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Section History & Awards

Section History

The Solo & Small Firm Section has undergone several name changes before settling on its current name. The Section's history can be traced back to 1971, when its ancestor was officially recognized by The Florida Bar.

In 1993, the Agricultural Law Committee was merged into the Section. Since that merger, the Section has continued to present seminars involving issues of agricultural law.

In 2007, the Practice Management and Development Section was merged into the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Section. Since that merger, the Section has carried on PMDS's focus on practice management issues.

The Section officially became known as the Solo & Small Firm Section, The Florida Bar, in 2016.

As presently constituted, the Section's mission is as follows:

  1. to assist the board of governors when called upon, in the implementation and promotion of the policies and objectives of The Florida Bar;
  2. to enhance the skill of the general practice, solo and small firm as well as the lawyer who has interests beyond the boundaries of a single professional specialty, by providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and information essential to improvement of the lawyer's quality of legal service.
  3. to provide an organization within The Florida Bar open to members in good standing having an interest in the economics of law practice; and
  4. to provide a forum for discussion and exchange of ideas leading to the improvement and development of the fields of economics of law practice and delivery of legal services, and to serve the public generally and The Florida Bar in interpreting and carrying out the professional needs and objectives in these fields.

Each year, a member of the Executive Council serves as Chair of the Section. The following is a list of members who have served as Chair of the GPSSF Section throughout its existence:

  • 2016-17 - Jennifer A. Dietz
  • 2015-16 - Damon C. Glisson
  • 2014-15 - Teresa Byrd Morgan
  • 2013-14 - Kevin Johnson
  • 2012-13 - Linda S. Calvert-Hanson
  • 2011-12 - Frank E. Maloney, Jr.
  • 2010-11 - Kirk N. Kirkconnell
  • 2009-10 - Peggy Hoyt
  • 2008-09 - Ana M. Veliz
  • 2007-08 - Jack Merritt
  • 2006-07 - Michael T. Olexa
  • 2005-06 - Linzie Bogan
  • 2004-05 - Judge Marvin Gillman
  • 2003-04 - Linda Barnaby
  • 2002-03 - Jack Bettman
  • 2001-02 - Charles Kane
  • 2000-01 - Craig Ferrante
  • 1999-2000 - C. Neil Gregory
  • 1998-99 - Dykes C. Everett
  • 1997-98 - L. Michael Roffino
  • 1996-97 - Timothy S. Shaw
  • 1995-96 - Carla Suggs Matthews
  • 1994-95 - Gerald B. Curington
  • 1993-94 - Frank D. Hall
  • 1992-93 - Steven David Hutton
  • 1991-92 - Jesus Modesto Hevia
  • 1990-91 - Lewis Hamilton Hill, III
  • 1989-90 - David A. Donet
  • 1988-89 - Dean Clinton Kowalchyk
  • 1987-88 - Stephen Charles Page
  • 1986-87 - Jack Owen Hackett, II
  • 1985-86 - George O. Wilson
  • 1984-85 - Nancy Anne Young Smith
  • 1983-84 - Ladd Hiram Fassett
  • 1982-83 - Wynn Thomas
  • 1981-82 - William A. Jacob

Awards

The Section presents four major awards each year. A description of each is provided below, along with a list of past winners.

Mentor of the Year Award

The Solo & Small Firm Section established this award in 2016 to recognize an outstanding Florida-licensed attorney who has shown remarkable achievements in the area of mentorship to younger attorneys and/or law students in Florida. The award honor an outstanding lawyer who has demonstrated above-and-beyond efforts to achieve a high standard of professionalism in the delivery of mentorship.

Mentor of the Year Award Recipients

  • 2016 Dr. Michael T. Olexa, 2016 Mentor of the Year.

Tradition of Excellence Award

In 1993, the General Practice Section of The Florida Bar initiated the Tradition of Excellence award. This prestigious award was developed to honor recipients whose efforts throughout that year have been beneficial to The Bar and specifically to the general practitioner, and is intended to encourage participation by all Bar members in activities that benefit the general practitioner and the community at large.

