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Miami-Dade FAWL honored by Lawyers for Children America

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Lawyers for Children America’s Child Advocacy Awards Luncheon
THOSE ATTENDING THE Lawyers for Children America’s 17th Annual John Edward Smith Child Advocacy Awards Luncheon included, from the left, Bar President-elect Michael Higer; Adam Haimo, LFCA board chair; ABA President-elect Hilarie Bass; Ardith Bronson; Carolyn Salisbury, director of LFCA; Kelly Peña; and Bar President Bill Schifino.

Miami-Dade FAWL honored by Lawyers for Children America

Lawyers for Children America, a nonprofit organization based in Miami, established an award to honor the memory of one of its main founders, the late Janet Reno, which it presented at LFCA’s 17th Annual John Edward Smith Child Advocacy Awards Luncheon on December 15.

LFCA recruits, trains, and supports volunteer lawyers to provide pro bono legal representation to abused and abandoned children in the child welfare system. LFCA presented its inaugural Janet Reno Outstanding Community Partner Award to the Miami-Dade Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers for assisting LFCA to recruit additional pro bono lawyers for teen girls who are in foster care or are victims of human trafficking.

At the luncheon, LFCA also presented its Pro Bono Child Advocacy Awards to lawyers from Holland & Knight, McDermott Will & Emery, Bilzin Sumberg, Morgan Lewis, and DLA Piper. Florida Bar President Bill Schifino and American Bar Association President-elect Hilarie Bass spoke at the luncheon and helped LFCA present the awards, along with Florida Bar President-elect Michael Higer and Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.

As the former Miami-Dade State Attorney and United States Attorney General, Reno helped launch LFCA in 1995 at a bipartisan ceremony she hosted in the Great Hall of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., and she was the first keynote speaker at LFCA’s first annual luncheon in Miami 17 years ago.

LFCA’s luncheon is named in memory of the late John Edward Smith, who was a partner at the former Miami law firm of Steel Hector & Davis, where Reno was the first female partner and which housed LFCA for many years. Smith was Reno’s lawyer for her confirmation hearings for attorney general. During that time, they worked together with the White House Counsel for President Bill Clinton, Lloyd Cutler, and other leaders to establish LFCA as a bipartisan initiative to serve dependent children.

In Florida, which is one of a small number of states where all foster children do not receive government-funded attorneys, LFCA fills a critical void by providing children with pro bono lawyers to represent them. Since its inception in Florida, LFCA has recruited, trained, and supported over 1,500 pro bono lawyers who have represented over 3,000 dependent children. Annually, LFCA’s volunteer attorneys and their law firms provide over $1 million of pro bono legal assistance to abused and neglected children in Florida.

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