100 people, with more than 40 lawyers participating, along with paralegals and law students.
Price is a graduate of the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law.
Even in a law firm that values pro bono service — for six consecutive years, 100 percent of the 650 U.S. lawyers with Hunton & Williams LLP have devoted time to pro bono service — the efforts of partner Andrew Kamensky stand out.
Over the past three years, Kamensky has dedicated more than 1,200 hours to the legal needs of low-income people. That’s on top of his successful bankruptcy practice at the New York City office of Hunton & Williams. Most of Kamensky’s pro bono work has been with two projects: the Volunteers of Legal Service’s Incarcerated Mothers Law Project and the International Refugee Assistance Project (formerly the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project).
Almost every month, Kamensky takes a train to the Taconic Correctional Facility in Bedford Hills, N.Y., where he provides legal services to mothers who are in prison. Kamensky has spent more than 300 hours helping more than 15 mothers over the last three years. The refugee project teams lawyers and law students to help refugees who need assistance in navigating the rules and processes of resettlement in the United States. Since the project’s creation, it has expanded to include Syrian, Somali, Afghan and other refugees.
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."