Spotlight on Bruce Levine, Esquire
Pro Bono Coordinator
Two words are synonymous in Miami Pro Bono Culture – Bruce Levine & Put Something Back. You may recall the first time you received a call or a letter from Bruce Levine asking you to take a case. He joined the team in 1992 shortly after Hurricane Andrew, on a grant from the Knight Foundation, and has remained a driving force in pro bono activities for the legal community ever since. He helped launch Dade Legal Aid’s Hurricane Andrew “We Will Rebuild” efforts from the fourth floor of the Dade County Bar Association building, focusing on contractor fraud, FEMA, mortgage foreclosure, insurance cases, and a Legal Hotline. He has screened and referred thousands of clients and pairs them with attorneys, law firms and law school clinics, arranging a wide variety of complimentary CLE training and other innovative recruitment tools. A respected member and past President of the statewide Florida Pro Bono Coordinators Association, Levine is known for extraordinary leadership, mentorship, and getting the job done. In recognition of his exemplary efforts he received the Kay Meyers Pro Bono Award. “Working with Bruce Levine in the Florida Pro Bono Coordinators Association for over 25 years has been wonderful. His professionalism and steadfast commitment to the principle of “Equal Justice for All” are an inspiration to everyone around him,” said Robert L. Johnson, Jr., Executive Director, Brevard County Legal Aid, Inc. Through Levine’s collaborations, he creates projects, trainings, materials and manuals that are used statewide. As the Pro Bono Coordinator for Put Something Back Pro Bono Project, the designated pro bono program for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit and Dade County Bar Association, he continues facilitating, despite Covid-19, direct pro bono civil legal services for low-residents, including children, foster teens, newcomers, first time homeowners, veterans, victims, the elderly, the defrauded, the disabled, artists and startups. As Pro Bono Coordinator, Levine spends a large amount of his time screening, evaluating, and pairing indigent clients in need with lawyers and law firm supporters who have been recruited to represent clients who are elderly, domestic violence victims, veterans, wheel chair bound, do not speak English and are referred by other agencies that are unable to assist them. He is also actively engaged with the greater legal community, having served as vice-chair the Dade County Alliance Against Domestic Violence, serving on the Dade County Anti-Defamation League Civil Rights Committee, and working with the local Arts Business Council, Inc. “In collaboration with the Arts and Business Council, Bruce is key to serving the legal needs of the arts community. He has great insight into the substantive legal issues confronting local artists and art groups and seeks imaginative and diverse ways in which to provide free legal services. He is compassionate, humble and a pleasure with which to work,” said prominent Entertainment Lawyer, Steven Eisenberg, Esq., of Eisenberg Lehman, PLLC, a past-president of the Dade County Bar Association Young Lawyers Section. Laura Bruney, President & CEO of the Arts & Business Council of Miami, said, “I have worked with Bruce for over a decade on Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts and Patent Pro Bono Florida. He is a change-maker and always open to challenges. Together, we have put on dozens of Legal Clinics for Creatives and matched 100+ artists, nonprofit arts groups and creative entrepreneurs with attorneys for vital legal assistance. Now more than ever, I look forward to working with Bruce and Dade Legal Aid to keep the arts in business following the devastating impact of the pandemic.”
Levine trains, coordinates and mentors attorneys, supervises volunteers, helps clients in need and matches them with lawyers who are “ready, willing and able” to assist. “He is thoughtful and informed, with a good sense of justice as well as humor; caring advocacy and inherent decency are the characteristics that come to mind when I think about Bruce Levine,” remarked Dennis G. Kainen, Esq., Weisberg Kainen Mark, PL, Past President of the Dade County Bar Association. Put Something Back handles thousands of cases annually thanks to a team that actively places over 100 pro bono cases with lawyers monthly. The success rate is due to innovations, technology, and dedicated partnerships with the DCBA, Young Lawyers Section, Bar committees, 100% Law Firms, Law schools, other voluntary bars, the courts, and other stakeholders. “We are truly blessed to work with so many dedicated and generous individual attorneys, firms and VBA’s throughout South Florida and are most thankful for the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives,” said Levine. “During the year, we recruit on average 400-500 new attorneys to refer cases to. Thanks to our leadership and long standing partnerships, we are able to train new and seasoned attorneys on cutting edge topics while achieving our goal of developing more volunteers for the escalating numbers of clients in need. With additional resources including technology, summer interns and post grad fellows, we keep referring more clients to volunteer lawyers.” said Mr. Levine.