Foley’s Tampa office and Managing Partner Mark Wolfson were featured in a Tampa Bay Business Journal
article, "How one Tampa law firm landed the state’s highest pro bono honor
," about their award-winning commitment to pro bono service.
The Tampa office was chosen to receive the 2019 Florida Chief Justice’s Law Firm Commendation for Pro Bono Service Award, which annually recognizes a firm that has made a significant contribution to the provision of pro bono legal services to individuals and organizations that otherwise cannot afford such services. Foley’s Tampa attorneys have performed nearly 6,000 hours of pro bono work on behalf of countless bay area clients and projects in the past few years, nearly a third of it through the Volunteer Lawyers Program of Bay Area Legal Services, which provides pro bono transactional legal assistance to nonprofit organizations that serve the poor.
Wolfson spoke of his – and the firm’s – legendary commitment to pro bono during a Feb. 7, 2019, ceremony at the Florida Supreme Court in Tallahassee, Fla., where he accepted the award on behalf of his Tampa colleagues from Chief Justice Charles T. Canady.
Wolfson said the firm encourages its lawyers to do more pro bono work by allowing them to log some of their donated time as billable hours. One-hundred percent of the firm’s lawyers participate in some form of pro bono service.
“We’re committed to [pro bono] as a law firm because it’s part of our culture,” he said.
Wolfson said every hour of pro bono work a lawyer does contributes to the administration of justice and benefits the entire state. It also gives new attorneys valuable experience in different aspects of the law and teaches them to have greater empathy for their clients.
“That’s how every lawyer should treat a pro bono client, “ he said. “No different than their million-dollar client. The same empathy, same respect, same consideration.”
Wolfson said there are many ways lawyers can contribute to their communities. But while financial contributions to worthy causes are important, he said, “directly and positively impact[ing] the life of someone less fortunate “ is among the most rewarding.