The Florida Bar


January 14, 2013
Dorohn A. Frazier;,
The Florida Bar
(850) 561-5764

Tampa attorney Jeanne Trudeau Tate is the recipient of the 2013 Tobias Simon Pro Bono Service Award, the highest statewide pro bono award. The award will be presented by Chief Justice Ricky Polston at a Jan. 31 ceremony at the Supreme Court of Florida in Tallahassee.

Tate is managing partner of the Law Office of Jeanne T. Tate, P.A., in Tampa. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Florida College of Law. Her principal area of practice is adoption law, in which she is board certified. Tate became a member of The Florida Bar in May 1982 and serves as a member of The Florida Bar’s Adoption Law Certification and Judicial Nominating Procedures committees.

Tate enjoys the reputation of being one of the top adoption lawyers in Florida and has been recognized among Best Lawyers, Florida’s Elite and Florida’s Super Lawyers. She is regularly consulted by lawyers from throughout the United States on adoption issues. But according to former law partner Benjamin Hill III, “her accomplishments in her field of specialty pale in comparison to what she has done to assist the poor.”

Since law school, Tate has been actively involved with Bay Area Legal Services, donating hundreds of hours as a volunteer, pro bono attorney, financial contributor, mentor and resource to countless attorneys and staff. She has also worked with the leadership of Bay Area Legal Services through other local bar-related organizations, including the Hillsborough County Bar Association, the Hillsborough Association of Women Lawyers and the Bay Area Volunteer Lawyers Program. Tate has offered to handle every single adoption-related case presented to Bay Area Legal Services. Additionally, she encourages other lawyers at her firm to handle pro bono matters.

Disillusioned by the prospect of orphaned children with no permanent homes, and interminable delays in the adoption process, Tate approached then-Gov. Jeb Bush and the secretary of the Department of Children and Families with an innovative approach. She offered to donate her legal services and those of members of her firm to the state and its Tampa-based community provider, Hillsborough Kids Inc., to provide private adoption options for these children, facilitate the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children process and expand the pool of prospective adoptive families.

Tate received a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Florida, Fredric G. Levin College of Law, with honors. She also earned a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Florida, with honors. The married mother of four has appeared on a number of national TV programs and networks including “20/20,” “The Early Show,” “The John Walsh Show” and CNN.

The Tobias Simon award, created in 1982, commemorates the late Miami civil rights lawyer Tobias Simon who was a tireless civil rights attorney, a crusader for prison reform and an appellate authority. The award is intended to encourage and recognize extraordinary contributions by Florida lawyers in making legal services available to persons who otherwise could not afford them, and to focus public awareness on the substantial voluntary services rendered by Florida lawyers.

This year's awards ceremony, which also honors circuit, law firm, young lawyer, voluntary bar and judicial pro bono efforts, is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 31, at 3:30 p.m. at the Supreme Court of Florida at the Supreme Court of Florida and will be webcast live from The program will be rebroadcast taped-delayed on the Florida Channel at a later date. Check local cable listings for details.


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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: 01-15-2013]