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21 lawyers to receive pro bono awards

By Staff | Jan 14, 2010

The Florida Bar will recognize 21 lawyers for their work on behalf of poor and indigent clients at a Jan. 28 ceremony at the Florida Supreme Court.
In 2008-09, Florida lawyers provided 1,545,157 hours of pro bono services to those in need and $4,443,830 to legal aid organizations.
Kathleen C. Passidomo of Naples was recognized for the Twentieth Judicial Circuit, which includes Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee.
Passidomo is a partner/shareholder at Kelly Passidomo & Alba, LLP in Naples. Her principal area of practice is real estate. Passidomo contributed most of her pro bono service through the Legal Aid Service of Collier County-Collier Lawyers Care and the Collier County Foreclosure Task Force. Recognizing a looming crisis, Passidomo and other area attorneys mobilized the task force early in 2008. As one of the founders and lecturer in the task force’s educational programs, Ms. Passidomo has reached out to thousands in person and on video. She was also instrumental in developing “Matrix of Resources,” a comprehensive list of foreclosure assistance resources available in three languages to Collier County residents and via Internet.
The Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award was established in 1981. It is intended to encourage lawyers to volunteer free legal services to the poor by recognizing those who make public service commitments and to raise public awareness of the substantial volunteer services provided by Florida lawyers to those who cannot afford legal fees. President Jesse H. Diner, of Fort Lauderdale, will present the 2010 awards.
The award recognizes pro bono service in each of Florida’s 20 judicial circuits and one Florida Bar member practicing outside the state of Florida. It is presented annually in conjunction with the Tobias Simon Pro Bono Service Award, which is given by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of Florida. Awards recognizing pro bono contributions will also be presented for Distinguished Judicial Service, Law Firm Commendation, Voluntary Bar Association and Young Lawyer during the Jan. 28 ceremony.
By circuit, the 2010 recipients are: 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, Out of State Florida Bar Member.
Other award winners are:

Robert Steven Goldman
Second Judicial Circuit (Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty and Wakulla)

Robert Steven Goldman is a managing attorney at the law firm of Madsen Goldman and Holcomb LLP in Tallahassee. His principal areas of focus are state and local tax fields, including: audits, protests, litigation, rule making, tax planning and legislation. Mr. Goldman has been active doing pro bono works in conjunction with the Legal Aid Foundation of the Tallahassee Bar Association Inc. and with Legal Aid clients and Legal Aid Guardian Ad Litem. Even though Mr. Goldman is primarily a tax attorney, he has represented low-income clients in family law cases for more than 20 years. During his legal career, he has assisted more than 55 clients through the Legal Aid Foundation and numerous others in various avenues, accounting for more than 660 pro bono hours.

Monica Taibl
Third Judicial Circuit (Columbia, Dixie, Hamilton, Lafayette, Madison, Suwanee and Taylor)

Monica Taibl is both an assistant public defender and a sole practitioner in Madison. Ms. Taibl’s principal areas of practice are civil litigation, real estate, contracts, employment, deeds, foreclosures, dependency, guardianship, probate, wills, trusts, personal injury, bankruptcy and family law. Ms. Taibl’s pro bono contributions have been through participating at Three Rivers Legal Services Inc. in Lake City. She has accepted several pro bono cases in the areas of wills, real estate and family law. Committed to providing pro bono legal services to the poor with compassion and dedication, she is always willing to accept a referral even in an area of law she’s unfamiliar with.

Rebeccah Lee Beller
Fourth Judicial Circuit (Clay, Duval and Nassau)

Rebeccah Lee Beller is a partner at Beller & Bustamante, P.L., law firm in Jacksonville. Her principal areas of practice are probate and trust law, property, family and consumer law. A large portion of her pro bono service has been through work at Jacksonville Area Legal Aid (JALA). Ms. Beller’s representation of clients on a pro bono basis spans her 12 years in legal practice. She is also instrumental in training and supporting other pro bono attorneys through CLE seminars, including teaching elder law seminars. Serving the cause of the oppressed is what she lives and models, which explains her 160 hours of pro bono service in 2009.

