21 LAWYERS WILL RECEIVE FLORIDA BAR PRO BONO AWARDS IN SUPREME COURT CEREMONY JAN. 19
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 5, 2017
CONTACT: Mark Hohmeister, [email protected],
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. 19 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 William J. Schifino, Jr. will present the 2017 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 about 1.7 million hours of pro bono services to those in need and nearly $5.4 million to legal aid organizations.
This year's awards ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 19, at 3:30 p.m. at the Supreme Court of Florida. Watch it live at http://wfsu.org/gavel2gavel. Here are the 2017 circuit honorees. Recipients' photographs are linked.
Joseph D. Lorenz (photo)
1st Judicial Circuit (Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton counties)
Joseph D. Lorenz has performed pro bono service throughout his 43-year legal career in Okaloosa County. In 1998, he received The Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award for the First Judicial Circuit, and almost 20 years later he is being honored again. Notably, said his nominators with Legal Services of North Florida, the body of pro bono work he has engaged in over the last two decades is almost double the amount for which he was first honored.
Lorenz’s specialty is marital and family law. In one case, he provided more than 60 hours of pro bono work in a dissolution of marriage that involved domestic violence and custody of the children. More recently, he has worked on other domestic cases. He provides his pro bono work directly as well as through Legal Services of North Florida.
Lorenz also has provided service through the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program, which delivers appellate services to veterans with disabilities through the federal Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. He also has volunteered as an attorney for the First Circuit Guardian Ad Litem Program and has worked as an attorney for the state’s Child Protection Team, to ensure the safety of children believed to have been abused. Lorenz earned his law degree from the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law.
David H. Abrams (photo)
2nd Judicial Circuit (Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty and Wakulla counties)
David H. Abrams received his law degree 10 years after he graduated from college and set off to become a registered professional nurse. He still describes himself as a nurse who practices law.
While still at the City University of New York School of Law, Abrams became involved with Florida State Professor Paolo Annino’s Children in Prison project, and he was the lead author on a clemency petition for a young woman who imprisoned for a first offense at age 13. As a lawyer, he Abrams continued his pro bono efforts and earned the Lone Star Legal Aid Project Award for representing a Texas mother whose child was kidnapped in a custody battle.
Since opening his own office in Tallahassee in 2004, Abrams has taken on some challenging pro bono cases. He represented a transgender student who was expelled from Leon County schools for wearing opposite-gender clothes and further represented the child in delinquency proceedings. He used his nursing background in helping a pregnant woman who was fighting her court-ordered bed rest in a hospital. Abrams spent more than 100 hours representing a cognitively impaired child in dependency court and through the child’s recent adoption. He also organized and sponsored “Saving Homes for the Holidays” for the homeless defense program of Legal Services of North Florida.
Christina Nieto Seifert (photo)
3rd Judicial Circuit (Columbia, Dixie, Hamilton, Lafayette, Madison, Suwannee and Taylor counties)
When Christina "Tina" Nieto Seifert went into private practice in 2009, after spending most of the first 14 years of her legal career with the State Attorney’s Office, legal aid was the big winner. Seifert immediately signed up with Three Rivers Legal Services as a volunteer, and since then she has provided pro bono assistance to nearly 60 family law clients, spending as much as 60 hours on just one divorce case.
Family law cases always are difficult to place with volunteer attorneys. That’s why Seifert, whose solo practice in Lake City concentrates on family and criminal law, is so valuable to Three Rivers. Her pro bono clients often are victims of domestic violence, and they often are facing a crisis in their lives. Seifert’s nominators said she is exceptionally patient and understanding of her clients’ needs, and the clients in turn become more comfortable and at ease, recognizing that Seifert truly enjoys working with them.
Seifert also regularly volunteers to conduct the Three Rivers Legal Services pro se divorce clinic. Outside of her pro bono service, Seifert is active in the legal and local community. She is a graduate of the Stetson University College of Law.
Laura J. Boeckman (photo)
4th Judicial Circuit (Clay, Duval and Nassau counties)
Laura Boeckman has donated hundreds of hours of pro bono service and also has been a vocal advocate advancing the availability of civil legal services for low-income people.
