News & Notes

Welcome to our team!

Welcome to our team! This week, Alexander D Maza, a rising 2L at St. Thomas University College of Law, began his internship with Put Something Back. Mr. Maza received his Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Finance from Florida International University. He is grateful to have an internship at Dade Legal Aid – Put Something Back. He stated, “I know that this will be an enriching and rewarding experience. I am so excited for the opportunity to help people in need, especially those impacted by the pandemic who are enduring additional hardship.” During his internship, Maza will be part of the team that screens potential clients for eligibility, matches clients with pro bono attorneys and conducts research on individual cases. “I look forward to being exposed to many areas of law that Dade Legal Aid focuses on including family law, housing, and bankruptcy.”

Dade Legal Aid Launched Class VI of its 2021 Leadership Academy

Amidst a pandemic, Dade Legal Aid launched Class VI of the Dade Legal Aid (“DLA”) Leadership Academy bringing together young leaders of our community whose distinguished resumes reflect their accomplishments as well as their concerns for the profession.  They have excelled in their areas of practice, accepted pro bono cases, hosted events, and pledged to do more for the community.  The goals of the Academy are to enhance the members’ leadership skills and civic engagement by connecting Fellows with Legal Leaders of influential firms, members of the judiciary and clients in need. During the year, will develop a deeper understanding about issues facing Dade Legal Aid clients and the indigent in our community.  Meet our 2021 Fellows:

  • Pheonix Barker, Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell, P.A.
  • Beau BlumbergDeutsch, Blumberg & Caballero, P.A.
  • Frank FlorioGunster
  • Brianna HathawayJones Day
  • Freddy KastenRumberger, Kirk & Caldwell, P.A.
  • Eric KayKozyak Tropin Throckmorton LLP
  • Klugy MathurinHolland & Knight 
  • Kayla MosqueraHamilton, Miller & Birthisel, LLP
  • Karissa PeraltaFlorida Guardian ad Litem Program
  • Alex PerezDade Legal Aid
  • Michael’s Deborah Saint-Vil,Catholic Legal Services, Inc.
  • Kimberly SlavenZebersky Payne Shaw Lewenz, LLP
  • Jeremy SolorzanoSolorzano Law PLLC 
  • Nathalie SosaWeil, Gotshal, & Manges LLP
  • Mahalaxmi SubramanianReorg Research, Inc.
  • Ingrid Benson-VillegasWalton Lantaff Schroeder & Carson LLP

Dade Legal Aid (“DLA”) provides a critical safety net of legal services for the indigent of Miami-Dade County in the areas of Family Law, Domestic Violence, Guardianship, Children & Foster Youth Advocacy, Bankruptcy, Housing, Foreclosure Defense, Probate, Nonprofits, Legal Clinics for the Self Represented, Venture Law, Taxation, CLE Educational Trainings and Community Workshops. For more information, please contact Stephanie Grosman, Staff Attorney, at 305-579-5733 ext. 2224 or



Congratulations to the Honorable Gilberto Perez, Former Legal Aid Attorney, on his appointment to the Circuit Court Bench in the 20th Judicial Circuit in Ft. Myers. Gilbert began his public interest care while at law school during a program where law students were sent to urban cities such as Miami to learn about public interest law over the Christmas break. As a native of Miami, Gilbert selected Miami and came to the agency. Upon graduation from Notre Dame Law School in 1993, Gilbert returned to Legal Aid as a Family Law Staff Attorney.

“Legal Aid was my first job and set me on the path to public service.”

He later moved to Ft. Myers and opened his own practice, becoming Board Certified in Family Law. In 2015, he was appointed as a General Magistrate and on September 23, 2020, he was appointed as the newest Circuit Court Judge in the 20th Judicial Circuit , filling his lifelong dream.


