D’Amico wins YLD Pro Bono Service Award
It’s fitting that the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Pro Bono Service Award would honor work done to protect vulnerable people on the Internet, where so many young adults make friends and connections.
A little more than a year ago, Elisa J. D’Amico was sitting at the installation luncheon of the Miami-Dade Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers (MDFAWL ) and listening to the immediate past president urge support for a bill criminalizing nonconsensual pornography, or “revenge porn.” D’Amico took that message, worked with public officials and MDFAWL, and helped get the City Commission of Miami Beach to pass a resolution supporting the bill. The bill passed, and became law in October.
That was just the beginning.
With strong support from K&L Gates LLP, the international law firm where D’Amico is a partner in the Miami office, D’Amico and K&L Gates partner David Bateman founded the Cyber Civil Rights Legal Project to provide legal services to victims whose sexually explicit images are distributed online without their consent.
A year later, the project had 70 attorneys on three continents volunteering to help victims of online harassment. In just one year, the project dedicated the equivalent of $2 million in volunteer attorney time and consulted with more than 300 victims. D’Amico has volunteered more than 1,100 hours to the Cyber Civil Rights Legal Project since late 2014.
Among those helped by the project was a Miami professor who had explicit photos and video shared with her class, forcing her to change her name and career. The project also has reached out to help victims in places as far away as Canada, Switzerland, Latvia, and the United Kingdom.
“Elisa and the CCRLP saved me,” one victim wrote. “Elisa was my first advocate and supporter during my darkest times and has worked endlessly for months to combat the harm that has been done to me and my reputation.”
D’Amico now is helping expand the efforts begun by the CCRLP.
She has discussed her work on television and was invited by the attorney general of California to join that state’s Cyber Exploitation Task Force. That task force’s work has led to the implementation of important cyber-harassment policies by tech giants such as Google and Microsoft. In October, D’Amico was named a founding member of the Advisory Board of New York Law School’s Tyler Clementi Internet Safety Institute.
D’Amico, a graduate of the Fordham University School of Law in New York, has received numerous honors, including, in 2015, the Daily Business Review’s Attorney of the Year, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Difference Maker Award, and the K&L Gates Pro Bono Service Award.
“When I thought I was alone,” another victim wrote, “God sent me angels in the form of CCRLP.”