Two years after receiving her J.D. in 2001 from the Indiana University School of Law in Bloomington, Boeckman joined Jacksonville Area Legal Aid as a staff attorney. In 2005, she joined the faculty of the Florida Coastal School of Law and was the supervising attorney for the school’s Consumer Law Clinic. She helped dozens of people through the clinic while providing hundreds of hours of pro bono work on an individual basis, accepting cases from Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, the Federal District Court, and the American Bar Association’s Military Pro Bono Project. mostly focusing on consumer disputes.
Now, as North Florida Bureau Chief in the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s Office, Boeckman still participates in pro bono efforts. As the current president of the Jacksonville Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, she has supported participation of members in the Legal Information Program, in which federal practice attorneys help guide pro se litigants. The pilot program was so successful that it is being expanded to Tampa and Orlando. Boeckman also is co-chair of the Pro Bono Committee of the Jacksonville Bar Association.
Samuel Pennington (photo)
5th Judicial Circuit (Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion and Sumter counties)
Samuel Pennington didn’t get around to taking The Florida Bar exam until 1988 – 18 years after he was honorably discharged from the Navy and nine years after he graduated from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University. Instead, he worked for several years with Christian Prison Ministries. Since becoming a lawyer, he has kept a focus on helping people through pro bono legal services. In 1996, Pennington was recognized for his pro bono services by the Greater Orlando Legal Services and the Lake County Bar Association. And in 2015, he was named the Lake County Pro Bono Attorney of the Year by Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida.
Pennington joined the pro bono panel of Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida in July 2015 and was instrumental in the establishment of a recurring bankruptcy legal advice clinic in Lake County. He also recruited attorneys to staff the clinics and has mentored new pro bono attorneys as well as staff attorneys for Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida. During the past year, Pennington has provided more than 100 hours of pro bono assistance to Community Legal Services clients. In addition to providing legal advice at clinics, he has provided full representation to clients in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies. The Pennington Law Firm has offices in Tavares and Orlando.
Lynn Katz Hanshaw (photo)
6th Judicial Circuit (Pasco and Pinellas counties)
Lynn Katz Hanshaw was a single mother of three who was holding down a full-time job and needed 20 years to get her undergraduate degree, but that wasn’t going to keep her from becoming an attorney.
Hanshaw entered the Stetson College of Law when she was 40. While there, she interned with the legal aid organization Gulfcoast Legal Services and received the college’s William F. Blews Pro Bono Service Award. Upon her graduation in 1999, she was offered an opportunity to return to Gulfcoast Legal Services, and she stayed there until going into private practice in 2006.
But she never forgot her pro bono roots. Hanshaw has volunteered at intake sessions at the Community Law Program, participated in every Lawfest (a community law event in south St. Petersburg), helped establish the first fair-housing consortium in the Pinellas-Hillsborough area, and made arrangements to take every caller to Stetson’s veterans program with a landlord/tenant issue. You’ll still find her working the 7 a.m. shift at the monthly Ask a Lawyer program offered by the Hillsborough County Bar Association. Before she accepted her current job with Langford & Myers, P.A., in Tampa, she explained that she would do so only if she could continue her pro bono work.
(Hanshaw’s office is in the Thirteenth Circuit; she is being honored for work done in the Sixth Circuit.)
Jay S. Grife (photo)
7th Judicial Circuit (St. Johns, Volusia, Flagler and Putnam counties)
Jay S. Grife had a successful career as a physician and podiatric surgeon and might have retired comfortably after his health wouldn’t allow him to continue. Instead, he chose a second career as an attorney, earning his J.D. from the University of Florida Levin College of Law in 1995, more than 20 years after he had earned his M.D. Today, the Grife Law Office in St. Johns concentrates on medical malpractice and health-related law. Grife’s pro bono work, though, takes a different direction, focusing on consumer finance and banking matters affecting low-income residents of St. Johns County. Since January of 2014, Grife – or “Mr. Jay” as some clients like to call him – has contributed more than 495 hours to pro bono cases. That’s in addition to the 480 hours he has spent doing client intake interviews for the St. Johns County Legal Aid Consumer Pro Bono Program, often working into the evening.
