MIAMI’S PATRICIA A. REDMOND TO RECEIVE 2019 TOBIAS SIMON PRO BONO SERVICE AWARD
Attorney Patricia A. Redmond (photo) of Miami, who has been a champion of pro bono legal service since the 1970s, is the recipient of the 2019 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 Feb. 7 ceremony at the Supreme Court of Florida in Tallahassee.
Redmond, a bankruptcy attorney and a shareholder in the Miami office of Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson, began taking pro bono cases two years after she graduated from the University of Miami School of Law in 1978. Over the years, she has dedicated 200 to 400 hours each year to pro bono service.
Redmond works closely with the Dade County Bar Association and its ally Dade Legal Aid/Put Something Back, the oldest civil legal services provider in South Florida. Redmond serves on the bar association’s Board of Directors and has been an active volunteer for decades. Stephanie L. Carman, president of the Dade County Bar Association, says Redmond “never says no to any cause, case, committee or consideration. She just shows up, does her work and leads by extreme example.”
One case illustrates the depth of that commitment: the wedding dresses.
In a story covered in the Wall Street Journal and other media, Redmond went above and beyond the call of duty after Philadelphia retailer Alfred Angelo filed for bankruptcy in July 2017. Redmond, who was representing Alfred Angelo, was flooded with desperate emails from brides whose gowns, accessories and bridesmaid dresses were locked inside closed stores.
“I felt I had to do something to get the dresses to these women,” she said.
Working with former store managers and employees, Redmond gained limited access to the stores. She then arranged for local customers to pick up the gowns and accessories they had already purchased. She even arranged a short-term loan to have a shipment from China off-loaded on the West Coast to fill the brides’ orders.
In addition to providing direct pro bono legal services, Redmond also works to promote those services.
In 1999, Redmond and the Hon. Laurel lsicoff started the bankruptcy clinic at St. Thomas University School of Law, where Redmond still mentors students while serving pro bono clients.
A similar clinical program was added to the University of Miami in 2003, and Redmond now serves as director of the Eleanor R. and Judge A. Jay Cristol Bankruptcy Pro Bono Assistance Clinic at that university – without compensation. Redmond has mentored hundreds of law students in bankruptcy through her involvement in the clinic.
As an adjunct professor of law at the University of Miami and St. Thomas University schools of law, Redmond also recruits students to participate in the pro bono programs of the Bankruptcy Bar Association of the Southern District of Florida.
In 2017, Redmond was part of Judge lsicoff’s Pro Bono Bankruptcy Summit to revamp and modernize pro bono services in the Southern District of Florida.
Redmond received The Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award for the 11th Judicial Circuit in 2002.
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 other individual, law firm, voluntary bar, young lawyer, state judicial, and federal judicial pro bono efforts, is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 7, at 3:30 p.m. at the Supreme Court of Florida. The ceremony will be streamed live at http://wfsu.org/gavel2gavel as well as on Facebook at www.facebook.com/floridasupremecourt.