The Florida Bar

News Releases

  1. Home
  2. News & Events
  3. News Releases


January 8, 2018
Mark Hohmeister, [email protected],
The Florida Bar

The Hon. Vance E. Salter (photo), a judge with Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal, is the recipient of the 2018 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 Jorge Labarga at a Jan. 25 ceremony at the Supreme Court of Florida.

Judge Salter, who has been called the “The Ambassador of Pro Bono,” is the first person to be honored with the Tobias Simon Pro Bono Service Award (1998) and, now, the Distinguished Judicial Service Award.

Salter was appointed to the DCA in 2007. In the application Salter submitted to the Third District Judicial Nominating Commission, he appraised his legal career, noting that his mission was far from complete: “I think it’s especially important to have practiced in both worlds — on behalf of the public company and the wealthy, but also for the marginalized — and I would devote the balance of my career to being sure that both worlds get the same justice and the same open door to the courthouse.”

Salter has continued to support pro bono service through the Inns of Court and the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee. He regularly organizes, promotes and presents seminars on public interest law at the Florida International University School of Law, St. Thomas School of Law and the University of Miami School of Law.

He also serves as co-chair of The Florida Bar Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services. He is the judicial liaison to the Rosemary Barkett Appellate American Inn of Court and has served for many years as a faculty member at the New Appellate Judges Conference. He regularly recruits and challenges lawyers to accept pro bono cases, staff clinics and mentor fellow lawyers on pro bono cases.

Salter received his J.D. from the University of Virginia in 1976. Before being appointed to the bench, he worked as an associate with Steel Hector & Davis, becoming a partner there in 1981; as a commercial litigation partner with Coll Davidson Carter Smith Salter & Barkett; and with the Miami office of international law firm Hunton & Williams.

From 1988 to 2007, Salter was an officer and member of the Board of Directors of Legal Services of Greater Miami, devoting thousands of hours counseling the organization and representing its clients.

In addition to the 1998 Tobias Simon honor, Salter has received the American Bar Association’s Pro Bono Publico Award, knighthood in the Order of St. Gregory the Great by Pope John Paul II for his charitable service, and the Lex Christi, Lex Amoris Award, presented by the Miami Catholic Lawyers Guild to a legal professional for pro bono work and charitable services.

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, circuit, law firm, voluntary bar, young lawyer and federal judicial pro bono efforts, is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 25, at 3:30 p.m. at the Supreme Court of Florida. The ceremony will be streamed live at as well as on Facebook at

Like us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter

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."