Tradition of Excellence Award Recipients

  • 2016 Carl Schwait – Eighth Judicial Circuit, The Florida Bar, Board of Governors
  • 2015 Frank E. Maloney, Jr. - Past Chair, General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Section
  • 2014 John F. Harkness, Jr. – Executive Director, The Florida Bar
  • 2013 John F. Harkness, Jr. – Executive Director The Florida Bar
  • 2012 Edwin Browning, Jr. – Former Chief Judge, First District Court of Appeals
  • 2011 Peggy Hoyt – Past Chair, General Practice, Solo, and Small Firm Section
  • 2010 John V. Quinlan – Partner, Greene, Hamrick, Perrey, Quinlan & Schermer, P.A
  • 2009 Ernest A. Sellers, Live Oak City Attorney & Past President 3rd Circuit Bar.
  • 2008 Hon. Jim Smith, Former Florida Attorney General and Secretary of State;
  • 2007 Ben H. Hill III, Past President of The Florida Bar;
  • 2006 former Chief Justice Major Harding, Supreme Court of Florida;
  • 2005 Barry Scott Richard, Counsel for The Florida Bar;
  • 2004 David A. Donet, Past Chair, General Practice Section;
  • 2003 Gerald D. Curington, Past Chair, General Practice Section;
  • 2002 Hon. Bob Butterworth, Former Attorney General of Florida;
  • 2001 the late Justice Raymond Ehrlich, Supreme Court of Florida;
  • 2000 George O. Wilson III, Past Chair, General Practice Section;
  • 1999 Marsha G. Rydberg, Member, Board of Governors of The Florida Bar;
  • 1998 the late Frank D. Hall, Past Chair, General Practice Section;
  • 1997 Mandell Glicksberg, Professor Emeritus, University of Florida College of Law;
  • 1996 Lewis H. Hill III, Past Chair, General Practice Section;
  • 1995 former Chief Justice Ben Overton, Supreme Court of Florida;
  • 1994 Hon. Patricia Seitz, Past President of The Florida Bar;

L. Michael Roffino Pro Bono Award

Grand Total Awarded (1990-2016): $132,500

This award is given to recognize the pro bono organization within the state that has put together the best pro bono service program during the past year. The award was originally named the Bill Jacob award in honor of the Section's first chair, but it was renamed the L. Michael Roffino award in 2004 after the untimely death of former Section Chair L. Michael Roffino.

The Florida Pro Bono Coordinators Association nominates five programs for consideration. Our awards committee selects three finalists, one of whom is named the winner. The winner receives $4,000, while the two other finalists receive $2,000 each.

L. MICHAEL ROFFINO PRO BONO AWARD - PAST RECIPIENTS

(Previously known as the Bill Jacob Award, 1990-1992)

2016

Winner

$4,000

Seminole County Bar Association

 

Finalist

$2,000

Three Rivers Legal Services Inc. of Gainesville

 

Finalist

$2,000

Three Rivers Legal Service Inc. of Jacksonville

2015

Winner

$3,000

Dade Legal Aid - Put Something Back

 

Finalist

$1,000

Legal Aid of Manasota, Inc.

 

Finalist

$1,000

Community Law Program, Inc.

2014

Winner

$3,000

Legal Services of North Florida, Inc. (Project entitled Private Attorney Involvement Program provides extended legal aide services to pro se litigants beyond the Courts and into the Division of Administrative Hears.)

 

Finalist

$1,000

Legal Aid of Manasota, Inc.

 

Finalist

$1,000

Community Law Program, Inc.

2013

Winner

$3,000

Dade Legal Aid – Put Something Back (Project entitled Miami Human Trafficking Pro Bono Project provides direct legal representation to victiums of human Trafficking.) 

 

Finalist

$1,000

Three Rivers Legal Services, Inc. Volunteer Attorney Program

 

Finalist

$1,000

Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association, Inc.

2012

Winner

$3,000

Hillsborough County Bar Association (Tampa – Debra Smietanski) – Wills for Heroes Program (offers free legal advice on wills, health care advance directives and durable powers of attorney to all first responders and their spouses or partners located in Hillsborough County). 

 

Finalist

$1,000

Legal Aid Service of Broward County (Plantation – Mertella T. Burris) – Broward Lawyers Care

 

Finalist

$1,000

Bay Area Legal Services, Inc. (Tampa – Susan Sandler) – Bay Area Volunteer Lawyers Program

2011

Winner

$3,000

Jacksonville Area Legal Aid (Jacksonville – Kathy Para) – Northeast Florida Medical Legal Partnership (a network of medical and legal providers who identify and resolve legal issues that are barriers to the good health and well-being of low-income persons). 