Michael Jordan Cooper
Fifth Judicial Circuit (Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion and Sumter)

Michael Jordan Cooper is a sole practitioner in Ocala. Mr. Cooper’s principal areas of practice include real estate law, corporate and business law, wills and estates, personal injury, collections, real estate litigation, construction litigation and business litigation. Mr. Cooper primarily participates in two pro bono programs: Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida Volunteer Lawyers Project, and Foreclosure Legal Advice Clinics and Foreclosure Community Education Programs. He has also provided legal advice and pro se assistance in foreclosure legal advice clinics, sometimes providing full representation in particular cases.

William G. Bostick, Jr.
Sixth Judicial Circuit (Pasco and Pinellas)
Saint Petersburg

William G. Bostick, Jr. is a Martindale-Hubbell BV-rated sole practitioner in St. Petersburg. Mr. Bostick has made pro bono service a priority in his life for much of the last two decades by his work with The Community Law Program Inc.
He has been a volunteer with the program for nearly 15 years; and he has contributed a significant amount of time to providing free legal assistance to the poor by representing individual clients and participating in legal advice clinics in the areas of family law, general civil law and probate. A former colleague says that Mr. Bostick has never been there for the glory, but is there for the client, for the righteous cause and for his love of the law. He treats the pro bono client the same as paying clients, tirelessly preparing their cases and giving them the best representation possible.

Raven Elizabeth Sword
Seventh Judicial Circuit (Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns and Volusia)
Daytona Beach

Raven Elizabeth Sword is an attorney at Rice & Rose Law Firm in Daytona Beach. Her principal areas of practice currently are foreclosure and bankruptcy, but she also covered areas such as personal injury, commercial real estate, shareholder litigation and general contract disputes. In response to the foreclosure crisis, Ms. Sword volunteered at weekly foreclosure and bankruptcy legal advice clinics for the last year and a half. In 2009 alone, Ms. Sword gave more than 150 hours of pro bono legal services to the Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida’s Volunteer Lawyers Project. She was selected as “Pro Bono Guardian of the Year” at a recent event in her area.

Robert Anthony Rush
Eighth Judicial Circuit (Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Gilchrist, Levy and Union)

Robert Anthony Rush is a senior partner at Rush & Glassman in Gainesville. His principal areas of practice are civil rights, criminal defense and personal injury. Mr. Rush has contributed his legal expertise pro bono through the Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association. Mr. Rush has taken cases including: sexual misconduct by jail guards on a mentally ill inmate; an indigent young adult charged with drug crimes; and a teenager unlawfully attacked by a police K-9 dog. Defending disadvantaged people with disabilities and youth is important to him. Between 1990 and today, Mr. Rush has consistently taken on pro bono cases and has set an exemplary example for other attorneys.

Robert Lee Dietz
Ninth Judicial Circuit (Orange and Osceola)

Robert Lee Dietz is a board certified attorney at the law firm of Zimmerman Kiser & Sutaliffe, P.A., in Orlando. Mr. Dietz’ principal areas of practice are workers compensation, civil mediation and appellate practice. Mr. Dietz has performed a large portion of his pro bono work at the Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Inc., participating in its pro bono panel for more than 20 years, while additionally providing service as a Guardian Ad Litem for children in the juvenile dependency system over the last 23 years. He has used his skills as a litigator to free children from dangerous and harmful households. Cumulatively, he has donated more than 1,130 hours to Guardian Ad Litem pro bono work, and he even recruits other lawyers to do pro bono service.

Dana Yvonne Moore
Tenth Judicial Circuit (Hardee, Highlands and Polk)
Winter Haven

Dana Yvonne Moore is a sole practitioner at The Law Office of Dana Y. Moore LLC in Winter Haven. Ms. Moore’s principal areas of practice are general, civil, probate and criminal practice. Ms. Moore has showed a passion for supporting the community through pro bono service. For the Virgil Hawkins Bar Association, she conducts “know your rights” seminars and family law and will seminars for churches. The Statewide Guardian Ad Litem program utilizes her services as an Attorney Ad Litem and Guardian Ad Litem, while she covers family law adoption pro bono cases at Florida Rural Legal Services. Her spirit of volunteerism for disadvantaged children includes providing pro bono parenting classes for indigent parents and serving on the board of Healthy Start.

