Pro Bono Hero Maria Breen began volunteering with Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association while studying for the Bar exam. She has participated in their National Citizenship Day Event and has taken 4 immigration cases. Most recently she offered to assist with their Afghanistan Special Immigrant Visa Project and Renewal of Green Cards Clinic. She has donated more than 76 pro bono hours.
Jonathan Paul of Weissman Paul, PLLC is a Pro Bono Hero for the amazing work he has done for Seminole County Bar Association Legal Aid Society’s private landlord tenant pro bono project. From repairs to eviction actions, he has accepted upwards of five cases this year and exhibits a great willingness to assist tenants with issues both large and small. “If there is ever a client in need, our organization knows that we can call on Attorney Paul to provide our clients with quality assistance. The care and dedication that he provides to each client is an inspiration. We are so incredibly grateful for all the time he has dedicated to our office and hope to honor him as a Pro Bono Hero for how he has helped to empower our clients to tackle to every day legal matters that impede the needs of themselves and their families,” says Seminole County Bar Association Legal Aid.
Judge Kelly McKibben is a Pro Bono Hero. For her entire career, Judge McKibben has been keenly focused on legal issues facing children. Among dozens of awards for her service, she was the recipient of the 2018 Jurist of the Year Award from the Florida Association for Women Lawyers and, in 2016, the William E. Gladstone Award for her significant contributions on behalf of dependent children and their families. Most recently, Judge McKibben’s pro bono activities have included chairing the Children’s Services Council of Brevard County. The Council performed important work devoted to establishing a dedicated funding source to provide services for children in Brevard. Judge McKibben also organized and implemented Florida Bar-certified legal education courses for attorneys to learn the skills necessary to represent abused and neglected children on a pro bono basis. Pictured: Judge McKibben, left, accepting the Distinguished Judicial Service Award from 18th Circuit Chief Judge Jessica Recksiedler.
Jasmine Esmailbegui practices commercial real estate matters but advocates for abandoned, abused, and neglected children as a pro bono lawyer. She began volunteering early as a legal intern and pro bono volunteer for the Legal Aid Justice Center and the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society while in law school. She has accepted 2 GAL cases with a total of 4 children and participated in Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association, Inc.’s Virtual Housing Clinic. She has donated more than 20 pro bono hours in a short period of time.
As a first time volunteer with Seminole County Bar Association Legal Aid, attorney Jack Taylor jumped in with both feet helping clients to handle issues that impede getting a comfortable night’s rest or even having a place to live. He was eager to assist in their private landlord tenant pro bono project, aiding clients in eviction action, maintenance issues and security deposits. Jack goes above and beyond in assisting tenants with all their questions, concerns, and preparing any necessary documents they may need, oftentimes going so far as to provide clients with further resources for other legal matters that are top of mind. “We are grateful beyond words for all the work that Attorney Taylor has done for our organization and our clients. His dedication to the residents of Seminole County is a clear example as to why he is a Pro Bono Hero.”
Jon Gibbs is a board certified intellectual property attorney, but advocates for abandoned, abused, and neglected children in his pro bono work. He has accepted 30 cases with a total of 54 children, including conflict cases that legal aid staff could not assist him with. He has also participated in Teen Court and served on Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association board. Jon started pro bono work in law school, and to date he has donated more than 803 pro bono hours!
Shirley Grinstein, a 2L at the University of Miami School of Law, has changed the lives of the people she serves pro bono, says Catholic Legal Services Archdiocese of Miami, Inc. Paired with an attorney during last year’s Florida Pro Bono Law School Challenge, Shirley took ownership of the case and has filed multiple forms of relief for her client, a young Venezuelan refugee. Because of her tremendous work ethic and dedication to service, Shirley’s client is allowed to remain in the U.S. and won’t be forced to return to Venezuela, where she was persecuted and abused because of her gender identity. “Shirley is already an invaluable asset to our community and we have no doubt she will be a well-respected attorney, and we look forward to seeing what great things she’ll do in the future!”
Pro Bono Hero Vanessa Clark of Clark Law PLLC started volunteering in 2021. Since then, she has provided almost 90 hours of pro bono services on more than 45 cases for Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida. She helps pro bono clients with a wide range of matters such as healthcare planning, bankruptcy, landlord/tenant and foreclosure defense.
Jordi Guso of Berger Singerman LLP is a Pro Bono Hero, having accepted 39 pro bono bankruptcy clients from Dade Legal Aid. He is deeply committed to his pro bono clients and has helped dozens of families facing financial hardships find a fresh start. His strong commitment to pro bono causes is unwavering. In addition to handling cases, during the past decade, Jordi has led dozens of pro se clinics for low-income debtors in South Florida seeking help with the bankruptcy process. He is a great role model and example for others.
Darylaine Hernandez practices in the areas of personal injury, wills, and family law. She has accepted 45 pro bono cases from Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association in areas including family law, wills, guardianship, and domestic violence and has also participated in the VITA Tax Clinic Project. She has donated more than 327 pro bono hours!
Pro Bono Hero Joel Douglas is a registered patent agent and holds professional engineering licenses in several states. Determined to help those less fortunate, he has volunteered to help several dozen #probono patent clients file and receive their patents through Florida Patent Pro Bono, a partnership with ABC and Dade Legal Aid. He has a passion for helping those less fortunate succeed and has made a massive impact on the lives of inventors by generously lending his time and expertise.
Marshall McKinstry practices in the area of defense of health care providers and hospitals in medical negligence matters. He currently has two #probono open guardianship of an adult cases that require yearly reports to be filed with the court. These cases will be ongoing for quite some time. “He is providing an incredible service to the guardians who are taking care of some of the most vulnerable members of society!” says Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association.
Kraesly Creek, in-house counsel with Citibank, N.A., shares her legal knowledge to provide pro bono services to low-income individuals, nonprofits and small businesses, and donates her time encouraging others to join her. She is an active Volunteer Intake Attorney, Miles for Justice Participant, and donor. Bay Area Legal Services appreciates the dedication and energy Kraesly brings to their clients, their Volunteer Lawyers Program and to their community.