In one case, a 94-year-old woman couldn’t understand why her home was in foreclosure. Grife found that a relative had fraudulently obtained a reverse mortgage on the house and that the bank, while claiming the woman no longer lived in the house, was having foreclosure papers delivered to that very address. Eventually, Grife saved her home.
Peggy-Anne O’Connor (photo)
8th Judicial Circuit (Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist, Levy and Union counties)
As part of her commitment to Alachua County’s Ask-A-Lawyer project that serves people who are homeless, Peggy-Anne “Peg” O’Connor joined other volunteers in serving a meal at Grace Marketplace. There, she heard some people in line exclaim, “Hey, that’s my lawyer!”
The Ask-A-Lawyer project -- a collaborative effort of the Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association, Three Rivers Legal Services, Southern Legal Counsel and law students from the University of Florida Levin College of Law -- meets 10 times a year at locations serving people who are homeless. O'Connor began working with the project in March 2015 and has been an active and integral member. She has met with more than 30 clients to discuss their issues, primarily in criminal law. O’Connor also handles pro bono work outside of Ask-A-Lawyer. She prepared and filed a clemency petition for the compassionate release of a 73-year-old federal inmate in South Carolina who was sentenced to 262 months in prison for conspiracy to import marijuana. She also is partnering with the ACLU and another local attorney against the Florida Department of Corrections over treatment of inmates at Suwannee Correctional Institution.
O’Connor earned her J.D. from the Levin College of Law. She is in private practice with Turner O’Connor Kozlowski in Gainesville.
Brenda L. London (photo)
9th Judicial Circuit (Orange and Osceola counties)
When Brenda London’s 13-year-old son was offered extra credit to write a poem about a local hero, he wrote “Do You Hear Me?” which ends with the lines: She didn’t give up and I was surprised. Do you hear me?/Now I laugh and even if I cry, I know That someone hears me.
It was about his mother and her many years of work with children in need, and it was one of the winners in Orlando’s “Writes of Spring” contest and became part of a play, written around students’ words, titled “Do You Hear Me?”
Since 1988, London has taken more than 100 Guardian ad Litem appointments. She currently assists nine children, and she has donated more than 1,200 hours on closed cases. In 2016, she received the Judge J.C. “Jake” Stone Distinguished Service Award, the highest recognition from the Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association. Many of the cases have been difficult. In one, London even learned sign language so she could communicate with a child who was deaf. London also directs the Barry University Collaborative Family Law Clinic.
London received her J.D. from the University of Florida Levin College of Law. She is with the Aiken Family Law Group in Winter Park.
Kristie Hatcher-Bolin (photo)
10th Judicial Circuit (Hardee, Highlands and Polk counties)
Since 2005, Kristie Hatcher-Bolin has been a pro bono attorney ad litem and volunteer advocate for the children in the 10th Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem program. The challenge can be daunting, but she never misses a beat, attending all the hearings and contacting all the interested stakeholders before the hearings. She also takes time to attend all staffings involving children in her cases. One case offers a perfect example of the importance of a guardian ad litem. The child involved is a victim of sex trafficking. The state of Georgia subpoenaed the child to testify against the accused perpetrator, and an attorney for Florida’s Department of Children and Families told the case manager that the child must appear at the hearing. Hatcher-Bolin worked with the Georgia district attorney to gather information so that the state obtained a conviction without the child having to face her abuser again in the courtroom. The child is currently thriving in a placement in Florida.
Hatcher-Bolin is a shareholder at GrayRobinson, P.A., in Lakeland. Despite a demanding schedule, she averages 15 to 20 hours each month on her pro bono cases. Hatcher-Bolin, a former high school English teacher, is a graduate of the Florida State University College of Law.
