Richard C. Milstein Pro Bono Excellence Award – Jordi Guso – Mr. Guso, an attorney at Berger Singerman for over 20 years, has earned a reputation for being a top bankruptcy lawyer, representing debtors, official committees, and secured creditors in the areas of Bankruptcy, Insolvency, and Debtor-Creditor Relations. A firm believer in expanded access to justice for all, Mr. Guso has a long history of taking pro bono cases and is deeply respected for being a trusted advisor who has translated his bankruptcy expertise into pro bono work benefiting those who are on the brink of losing their financial stability, credit and homes. For decades, he has passionately accepted countless Chapter 7 & 13 cases for indigent, low-income, disabled elders, hurricane survivors and Veterans in financial distress, leads monthly pro se clinics for indigent debtors, and mentors dozens of law students, embracing the firm’s core values to support the delivery of legal services to those of limited means. He has achieved significant results for his pro bono clients who would otherwise be unable to navigate the legal system and demonstrates leadership and initiative that serve as inspiration to other members of the firm. A long time champion of Put Something Back, he is the 20th Recipient of the Richard C. Milstein Pro Bono Excellence Award named after Mr. Milstein for his remarkable leadership and devotion, serving as a role model, advocate, mentor and friend to Put Something Back and the community throughout his distinguished career.
Adoption Pro Bono Award – Francia Cabral – Ms. Cabral, an associate at the preeminent family law and divorce practice group, Buckner, Shifrin, Etter, Duggan & Bradfute, P.A., is a devoted family lawyer. She was drawn to family law by her passion for children’s issues and desire to help clients resolve complex legal issues during deeply personal and emotionally trying times. Over the past year she has handled three complex adoption cases for indigent clients. Her diligent work paid off in ensuring the continuity of a stable loving family environment for these innocent children.
BankruptcyPro Bono Award – Robert Pereda – Mr. Pereda, a partner with the Miami Bankruptcy Group and years of experience handling Chapter 7 & 13 cases, debt settlement and modifications, does not have the word “No” as a part of his vocabulary. He has represented over a dozen bankruptcy clients last year and has pledged to take more! Whenever we call upon him and ask him to help a debtor in need of a fresh start, he is always available to assist, day or night, and on weekends, as needed, to accommodate clients’ schedules.
Child Advocacy Award – Sara Courtney Baigorri – Ms. Courtney Baigorri, a partner with The Courtney Law Firm, is an exemplary child advocate diligently who has represented 19 children who were abused, abandoned, neglected, aging out of the foster care system and/or in contested custody cases. In one noteworthy case, she has been zealously advocating for her client, a victim of human sex trafficking, for nearly three years filing numerous motions and attending dozens of hearing and meetings. Ms. Courtney Baigorri has significantly impacted the life of this 18 year old victim trying to find her footing to live independently as a young adult. There have been many barriers to overcome for this young adult but she has found great comfort in knowing Ms. Courtney Baigorri is there to help her and advocate for her.
Family Law Pro Bono Award – Maria Cristina Gonzalez – A sole practitioner with offices in South Miami, Ms. Gonzalez formerly worked at Legal Aid as a Staff Attorney where she handled complex divorce, paternity, and temporary relative custody cases for indigent clients including vulnerable low-income women with children and families in need. Ms. Gonzalez, a diligent and dedicated attorney, continues to serve the voiceless and has taken so many pro bono cases in her private practice over the past few years it is as if she were still a staff attorney in our office!
Not-for-Profit Pro Bono Award – Julie Harris Nelson– A partner with the diverse and growing litigation firm of Roig Lawyers with six offices throughout Florida, Ms. Harris Nelson goes above and beyond to give back to the community. A board member of DCBA and Dade Legal Aid’s Advisory Committee, she tirelessly performs community service benefiting a wide range of diverse and deserving nonprofits including: Jack and Jill of America, Inc., Miami Chapter, Gwen S. Cherry Bar Association, The Miami Bridge, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. to name a few. In addition to serving on various boards, Harris Nelson handles insurance defense cases involving fraud as well as a host of pro bono matters for multi-generational families in need.
Probate Pro Bono Award – Paul Stanton– A sole practitioner, former Staff Attorney with the IRS and community leader, Mr. Stanton has been a reliable volunteer for decades. In the past couple of years alone, he has taken on 14 Probate administration matters for a variety of indigent and low income individuals and families in need of assistance. We salute Mr. Stanton and his firm and colleagues in the probate bar are true champions of justice for all for breaking poverty barriers to equal justice for all.
Real Estate Pro Bono Award – Adrian Acosta– Mr. Acosta was born in Little Havana and practices criminal law, civil litigation, title services, and family law. Prior to co-founding Acosta & Lichter, P.A., he gained a wealth of experience working as a paralegal at one of Miami’s premier firms, honing his legal research skills under the supervision of one of Miami’s most skilled attorneys. After graduating law school, he joined the firm as an associate where he has been a consistent volunteer with PSB. A member of Class V of our Leadership Academy, Mr. Acosta has assisted many clients in preparation of Deeds in order to help with their various real estate needs. “I do pro bono work because it gives me a sense of purpose and makes me genuinely happy. The happiness that comes from my pro bono cases is contagious and affects others in a positive manner whether it is the clients, clerks or judges themselves. Not only do I get to help people I never met, I also get to make new friends and help others in their darkest times.”
Volunteer Lawyer for the Arts Pro Bono Award – Grant Levine– Mr. Levine, an associate at Greenberg Traurig, focuses his practice on advising public companies from various industries on corporate and securities law matters, including public company SEC reporting compliance and corporate governance. No matter how busy he is, Mr. Levine is always eager to assist emerging artists and arts group in South Florida’s thriving cultural community. He has expended 36 hours serving as pro bono counsel on behalf of a pro bono client’s manuscript, reviewing documents and negotiating a favorable publisher’s agreement for his client.
Wills on Wheels Pro Bono Award – Duane Morris LLP – For years, the dedicated attorneys with Duane Morris have spent thousands of hours assisting a wide range of individuals and nonprofits on a pro bono basis locally, regionally and internationally. In honor of Veteran’s Day, their dedicated attorneys in Miami and Boca Raton annually give back to the Veteran community in alignment with the firm’s mission to serve others. They travel to various Veterans Affairs Centers and Hospitals to assist Veterans in need of Estate Planning matters as part of “Wills on Wheels,” created by Put Something Back in 1993. “From drafting Wills and Living Wills to Health Care Surrogates and Power of Attorneys, the Veterans we serve have peace of mind knowing their testamentary affairs are in order'” said Marsha G. Madorsky, Partner.
Outstanding Law Student – Isaac Broad – Mr. Broad, a second year student at Florida International University Law School was a summer intern with Put Something Back. He devoted many hours of his time assisting with client intake and the referral of pro bono cases. He worked diligently to ensure that clients were promptly paired with pro bono attorneys.
Patricia Redmond, Recipient, Tobias Simon Award
Elisa Damico, Recipient, Fla. Bar President Pro Bono Award
Jaime Rich Vining, Fla. Bar President Pro Bono Award
Rich Malafy, Fla. Bar President Pro Bono Award
Alvin Lindsay, Hogan Lovells LLP, Getting a Jump Start on Pro Bono
Stephanie Carman, Hogan Lovells LLP Leadership Academy
Idalberto “Bert” De Armas, IBERIABANK The Florida Bar Foundation