Gordon Charles Murray, Sr.
Eleventh Judicial Circuit (Dade)

Gordon Charles Murray, Sr. is a sole practitioner in Miami. Mr. Murray’s principal areas of practice are criminal law and family law. The veteran attorney of 24 years has done pro bono work personally and through the Cuban American Bar Association.
His pro bono caseload consists of the following: mortgage fraud, dissolution of marriage, guardianship, child support enforcement; Attorney ad Litem, Guardian Ad Litem, modification action, child relocation action, dispute over rental agreement, a minor’s permanent domestic restraining order against his father, and child custody.
In 2002, he accepted a voluntary attorney role with the Mental Health Association of Miami-Dade County. He has also been the volunteer attorney for the Women’s History Association of Miami-Dade County since 2003.

Larry Ronald Chulock
Twelfth Judicial Circuit (DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota)

Larry Ronald Chulock is a sole practitioner at Larry R. Chulock, P.A., in Bradenton. His principal areas of practice are marital and family law, banking and commercial litigation. Mr. Chulock has been active in pro bono service, primarily through Legal Aid of Manasota, Inc. He has been described as one of only a handful of attorneys who is willing to accept the most challenging cases and doesn’t limit his pro bono assistance to a single area. Some of his pro bono caseload has consisted of legal matters such as divorce, custody, visitation, child support and paternity. Mr. Chulock has been recognized under the Florida Supreme Court pro bono lapel pin project for donating more than 20 pro bono hours per year.

Caroline Kapusta Black
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit (Hillsborough)

Caroline Kapusta Black is a Martindale-Hubbell AV-rated partner with the law firm of Mason, Black, and Caballero, P.A. in Tampa. Ms. Black’s principal areas of practice are marital and family law, in which she has been board certified since 1995. Ms. Black has performed the majority of her pro bono work through two programs: The Bay Area Volunteer Lawyers Program and The Hillsborough County Bar Association. At The Bay Area Volunteer Lawyers Program, she handles client representation, client intake and mentoring; and at The Hillsborough County Bar Association, she established the Library Series, Peoples Law School, and the Series at Senior Centers.
Ms. Black also participates in the “Ask a Lawyer” program in conjunction with the Fox 13 TV station. She has donated nearly 343 hours to pro bono work.
Stephen Lee Romine
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit (Hillsborough)

Stephen Lee Romine is a Martindale-Hubbell AV-rated partner at Cohen, Foster, & Romine, P.A., in Tampa. His principal area of practice is criminal defense, in which he’s been a Florida Bar Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer since 1998. Mr. Romine has not participated in traditional legal aid society or local bar associations’ pro bono programs, but he has still made an indelible mark on his community through his pro bono service efforts. He has handled numerous pro bono cases on a personal and referral basis. He is a member of a host of organizations including: the Pinellas County and Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; the Hillsborough County and Clearwater Bar associations; and a guest speaker at educational institutes in his region. In total, Mr. Romine’s pro bono representation has exceeded more than 100 hours.

Timothy Michael Warner
Fourteenth Judicial Circuit (Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson and Washington)
Panama City

Timothy Michael Warner is a partner attorney at Warner & Wintrode, P.A., in Panama City. Mr. Warner’s principal areas of practice are civil law, probate and small government law. Mr. Warner has performed pro bono service all of his 25 years of practicing law, taking cases via referral, direct requests, Volunteer Attorney Ad Litem or Guardian Ad Litem. His pro bono caseload has entailed probate cases, estate planning, real estate transactions, dissolution of marriage, child custody, paternity and general civil topics. Throughout his legal career, he has contributed several hundred pro bono hours assisting countless individuals. To quote his award nominator, “Mr. Warner is an exemplary example of a selfless attorney who has consistently provided free legal assistance for less fortunate members of our community.”

Richard Lloyd Abedon
Fifteenth Judicial Circuit (Palm Beach)
West Palm Beach

Richard Lloyd Abedon is a retired attorney from Holland & Knight LLP in West Palm Beach. Mr. Abedon also served 22 years as a Probate Judge in Rhode Island. He has been a member of The Florida Bar since November 1959, and is a member of The Rhode Island Bar and Federal District Court Bar. Mr. Abedon has shown his dedication to pro bono service through his innumerable hours of assistance to the Legal Aid Society and to the underprivileged community by his outreach work at the Urban League of Palm Beach County. He serves as a director of a joint project between the Legal Aid Society and the Urban League of Palm Beach County that he started over six years ago. Over the past six years, Mr. Abedon has assisted literally hundreds of indigent individuals and provided well more than 2,000 hours of pro bono service.

