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January 9, 2020
CONTACT: Francine Walker, [email protected]
The Florida Bar
TELEPHONE: 850-561-5764

The Hon. Lisa Davidson (photo), chief judge of the 18th Judicial Circuit serving Brevard and Seminole counties, is the recipient of the 2020 Distinguished Judicial Service Award. The award, which honors outstanding and sustained service to the public especially as it relates to support of pro bono legal services, will be presented by Chief Justice Charles T. Canady in a Jan. 30 ceremony at the Supreme Court of Florida.

Judge Davidson has a long history of community service, which includes founding and chairing the Brevard County Domestic Violence Task Force and serving on numerous local nonprofit boards.

When asked why pro bono work is important to her, Davidson says, “Our courts impact citizens in life-changing ways yet too many are faced with the prospect of navigating the legal system alone . . . I will work with our legal community to find new ways to help and support low-income, self-represented litigants.”

Judge Davidson has been instrumental in providing dynamic leadership to the 18th Circuit Pro Bono Committee. As chair, she successfully organized stakeholders and generated new interest and participation. Her efforts increased the number of pro bono volunteers in important areas of need such as children’s issues, consumer issues, guardian advocates and survivors of domestic violence.

Last year she assembled veterans’ organizations, local bar groups, legal aid groups and members of the judiciary to develop and implement a pro bono legal clinic program to help veterans in desperate need.

Judge Davidson’s circuit pro bono committee, Brevard Legal Aid and Southern Legal Counsel are working together on a program to recruit and train pro bono attorneys to provide critically important assistance to ensure that children with disabilities receive appropriate education and are prepared for employment and independent living.

Judge Davidson knows the need for effective legal advocacy is essential for these specific groups, and she is dedicating her time and talent to make sure they are properly represented through the best pro bono attorneys she can gather.

Judge Davidson has previously received the Distinguished Judicial Service Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Contributions from Brevard County Legal Aid, Inc., 2018; the William E. Gladstone Award (statewide award for judicial leadership and service to Florida’s children), 2004; and was recognized by the Florida Supreme Court and governor for her dedication to the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program, in 1993 and 2003.


Note: Support of pro bono legal services by members of the bench is an activity that relates to improvement of the administration of justice. Accordingly, a judge may engage in activities intended to encourage attorneys to perform pro bono services, including, but not limited to: participating in events to recognize attorneys who do pro bono work, establishing general procedural or scheduling accommodations for pro bono attorneys as feasible, and acting in an advisory capacity to pro bono programs.

This year’s awards ceremony, which also honors individual, Distinguished Federal Judicial Service, Law Firm Commendation, Voluntary Bar Association and Young Lawyer Division pro bono efforts, is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 30, at 3:30 p.m. at the Supreme Court of Florida. The ceremony will be streamed live at as well as on Facebook at and The Florida Channel.


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