Brett Alan Barfield (photo)
11th Judicial Circuit (Dade County)
As a partner with Holland & Knight LLP in Miami, Brett Alan Barfield handles business litigation with an emphasis on domestic and international commercial disputes. But he has become known for another specialty through his pro bono work: litigation under the Hague Convention on international parental child abduction. Through Barfield’s leadership, Holland & Knight has handled more than 80 Hague cases. Barfield has personally litigated more than 50 such cases, mostly in Florida, offering him an opportunity to mentor younger lawyers as they work to reunite parents and children and, at the same time, gain invaluable courtroom experience.
In 2016, Barfield spent more than 380 hours on pro bono work, most of it on three cases in which children were secretly removed from a parent’s legal custody. In one case, the child faced a “grave risk of physical or psychological harm.”
Barfield, a graduate of the St. Thomas University School of Law, coordinates Holland & Knight’s pro bono program. The firm cosponsors self-help clinics, a pro bono website, seminars, hotlines and other projects benefitting disadvantaged people.
Michele S. Stephan (photo)
12th Judicial Circuit (DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota counties)
Even before she joined The Florida Bar, Michele S. Stephan understood the value of pro bono service. Stephan went to the Stetson University College of Law on a Public Service Fellowship from The Florida Bar Foundation and, while there, developed a program to provide legal services to the poor and volunteered at legal clinics. She earned the college’s Pro Bono Service Award in 1996, the year she received her J.D. Now, after 20 years of legal practice, she has left a Sarasota personal-injury firm and started a solo practice, Sui Juris, P.A., to offer unbundled legal services to pro se litigants and others who can’t afford a lawyer.
Stephan has been an outstanding advocate for Legal Aid of Manasota, helping clients and teaching a divorce clinic. She is dedicated to serving the homeless at Resurrection House, a local day shelter. Over the years she has donated more than 800 hours of pro bono service. For five years, Stephan has single-handedly run a weekly clinic at Resurrection House, assisting people who are homeless. Stephan earned the 2015 Distinguished Community Service Award from the Sarasota County Bar Association and the Service to the Community Award by Legal Aid of Manasota in 2011, 2014 and 2015.
Katherine Earle Yanes (photo)
13th Judicial Circuit (Hillsborough County)
Federal prisons are full of drug offenders who might have received much lighter sentences if they had been sentenced under current law. That led to the creation of Clemency Project 2014, and Katherine Earle Yanes has been a key to the project’s success.
Since she became involved in July 2014, Yanes has documented more than 500 hours volunteering for Clemency Project 2014. That does not include countless nights and weekends spent working on the clemency cases and assisting others with their clemency cases. Yanes has written petitions, assisted volunteer attorneys by answering questions or giving them guidance with sentencing guidelines, and serves as a member of the Screening Committee for the project.
Yanes also continues to represent clients on a pro bono basis through Crossroads for Florida Kids, Inc. and the Stetson Innocence Pro Bono Project. She serves on several committees for The Florida Bar, is president of the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and is a past-president of the Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers. In 2016, the Hillsborough County Bar Association Criminal Law Section awarded Yanes its annual Marcelino “Bubba” Huerta III Award for Professionalism and Pro Bono Service. Yanes earned her J.D. from the Stetson University College of Law. She is a partner at Kynes Markman & Felman, P.A., in Tampa.
Steven Lawrence Applebaum (photo)
14th Judicial Circuit (Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson and Washington counties)
Steven Applebaum got an early exposure to the legal needs of low-income people when, after graduating from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, he went to work for Legal Services of North Florida at its Panama City office.
In 1995, he went into private practice, but he didn’t stop helping others. He began volunteering at the monthly First Saturday Legal Clinic, a joint project of Legal Services of North Florida and the Bay County Bar Association. Several times he was co-chair, which meant helping to run the clinic and recruit attorneys to attend. In 2013, after a six-month term as co-chair, Applebaum wanted to become more involved with coordinating pro bono efforts and joined the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee.
In 2015, he helped coordinate and attended a pro bono advice clinic in Jackson County. About the same time, the administrators of the First Saturday Legal Clinic retired, so Applebaum stepped in to fill the void, working with staff at Gulf Coast College to make sure classrooms were available and becoming the unofficial liaison with Legal Services of North Florida. Applebaum also has donated about 30 hours each of the last four years to direct pro bono services. Applebaum has worked with the Law Office of Brian D. Hess in Panama City since 1995.