STAY TUNED FOR 2021 BATTLE OF THE LEGAL BANDS! The next Battle of the Legal Bands will be held in 2021 as soon as it is safe to do so in order to ensure the health and well being of all of our sponsors, bands, staff and fans. Like past year, this epic event will be held at an outdoor event where we will rock out with South Florida’s leading rock star bands, judges, lawyers and groupies gathering for Dade Legal Aid. Stay tuned for details about the event that will feature talented lawyer rock bands. To sponsor please email To join the Band Together for Legal Aid Committee email

In celebration of Legal Aid’s 70th birthday, Honorable Richard Suarez served as Master of Ceremonies and kicked off the festivities by welcoming guests and introducing CRAZY TALK, a high energy rock and roll dance band featuring Circuit Court Judge Spencer Multack on guitar, Steven Paulson, Dade Legal Aid Domestic ViolenceAttorney on drums and vocals, Bart Garratt on keyboards, Vicky Cabrera on vocals, Mark Ochoa on bass, and Manny Sardina on guitar. Following their performance, Judge Yvonne Colodny,Administrative Judge, Probate Division, recognized the dedicated staff of Dade Legal Aid and thanked the Guardianship teamfor their assistance and dedication in helping nearly 1,000 low income families in need of Guardianship services each year. She also recognized every lawyer in Miami-Dade who helps the Court by “Putting Something Back” and taking casesin every division

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Judge Martin Zilber, Circuit Judge, encouraged all guests to get involved and take a pro bono case. He then introduced THE URGE, a rock cover band  comprised of Fred Fein a Partner with Clyde & Co, on lead vocals and guitar, Mark Meland, Partner at Meland Russin & Budwick, on lead vocals and bass, Dean Crews on lead guitar and vocals, and Frank Del Campillo on drums. 

Judge Suarez introduced CHILLABLE HOURS, which consists of 100% University of Miami Law School Alumni. CHILLABLE HOURSformed three years ago and features Jeff Kucera, a Partner with K&L Gateson Guitar, Joe Wasserkrug, an Associate with McDermott Will & Emery on Bass, Jordan Shaw, a Partner withZebersky Payne Shaw and Lewenzon Drums, Daniel Silver, an Associate with Gautier & Hasty, LLP, and Freddi Mack, Esq., on Vocals.

Judge Carrol Kelly, Administrative Judge in the Domestic Violence Division and Judge William Altfield discussed the importance of Dade Legal Aid’s work saving lives and introduced and recognized each of Dade Legal Aid’s attorneys from the various departments: FAMILY LAW, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, PRO BONO, CHILD ADVOCACY, HOUSING AND GUARDIANSHIP. They introduced FEEDBACK, whose guitarist and founding member David Axelman practices law at Bryan Cave LLP.  Feedback’s lineup is rounded out by Diego Espinosa on lead vocals, Nick Cabrera on bass, and Rocky Ricardo on drums.

Chief Judge Bertila Soto and Judge Gina Beovides, Associate Administrative Judge, County Court,  welcomed guests and dignitaries including future Miami-Dade County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava and introduced The 540s. Chief Judge Soto,  Judge Beovides and Commissioner Levine-Cava discussed what a difference Legal Aid, the Legal Aid Society and Put Something Back Staff and Pro Bono Volunteer Attorneys make in the lives of the impoverished in our community.  The Courts and County are  extremely grateful to the dedicated attorneys who assist indigent clients every day and help to provide access to justice to the neediest residents.  Each year, Dade Legal Aid serves over 5,000 clients impacting tens of thousands of individuals in all areas of law, Family Law, Guardianship, Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy for low income individuals. Judge Beovides, a former Dade Legal Aid Domestic Violence Staff attorney, recognized all of her former colleagues for their tireless efforts and recognized each staff member. 

THE 540s featuredCarlos H. Gamez, Assistant City Attorney with the Cityof Miami, on lead vocals and saxophone, Manuel Mesa, Principal at Mesa & Pepin LLC, on keyboards and background vocals, Mike Mesaon bass and background vocals, Rick Santos, Product Manager at DRIVEN/ONE DISCOVERY SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS on lead guitar and background vocals, Alejandro Herrera on drums and Christopher Green, Senior Assistant City Attorney at City of Miami, solo guitar.

LLP, final band for the evening, was introduced by Circuit Court Judges Alexander Bokor and Judge Vivianne Del Rio, who stated that pro bono assistance is greatly appreciated by the Court in Children’s and Civil matters.  LLP was established in 2015 by John E. Meagher, Esq. on guitar and vocalsand Frank A. Zacharl, Esq., on guitar and vocals, Partners with Shutts & Bowen LLP,  along with Joanne Meagher, vocals, Jose Godur, drums, and Damien Reynolds, bass guitar and vocals. Making their first appearance at Dade Legal Aid’s event, LLP is only getting warmed up in the South Florida music scene! 