 

Finalist

$1,000

Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida, Inc. (Ocala – Lena Smith) – Volunteer Lawyers Project

 

Finalist

$1,000

Dade Legal Aid (Miami – Bruce Levine) – Put Something Back

2010

Winner

$3,000

Florida Rural Legal Services, Inc. (Ft. Pierce – Carolyn Fabrizio)

 

Finalist

$1,000

Jacksonville Area Legal Aid (Jacksonville – Kathy Para)

 

Finalist

$1,000

Gulfcoast Legal Services, Inc. (Clearwater – Jane Helms)

2009

Winner

$3,000

Brevard County Legal Aid, Inc. (Rockledge – Robert Johnson)

 

Finalist

$1,000

Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida (Ocala - Lana Smith)

 

Finalist

$1,000

“Put Something Back” (Miami – Bruce Levine)

2008

Winner

$3,000

Seminole County Bar Association, Inc. (Longwood – Erin Flemister)

 

Finalist

$1,000

Legal Services of North Florida, Inc. (Tallahassee – John Fenno)

 

Finalist

$1,000

Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County Bar Association (West Palm Beach – Kimberly Rommel)

2007

Winner

$3,000

Brevard County Legal Aid, Inc. (Rockledge - Rob Johnson) -- Low Income Worker Project, which will focus on hotel, hospitality and tourism workers with minimum-wage law and unemployment-compensation problems.)

 

Finalist

$1,000

Community Law Program, Inc. (St. Petersburg - Kimberly Rodgers, Esq.)

 

Finalist

$1,000

Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association (Orlando - Catherine Tucker)

2006

Winner

$3,000

Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, Inc. (Jacksonville – Sarah Jones Fowler) -- Hands-on approach for young people to find employment; use public transportation; enroll
in high school completion; develop job skills; access college programs; connect with support agencies, etc.)

 

Finalist

$1,000

Legal Aid of Manasota, Inc. (Sarasota) – Linda Harradine

 

Finalist

$1,000

Gulfcoast Legal Services, Inc. (Fort Pierce – Jane E. Helms)

2005

Winner

$3,000

Community Law Program (St. Petersburg – Janet Herron) -- a Video/DVD was produced on Pro Se representation in Family Law matters; sample notebooks with completed pro se forms; a new pro se clinic w/assistance

 

Finalist

$1,000

The Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, Inc. (West Palm Beach – Kimberly Rommel-Enright)

 

Finalist

$1,000

Seminole County Bar Association Legal Aid Society, Inc. (Altamonte Springs – Erin M. Flemister)

2004

Winner

$3,000

Brevard County Legal Aid, Inc. (Rockledge – Robert L. Johnson) -- Launched a new program, the Family Caregivers Legal Assistance Project (FCLAP) to provide legal assistance to caregivers

 

Finalist

$1,000

Legal Services of North Florida, Inc. (Tallahassee – John J. Fenno)

 

Finalist

$1,000

Legal Aid of Manasota, Inc. (Sarasota – Linda Harradine)

2003

Winner

$3,000

Seminole County Bar Association Legal Aid Society, Inc. (Altamonte Springs - Silvia Ponce de Leon) -- Increased access to justice for low-income people through the innovative use of technology to train, support and educate legal aid providers)

 

Finalist

$1,000

Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association, Inc. (Orlando- Catherine A. Tucker)

 

Finalist

$1,000

The Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, Inc. (West Palm Beach - Kimberly Rommel-Enright)

2002

Winner

$3,000

The Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, Inc. (West Palm Beach – Robert Johnson) -- Health Emergency Legal Panel – HELP

 

Finalist

$1,000

The Bay Area Volunteer Lawyers Program (Tampa - Sheila Seig)

 

Finalist

$1,000

Community Law Program (St. Petersburg) - Kelly Vaughn Rauch

2001

Winner

$3,000

Legal Services of North Florida, Inc. (Tallahassee - John J. Fenno) -- launched the preeminent web-site for a legal services program in the State of Florida at www.lsnf.org

 

Finalist

$1,000

The Legal Aid Society of Collier County (Naples) - Jana V. Jay

 

Finalist

$1,000

Legal Aid of Manasota, Inc. (Sarasota) - Nina E. Perry

2000

Winner

$3,000

Three Rivers Legal Services, Inc. (Gainesville - Marcia G. Lockhart) -- developed a manual; held weekly Advice Clinic