Holly Tabernilla (photo)
15th Judicial Circuit (Palm Beach County)
Holly Tabernilla began volunteering with the Immigrant Advocacy Project in September 2013. One of a number of advocacy projects of the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County (along with projects handling issues from wage disputes to children’s health and fair housing), the Immigrant Advocacy Project provides legal services to immigrants applying for lawful permanent residence, with a focus on noncitizen victims of domestic violence and dependent immigrant children, and community education in the area of immigration and nationality law.
Tabernilla volunteers there about three days every week, and handles mostly U Nonimmigrant Visa cases, helping undocumented immigrants obtain legal status when they have been the victim of a crime and have cooperated with law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of that crime. She has logged nearly 80 hours per month in pro bono services -- well over 2,000 hours total. She has represented more than 100 victims, most of whom would have gone unrepresented if not for her willingness to volunteer. Tabernilla, who lives in West Palm Beach, received the 2016 Immigration Law Award from the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County. She received her J.D. from the University of Florida Levin College of Law.
David L. Manz (photo)
16th Judicial Circuit (Monroe County)
David Manz provided more than 300 hours of pro bono service on 10 cases in 2015 and 2016.
In one, the mother of a 4-year-old boy with special needs was asking the court to enforce the terms of a custody and visitation agreement, after the father refused to abide by it. Manz dedicated 110 pro bono hours to that case alone. In another, a woman needed to set up a durable power of attorney over her sister, who was suffering from dementia. The case was referred from another jurisdiction, and as soon as Manz was notified of the need for an attorney, he jumped in. After a dissolution-of-marriage case, the client said, “Mr. Manz was so wonderful.” Manz finds many of his pro bono legal cases through the Put Something Back pro bono project, for which he handles primarily family law, guardianship and other civil matters. Though the office of the Manz Law Firm is in Marathon, on the Overseas Highway, he accepts pro bono cases from many jurisdictions, and clients consistently praise his willingness to help and his dedication to their causes.
Manz received his J.D. from the Cumberland School of Law. He became a member of the Alabama bar, but moved to Monroe County in 1988, when he became a member of The Florida Bar.
Richard Francis Hussey (photo)
17th Judicial Circuit (Broward County)
Almost every year since 1989, Richard Hussey has handled a pro bono case, racking up nearly 870 hours of pro bono service. Most of the cases involved divorce or separation, with custody and visitation cases also being common. In many of those cases, Hussey represents survivors of domestic violence, helping them to resolve their family law and housing issues.
One client was a woman who was fleeing violence, displaced from her home and living in her car. In another instance, he represented a client in a restraining order hearing, with just one day’s notice before the hearing.
Hussey accepts most of his cases through Legal Aid Service of Broward County and Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida, who are partners in a joint pro bono project, Broward Lawyers Care. Broward Lawyers Care recruits, trains, retains and recognizes volunteer attorneys through campaigns, presentations, seminars, clinics and awards. Hussey also helps families through the Broward County Bar Association and previously served with the Guardian ad Litem Program in Broward County.
Hussey is a graduate of the University of San Diego School of Law. He joined the California Bar, of which he still is a member, in 1982 and then joined The Florida Bar in 1983. Since 1990, he has been a solo practitioner in Fort Lauderdale.
Brigitta Hawkins (photo)
18th Judicial Circuit (Brevard and Seminole counties)
In 2010, with Brevard County residents facing hard times with the collapse of the economy and the housing market, Brigitta Hawkins created the Space Coast Community Law School, with the help of a team of volunteers who included attorneys, judges and paralegals. Since then, a dozen judges and more than 50 attorneys have provided hundreds of pro bono hours offering free legal seminars to the public on topics such as foreclosure, bankruptcy, estate planning and probate, Social Security disability, landlord-tenant disputes, small claims, guardianship, post-conviction relief, domestic violence injunctions, consumer law, constitutional law and criminal law. The bimonthly seminars are held in an informal setting, in the evening at two locations during spring and fall terms.
