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Getting a Head Start on Pro Bono Celebrates 12 Years!

This summer, Hogan Lovells US LLP is hosting the 12th annual “Getting a Head Start on Pro Bono” Program. Over twelve years ago, two associates, Carmen Cartaya and Clayton Solomon, met Karen Ladis of Dade Legal Aid at a charity event where they came up with the idea of having a summer event for summer associates and law clerks at participating Miami firms. The idea of the event was to introduce summer associates to the importance of including pro bono work as part of their careers.
The event started as a lunch presentation. Judges and even former pro bono clients came to speak about how meaningful it was to have a lawyer handling their case. In more recent years, the event became an evening reception that celebrated pro bono with  a cocktail reception and great networking with the newest generation of lawyers from Miami’s most outstanding law firms. As always, the event features a group of selfless judges who come to freely share their own thoughts and impressions of the importance of pro bono work.
The tenth anniversary of the event coincided with some rather unprecedented world events. Rather than postpone or cancel, once again, Hogan Lovells and Dade Legal Aid worked together in order to celebrate the decade anniversary of the event by hosting an entirely virtual event with a star-studded game of Pro Bono Jeopardy! The event had a huge turnout of attendees that included over 80 students and summer associates from fantastic firms, in addition to numerous judges and Florida Bar dignitaries such as Steve Davis, as well as Bob Josefsberg (who happened to be the answer to one of the Jeopardy questions) and Patricia Redmond, both are former Tobias Simon Award Recipients. The program was fun, entertaining, and really sent home the pro bono message. For the Pro Bono Jeopardy game, retired Judge Stan Blake was the host. The three contestants were: Florida Bar President Dori Foster-Morales, Third District Court of Appeal Judge Ed Scales, and Federal District Judge Roy Altman. Alvin Lindsay, the Pro Bono Chairman for the Miami Office of Hogan Lovells, who narrated the program and even performed the voice of “Johnny” – introducing the host and various contestants as well as Karen Ladis, the Executive Director of Dade Legal Aid. In addition, then Chief Judge Bertila Soto of the 11th Judicial Circuit made a special guest appearance, as did Carmen Cartaya, who is now a trial attorney at the EEOC, and Clayton Solomon, who is now a trial attorney with the DOJ in DC. The “Jeopardy”  script and board were run by Hogan Lovells’ Victoria DeBayle, who coordinated the event for many years.
While Judge Altman won the game based on number of points, all of the contestants were winners for making the game so fun and engaging for all of those watching and for speaking so eloquently on the importance of pro bono work. Many past attendees are now practicing attorneys who are volunteering to take on pro bono work with Put Something Back Pro Bono Project thanks to the inspiration of Hogan Lovells annual event. 
Now we are back in person, for our twelfth annual event, where we will be enjoying conversations with judges on the importance of pro bono.  Summer associates may email Karen Ladis to attend this summer’s event.  
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