Palm Beach County attorneys honored for pro bono work
Palm Beach County attorneys who went above and beyond to provide pro bono legal services were recently recognized by the 15th Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee.
The group’s inaugural Pro Bono Awards Pinning Ceremony and Ice Cream Social — hosted in conjunction with the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County — was held in the ceremonial courtroom of the main courthouse in West Palm Beach.
There were more than 100 attendees, including 20 judges, former Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente, and Florida Bar President John Stewart. Several speakers expressed gratitude to the award winners for their dedication to pro bono advocacy and encouraged others to take on pro bono cases. Pariente and Stewart spoke about the importance of pro bono work and individually pinned the award winners.
“I am thrilled to be part of this inaugural pro bono pinning ceremony,” Pariente said. “I hope you know how much you are appreciated for what you have done to make a difference in the lives of your clients through your advocacy.”
Stewart said Florida lawyers contributed 1.6 million hours of pro bono services to people in need and donated $6.2 million to legal aid organizations in Fiscal Year 2018-19.
“In every single pro bono case, they are making a difference in somebody’s life, helping a family and giving hope,” Stewart said.
Fifteenth Circuit Chief Judge Krista Marx emphasized how “volunteering improves not only mental health and well-being, but also provides physical health as well.”
Pro Bono Committee Chair Judge Samantha Schosberg Feuer discussed the need for more attorneys to handle more pro bono cases, citing that while “over 3 million people in Florida are in need of pro bono legal services, only 20% of those people receive them.”
“No matter what may be going on in your professional or personal lives, you all have made a commitment to take the time to assist those in our society who need us the most and that dedication cannot be overstated,” said Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division President Santo DiGangi.
Anne Hinds, an attorney recognized for donating more than 100 hours of pro bono services, explained that while she realizes her volunteerism makes a difference in the lives of the children she represents, it is the children who make a significant difference in her life and “you actually get more than you give.”
Those who provided more than 100 hours of pro bono included Hinds of Schwartz|White Attorneys at Law; Vicki Krusel of Vicki Tucci Krusel PLLC, Attorney at Law; Lawrence Moncrief; Jay Mussman of Day Pitney; Michael Stern; and Holly Tabernilla.
Those that provided between 50 to 99 hours included Richard Abedon; Jonathan Burns of JB Law; Grant Gisondo of the Law Offices of Grant J. Gisondo; Jason Lazarus of Pankauski Hauser; and Donia Roberts of Donia Adams Roberts, P.A.
Those recognized for providing between 20 to 49 pro bono hours included Alex Alijewicz of Alex Alijewicz, CPA, P.A.; Darryl Figueroa of Darryl P. Figueroa, Esquire; Richard Kleid; Deena McNamara of McNamara & McNamara; and Terry Verduin.
Several voluntary bars sponsored the event, including the Palm Beach County Bar Association, the Palm Beach County Hispanic Bar Association, the Malcolm Cunningham Bar Association, the Palm Beach County Justice Association, Florida Association of Women Lawyers Palm Beach County, and the South Palm Beach County Bar Association. The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division and the Florida Pro Bono Coordinators Association provided the funding for the pro bono recognition pins.