Hawkins also is a familiar face to the staff at Brevard County Legal Aid – they know her as “Britta” -- for being willing to provide individual representation to people in need. Since 2009, she has provided about 400 hours of pro bono service to 230 clients.
Hawkins has been recognized by Brevard County Legal Aid with its Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award in every year since 2009. Hawkins, who received her J.D. in from the Florida A&M University College of Law, is a partner at Telfer, Faherty, Anderson & Hawkins, P.L., in Titusville.
Mark Miller (photo)
19th Judicial Circuit (Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee and St. Lucie counties)
The elected public defender for the 19th Judicial Circuit had never seen a lawyer in private practice walk in and ask to help with her office’s burgeoning caseload. That changed in 2009, when Mark Miller inquired about a lack of funding and the need for more legal services. Miller quickly put together a group of lawyers who created the Pro Bono Appellate Program to assist indigent defendants with the appeals process. Attorneys volunteering through the program have won numerous appeals for their clients.
Similarly, the then-pro bono coordinator for Florida Rural Legal Services was delighted to meet Miller – who had a boutique appellate practice – and find him zealously working pro bono on a foreclosure case assigned through the Florida Attorneys Saving Homes program. Over the past eight years, Miller has provided more than 400 hours of pro bono services to low-income clients on the Treasure Coast. Miller also has worked to find ways that the Martin County Bar Association (of which he is now president) could help Florida Rural Legal Services (of which he is a board member) meet the needs of vulnerable people. He’s also a member of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee.
Miller, a graduate of the University of Florida Levin College of Law, has been managing attorney of the Pacific Legal Foundation’s East Coast office in Palm Beach Gardens since 2014.
Jonathan I. Tolentino (photo)
20th Judicial Circuit (Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties)
Despite being a solo practitioner with a busy practice in Naples, Jonathan I. Tolentino places a priority on pro bono service. Over the last few years, he has changed the lives of members of more than 20 debt-laden, low-income families, helping them to find financial relief and get a fresh start. Tolentino was one of the founding members of the Pro Bono Bankruptcy Legal Clinic, launched in 2012 by the Legal Aid Service of Collier County’s Collier Lawyers Care Pro Bono Program. Using software and equipment funded through a grant from the American College of Bankruptcy Attorneys, Tolentino and four other experienced bankruptcy attorneys were paired with law students to help clients at several legal advice clinics at Legal Aid Service of Collier County. Part of the purpose of the clinics was to screen clients to see if they might qualify for a Chapter 7 filing in Bankruptcy Court. Tolentino ended up taking on a number of these cases – 21 since 2012. Tolentino continues to work on Chapter 7 cases for Legal Aid Service of Collier County, and he has provided more than 200 hours of pro bono services – with five cases still pending -- since the legal clinic was launched
Tolentino is a graduate of Nova Southeastern University’s Shepard Broad Law Center.
Laura Thayer Wagner (photo)
Laura Thayer Wagner’s dedication to pro bono legal service started early, at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. She was involved in both the Pro Bono Project and the Community Service Project, devoting more than 105 hours to each. She received Outstanding Achievement Certificates from the college for both efforts.
One year after receiving her J.D. in 2012, she joined Hunton & Williams LLP at its Atlanta office, and there she has spent more than 700 hours on pro bono representation during the last two years.
Almost since her arrival, Wagner has been working on a major habeas corpus case that Hunton & Williams accepted after being approached by the Southern Center for Human Rights. Three brothers were tried together on charges of murder, convicted and sentenced to life in prison. However, it’s likely that material evidence was not uncovered or introduced at trial. Wagner now is handling habeas petitions for two of the brothers (one is deceased). One petition was denied but is on appeal to the Supreme Court of Georgia. As of early December, the second was fully briefed and awaiting a hearing. Wagner has dedicated more than 600 hours to the two cases. In addition, in 2014, Wagner spent more than 95 pro bono hours representing a senior citizen referred by the Atlanta Legal Aid Society.
Wagner is a member of the Florida and the Georgia bars, and a member of the Young Lawyers Division of each.
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."