Thomas Edward Woods
Sixteenth Judicial Circuit (Monroe)

Thomas Edward Woods is a sole practitioner at The Law Office of Tom Woods in Tavernier. Mr. Woods’ principal areas of practice are criminal, contract, family law, personal injury, UCC, employment discrimination and probate. Mr. Woods is a highly motivated pro bono contributor. Numerous children have benefited from his pro bono service through the Statewide Guardian Ad Litem and Voices for Florida Keys Children programs. Many of the cases that he has accepted have been difficult, requiring many hours and much effort. He gave well more than 3,000 hours of pro bono work to one particular case alone. He was awarded the 2008 Presidential Volunteer Service Award and the 2008 Unsung Hero Award from Voices For Florida Keys Children Inc. and GAL Volunteers.
Juliette Ellen Lippman
Seventeenth Judicial Circuit (Broward)
Fort Lauderdale

Juliette Ellen Lippman is a Martindale-Hubbell AV-rated partner at Kirschbaum, Birnbaum, Lippman & Gregoire, PLLC, in Fort Lauderdale. Her principal areas of practice are marital, family and appellate law. Ms. Lippman has eagerly participated in a plethora of pro bono programs including ones for the Department of Labor Division of Vocational Rehabilitation; Department of Education; Paralyzed Veterans Association; Broward Lawyers Care – Legal Aid Service of Broward County; Children’s Diagnostic and Treatment Center; Guardian Ad Litem; and other programs for the physically and mentally ill. One parent that she tirelessly helped in a Guardian Ad Litem affair said that she is passionate about children and families and does not let anything or anyone prevent her from finding what is needed. Her most intense passion is for helping children and those living with disabilities.

Scott Douglas Krasny
Eighteenth Judicial Circuit (Brevard and Seminole)

Scott Douglas Krasny is a Martindale-Hubbell AV-rated partner/shareholder at the law firm of Krasny & Dettmer in Melbourne. Mr. Krasny’s principal areas of practice are wills, trusts, estate planning, estate and trust administration and taxation, corporate and business law and real property transactions. The majority of Mr. Krasny’s pro bono work has been completed through the Brevard County Legal Aid Pro Bono Program. As president of the Brevard County Bar Association in 2002, he initiated projects aimed at mobilizing the unique skills attorneys offer to provide assistance to those in need. In recent years, Mr. Krasny has also provided more than 300 hours of assistance through BCLA’S Pro Bono Program to more than a dozen individual clients in need of help with probate, consumer and housing issues.

John Edward Moore, III
Nineteenth Judicial Circuit (Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee and St. Lucie)
Vero Beach

John Edward Moore, III is a managing partner at Rossway Moore & Taylor in Vero Beach. His principal areas of practice are estate planning, probate, trust administration, corporate and taxation. Mr. Moore is dedicated to his profession and is serious about his commitment to give back to his community and those in need of legal services. Some of his giving back is accomplished through his pro bono service at Florida Rural Legal Services. Many individuals have received his free assistance in the areas of real estate, probate, estate planning, dissolution of marriage and guardianships. Mr. Moore has personally provided more than 1,500 hours of pro bono services, and has overseen about 1,000 hours on projects for numerous notable places.

Kerry M. Donahue
Out-of-State Florida Bar Member
Dublin, Ohio

Kerry M. Donahue is a partner in private practice at Bellinger & Donahue, Attorneys at Law in Dublin, Ohio. Mr. Donahue’s principal areas of practice are civil litigation, criminal defense, and state and federal appellate work. Mr. Donahue has taken a hands-on approach with his pro bono work, and has personally assisted in many cases from beginning to completion. The largest and most extensive pro bono project that Mr. Donahue has participated in is the representation of the prostate cancer advocacy group, CareToLive. The organization’s plight is to help late-stage prostate cancer-ridden men, who have been denied access to a safe and effective immuno-therapy treatment in a timely manner. Over the last two and a half years, he has spent between 250 to 300 total hours of pro bono work on this case.