Section History & Awards

Section History

The Solo & Small Firm Section underwent 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 related to 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 Solo & Small Firm Section throughout its existence:

  • 2018-19 Jennifer K. Griffin
  • 2017-18 Sean T. Desmond
  • 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 Neil Gregory
  • 1998-99 Dykes C. Everett
  • 1997-98 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 lists 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 honors 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:

Not presented in 2018
2017 Charles Hilleboe
2016 Dr. Michael T. Olexa

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:

  • 2018 Stephen N. Zack – Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, former ABA and Florida Bar President
  • 2017 Bruce Robinson – Florida Bar Board of Governors Liaison
  • 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
  • 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 Jim Smith, Former Florida Attorney General and Secretary of State
  • 2007 Ben H. Hill III, Past President of The Florida Bar
  • 2006 Major Harding, former Supreme Court of Florida Chief Justice
  • 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 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 Patricia Seitz, Past President of The Florida Bar

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 the Solo & Small Firm Section.

Walter S. Crumbley Award Recipients:

  • 2018 John M. Stewart
  • 2017 Kevin D. Johnson
  • 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
  • 2006R. Phelps
  • 2005 Ronald Owen
  • 2004 Walter S. Crumbley

Paralegal of the Year

Paralegal of the Year Award Recipients:

  • 2018 Jennifer Wallace
  • 2017 Marcia Muldoon CP FRP
  • 2016 Beatrice LeVine CP FRP
  • 2015 Patricia C. DeRamus ACP FRP

L. Michael Roffino Pro Bono Award

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

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.

Grand Total Awarded (1990-2018): $148,500

L. Michael Roffino Pro Bono Award Recipients:

2018 Winner $4,000 Legal Aid of Manasota, Inc. (Sarasota)
  Finalist $2,000 Seminole County Bar Association Legal Aid Society, Inc. (Longwood)
    Jacksonville Area Legal Aid
2017 Winner $4,000 St. Petersburg Bar Association Community Law Program Inc.
Finalist $2,000 Legal Aid of Manasota, Inc.
Finalist $2,000 Florida Rural Legal Services, Inc. (Lakeland)
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