The verdict is in! The evening was a huge success and Karen Ladis, Executive Directorthanked event co-chairs, Stephanie Grosman and Steve Paulson, the dedicated staff, guests, bands, judges, co-sponsoring organizations, venue, crew and generous sponsors for making this event possible. Ladis and Judge Suarez recognizedIBERIABANK and invited  Bert De Armas, Vice President,on stage to receive a plaque and recognition for IBERIABANK’s support and involvement in “Battle of the Bands” since its inception. Other long time loyal sponsors were recognized including:AKERMAN LLP, BILZIN SUMBERG, BAENA PRICE & AXELROD, BAST AMRON LLP, BOIES SCHILLER FLEXNER, CLYDE & CO, FOLEY & LARDNER, GREENSPOON MARDER, HOGAN LOVELLS US LLP, HOLLAND & KNIGHT, KL GATES, KOZYAK TROPIC THROCKMORTON, MELAND RUSSIN BUDWICK, MCDERMOTT WILL & EMERY, PANTER PANTER & SAMPEDRO, RATZAN LAW GROUP, RUMBERGER KIRK & CALDWELL, SHUTTS, STROOK and ZEBERSKY PAYNE SHAW LEWENZ.

Many distinguished judges, guests and dignitaries attended in support of Dade Legal Aid’s celebration and were recognized for their leadership in the community and support for Dade Legal Aid: COMMISIONER DANIELLA LEVINE CAVA, FLORIDA BAR PRESIDENT ELECT DORI FOSTER MORALES, CITY OF MIAMI BEACH MANAGER JIMMY MORALES, CITY OF KEY BISCAYNE FORMER MAYOR MAYRA LINDSEY, FLORIDA BAR BOARD OF GOVERNOR STEVE DAVIS, DADE COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT STEPHANIE CARMAN, WILKIE D. FERGUSON, JR. BAR ASSN. PRESIDENT MONIQUE HAYES, AND MIAMI-DADE FAWL PRESIDENT ELECT AND LEGAL AID ADVISORY BOARD MEMBER ELISA DAMICO. Also recognized and thanked were generous sponsors Freddie Mack, Esq., Ratzan & Faccidomo LLC, Foster Morales Sockel Stone, Phipps Reporting, Driven, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, LLP, Arts Business Council, Champion Legal, Bankruptcy Bar Association, Dade County Bar Association, DCBA Young Lawyers Section, Daily Business Review, Miami Dade FAWL, Wilkie D. Ferugson, Jr., Bar Association, Haitian Lawyers Association, Caribbean Bar, Gwen Cherry Bar, St. Thomas University School of Law, UMLawand many others…

The Host Committee was also thanked for their leadership: Stephanie Grosman and Steve Paulson, co-chairs, Mitch and Shari Panter, Alvin and Hon. Mayra Lindsey, Steve and Laurie Davis,  Steve and Susan Eisenberg, Elisa Damico, David and Joelle Josefsberg, Nicole Grimal Helmstetter, Monique D. Hayes, Mark Stein, Julie Harris Nelson, John Fulton, Jr., Bruce and Stacey Levine, Stu Weissman, Jude and Francis Faccidomo, Zach James, Zachariah Evangelista, Amber Kornreich, Dave Bixby, Josh Wintle, Rachel Gaspard, Mark Meland, David Axelman, Ariella Ederi and Austen Caraker. Special thanks to INSIDEOUT, ADAM’S FILLING STATION, ROASTERS, JOELLE’S DESSERTS, BAGEL EMPORIUM & GRILLE, CREPEMAKER, COLLINS SEAFOOD, & SUSHI MAKI for their hospitality. Ladis thanked the many lawyers for making a difference in the community and supporting Dade Legal Aid’s staff program and pro bono initiatives.  In the past year, Florida lawyers provided nearly 1.6 million hours of pro bono services to people in need.. For years, thousands of Miami attorneys and hundreds of Law Firm Partners have proudly filled their Oath of Admission through Dade Legal Aid and Put Something Back which began more than 70 years ago by members of the Dade County Bar Association who recognized in 1939 that there is a dire need to help the indigent and voiceless with nowhere else to turn to for help. 

Band Together

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