HALLANDALE BEACH’S ANTHONY C. MUSTO TO RECEIVE TOBIAS SIMON PRO BONO SERVICE AWARD
Attorney Anthony C. Musto (photo) of Hallandale Beach, who has been dedicated to providing pro bono legal services for his entire 45-year career, is the recipient of the 2021 Tobias Simon Pro Bono Service Award, the highest statewide pro bono award. The award will be presented by Chief Justice Charles T. Canady in a Jan. 28 ceremony streamed live by the Supreme Court of Florida.
Musto has worked on many fronts. He helped to establish programs and methods of providing pro bono services, to improve and facilitate the way the services are provided, and to provide them directly. In 2020, Musto was selected by the American Bar Association to produce a series of training videos for pro bono attorneys and law students (as well as staff attorneys) participating in the ABA’s ProBAR program. ProBAR provides representation to immigrants in the Rio Grande Valley border region with a focus on the legal needs of adults and unaccompanied children in federal custody.
Musto has recorded more than 1,200 hours of pro bono service, much of it handling juvenile dependency and delinquency appeals. His work has included handling cases through the Defending Best Interests Project of the Florida Statewide Guardian ad Litem Program, which provides representation to children in appeals from orders revoking parental rights. His pro bono work for Guardian ad Litem led to his receiving that office’s Children’s Champion Award.
Musto helped pave the way for government lawyers to play a role in the legal profession’s obligation to offer pro bono services. When he served as the Chief Appellate Counsel at the Broward County Attorney’s Office in the 1990s, he was responsible for the office’s groundbreaking and innovative pro bono program. The program became a model for other offices throughout the country.
As part of the Broward County Attorney’s Office’s effort, Musto established the office’s Veterans Appeals Project and its Adult Congregate Living Facility Assistance Project. Those initiatives provided representation for indigent veterans in the U.S. Court of Veterans Appeals and for low-income Broward County residents in nursing homes and other facilities for the aged and disabled.
During many of the 11 years Musto spent as a full-time faculty member at St. Thomas University, he served as the school’s Director of Community Outreach and Pro Bono Services. In this capacity, he ran a program that provided more than 10,000 hours of pro bono service each year.
Musto also created two statewide pro bono programs, one to address the legal needs of teenagers aging out of the foster care system and one to help human trafficking victims obtain sealing and expunction of records for crimes committed while under the influence of their traffickers.
Anthony Musto’s dedication to pro bono work spans many years and extends beyond Florida to the entire United States. He continues to give back in every way possible.
The Tobias Simon Pro Bono Service Award commemorates Miami 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 people 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, Voluntary Bar, Law Firm, Young Lawyers Division, Distinguished Judicial Service, and Distinguished Federal Judicial Service pro bono efforts, is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 28, at 3:30 p.m. and can be streamed live on Facebook, WFSU: Gavel to Gavel and the Florida Channel, as well as on YouTube.
A full version of each of the honoree’s accomplishments can be found here.
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