Jean-Pierre Coy honored with G. Kirk Haas Humanitarian Award
A Southwest Florida lawyer who fought for clients in court and performed countless hours of Bar service while suffering a life-threatening illness, is the latest recipient of the G. Kirk Haas Humanitarian Award.
Addressing the 2020 Annual Convention via video-taped message, President John Stewart named Theresa Jean-Pierre Coy, founder of Jean-Pierre Coy, P.A., as the 2020 recipient.
“This Tampa lawyer, who also teaches classes at her alma mater — Stetson Law School — and who is a former assistant public defender, is the epitome of personal and professional courage and of dedicated service to the legal community,” Stewart said.
Stewart recounted how the 39-year-old breast cancer survivor, mother of a young toddler, and wife of a prosecutor soldiered through searing back pain to complete jury selection in a client’s federal drug trafficking conspiracy trial.
After court that day, Jean-Pierre Coy went to Moffitt Cancer Center for tests, only to learn the next day that her inflammatory breast cancer had spread to her bones, resulting in a spinal fracture, Stewart said.
“Theresa finished that trial, but it was far from her final act, even though this cancer required more chemotherapy and radiation, and, again, surgery,” Stewart said.
The award honors the memory of former Florida Bar member Kirk Haas, who practiced law in Miami until his death in 1987. Haas was noted for his humanity and legal ethics as well as his skill and professionalism, Stewart said.
The G. Kirk Haas award was established in 1998 by former Bar President Edward Blumberg to recognize a Florida Bar member for his or her meritorious service to the profession.
Award recipients select a Florida law school that in turn awards a scholarship to a student who demonstrates “an exceptionally high degree of integrity, ethics, professionalism, and a concern for others,” Stewart said.
A self-professed fighter and “Bar junkie” who credits faith in God for her hope, and many mentors for her love of giving back, Jean-Pierre Coy represents the best of the Haas tradition, Stewart said.
“Theresa is a former president of the George Edgecomb Bar Association and, earlier this year, she co-chaired the Solo and Small Firm Section’s annual conference, its largest event of the year,” Stewart said. “Theresa speaks out about her health challenges so that other lawyers will learn from her experiences and take their health and wellness seriously.”