Eleven Tampa Attorneys Recognized for Pro Bono Service

15 March 2010 Media Contact: Jill Chanen News

Eleven attorneys in Foley 's Tampa office were recognized by HAVE a Heart, Bay Area Legal Services and the Bay Area Volunteer Lawyers Program for significant pro bono service to the local community. In addition, Special Counsel Debra K. Smietanski and Associate Megan J. Ellis received individual awards. The individual awards recognize the efforts of Hillsborough County attorneys who have made exceptional pro bono contributions.

Ms. Smietanski, a member of the firm's Estates & Trusts Practice, received an award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service on the Case Referral Panel, handling probate, guardianship and estate planning matters. "The rewards of pro bono work extend far beyond merely meeting our annual obligation," Ms. Smietanski noted. "Pro bono cases are among the most personally fulfilling work I've been fortunate to handle." Ms. Ellis, a member of the firm's Real Estate Practice, received an award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service for her work with the Family Forms Clinic, assisting pro se litigants in divorce, custody and child support cases.

The following attorneys were recognized for their 2009 pro bono contributions:

  • James R. Spoor (Gold Award - over 100 pro bono hours)
  • Marina A. Choundas (Silver Award - 50 to 99 pro bono hours)
  • Nathaniel M. Lacktman (Silver Award)
  • Megan A. Odroniec (Silver Award)
  • Anthony M. Rodriguez (Silver Award)
  • Walter "Chet" Little (Bronze Award - 20 to 49 pro bono hours)
  • Olin Shivers (Bronze Award)
  • Kevin Shuler (Bronze Award)
  • Albert Silva (Bronze Award)

The Florida Supreme Court encourages attorneys to annually donate 20 hours of pro bono assistance or contribute a minimum of $350 to a legal services organization. Every attorney in Foley & Lardner's Tampa office participated in pro bono efforts, contributing a total of 2,700 hours of pro bono work in 2009 for an average of 73 hours per attorney.

The HAVE a Heart program, established by the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, encompasses most organized pro bono projects in Hillsborough County. Learn more about Bay Areal Legal Services and the Bay Area Volunteer Lawyers Program at www.bals.org.

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