Of Counsel - Florida Law
Bono Fide - Florida's Pro Bono Stars
The Bar is pushing attorneys to donate more hours, but the going is slow.
Honor: Pro Bono Service Award, 18th Judicial Circuit
Pro Bono Work: Kramer, whose firm handles business, civil litigation, real estate and family law cases, helped to establish the Foreclosure Legal Clinic in Seminole County that gives free legal advice to low-income residents. His pro bono work includes helping more than 50 homeowners deal with foreclosure issues.
Motivation: “I’ve had people help me out lots of times in my life, and I feel like I’m returning the favor. It’s kind of our duty as attorneys to help out other people. It’s our duty as people. The reward is feeling good about helping somebody out.”
Honor: Pro Bono Service Award, 15th Judicial Circuit
Pro Bono Work: Berry, whose practice focuses on civil litigation, labor and real estate law, donates 200 hours a year to local groups and children aging out of foster care.
Motivation: “The attorneys who do pro bono work, they do it because they think it’s the right thing to do.”
Honor: Pro Bono Service Award, 4th Judicial Circuit
Pro Bono Work: Using his skills as a transactional attorney, Lotzia — who typically works for developers — has donated hundreds of hours to community development corporations seeking to build projects in low-income areas of Jacksonville. One example is North Point I, a mixed-use development in the city’s northwest side.
Motivation: “Quite frankly, we’re coming through a downturn where I had some extra hours to contribute. The firm was happy to let me do it, and I was happy to do it. The award says ‘Emerson Lotzia,’ but it really should say ‘Foley & Lardner’ because there are a lot of people here who helped me with these projects.”
Honor: Pro Bono Service Award, 7th Judicial Circuit
Pro Bono Work: A child and family law attorney, Schmidt-Alpers devotes her pro bono work to helping victims of domestic violence. She has spent more than 12 years representing victims at the Betty Griffin House, St. Johns County Legal Aid’s domestic violence shelter.
Motivation: “You see some of the saddest stories you can possibly imagine. These people are marrying someone they love and then this person is hurting them or isolating them or controlling them or threatening them, and they don’t feel like they can leave. It’s bad for the kids. If you can help someone get out of that situation — and to them that seems like a monumental task — then you’re really doing something.”