 

Finalist

$1,000

Community Law Program, Inc. (St. Petersburg) - Kelly Vaughn Rauch

 

Finalist

$1,000

Legal Services of North Florida, Inc. (Tallahassee) - John Fenno

1999

Winner

$3,000

Northwest Florida Legal Services, Inc. (NWFLS) (Pensacola - Phyllis A. Foley) --Initiated a Saturday Hotline; production of client self-education tapes

 

Finalist

$1,000

Community Law Program, Inc. (St. Petersburg) - Kelly Vaughn Rauch

 

Finalist

$1,000

Cuban American Bar Association (CABA) Pro Bono Project (Miami) - Carmen Gonzalez

1998

Winner

$3,000

Broward Lawyers Care (Legal Aid Service of Broward - Christine Marini) -- The Lawyers for Children (TLC) Project

 

Finalist

$1,000

Fifth Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Project (Ocala - Diane Adams) -- Community Education Project

 

Finalist

$1,000

The Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, Inc. (West Palm Beach - Robert Johnson) -- The County Attorney’s Domestic Violence Program)

1997

Winner

$3,000

The Bay Area Volunteer Lawyers Program (BAVLP) (Tampa) -- Domestic Violence Assistance Project

 

Finalist

$1,000

Volunteer Attorney Program Three Rivers Legal Services, Inc. (Gainesville - Marcia Lockhart)

 

Finalist

$1,000

Seminole County Bar Association Legal Aid Society, Inc.  (Altamonte Springs - Melissa Sasser)

1996

Winner

$3,000

Put Something Back Pro Bono Project -- Wills on Wheels Program

 

Finalist

$1,000

Legal Aid Service of Broward County, Inc.

 

Finalist

$1,000

Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, Inc.

1995

Winner

$3,000

Jacksonville Area Legal Aid -- Youth Mediation Program

 

Finalist

$1,000

Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association, Inc.

 

Finalist

$1,000

H.A.V.E. a Heart Bay Area Volunteer Lawyers Program (Tampa)

1994

Winner

$3,000

Northwest Florida Legal Services, Inc. (Pensacola) -- Immigration law training – outreach

 

Finalist

$1,000

Volunteer Lawyers Project (Daytona Beach)

 

Finalist

$1,000

Bar Association Legal Aid Society, Inc. (Sarasota)

1993

Winner

$3,000

Legal Services of North Florida, Inc. (Tallahassee) -- Emeritus Attorney Project conducting legal clinics plus small claims advice clinic

 

Finalist

$1,000

Seminole County Bar Association Legal Aid Society

 

Finalist

$1,000

Northwest Florida Legal Services, Inc.

1992

Winner

$2,500

Brevard County Legal Aid, Inc. -- produced a family law pro bono manual and Word Perfect disc

 

Finalist

$1,000

Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, Inc.

 

Finalist

$1,000

Community Law Program, Inc. (St. Petersburg)

1991

Winner

$2,500

The Sarasota Manatee Lawyer Referral Service, Inc. – created training program for attorneys assisting Guardians Ad Litem

 

Finalist

 

The Brevard County Legal Aid, Inc.

 

Finalist

 

Seminole County Bar Association Legal Aid Society, Inc.

1990

Winner

$2,500

Legal Aid Society of Orange County


Walter S. Crumbley Award

The Walter S. Crumbley award is given each year to an individual who has made a significant contribution to practice management in the State of Florida. The award was originally created by the Practice Management and Development Section in honor of the long service by Judge Walter S. Crumbley on the Practice Management and Development Committee and on the Technology Law Committee. This tradition has been carried on by GPSSF.

WALTER S. CRUMBLEY AWARD - PAST RECIPIENTS

  • 2016 Renee Thompson
  • 2015 Eugene E. Shuey
  • 2014 Myer J. (Michael) Cohen
  • 2013 Myer J. (Michael) Cohen
  • 2012 Lawrence J. Marraffino
  • 2011 Kirk N. Kirkconnell
  • 2010 Michael Cavendish
  • 2009 Mary Cagle
  • 2008 Jennifer A. Dietz
  • 2007 Rick Georges
  • 2006 J.R. Phelps
  • 2005 Ronald Owen
  • 2004 Walter S. Crumbley

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