• After losing her life savings, Miami woman gets a fresh start

    On the verge of 75, Caroline Pennington found herself starting all over again. After a lifetime of hard work and solo parenting, the former marketing executive was looking forward to a comfortable retirement until she fell victim to an investment scam that wiped out her half-million-dollar nest egg. “It was

  • Florida Bar Foundation-funded Equal Justice Works project helps break the cycle of dependency

    Amanda Alvarez, 18, comes across as that recent high school grad who racked up a long list of achievements. She has the poise, diction and vocabulary of a student council president. With her long, dark hair, tasteful makeup and neat-as-a-pin pencil skirt, she has the grace and style of a

  • Federal judge orders state of Florida to cover applied behavioral analysis therapy for autism

    At 18 months of age, Karls Gonzalez seemed like any other happy toddler. He would return his mother’s smile, had a budding vocabulary that included words like “mama,” “papa,” and “cookies” and had developed a healthy appetite for solid food. But by the time he turned 2, he had become

  • Legal aid organizations struggle to retain attorneys cultivated by Bar Foundation and Equal Justice Works

    As an Equal Justice Works Fellow advocating for mentally ill prisoners, Cassandra Capobianco uncovered a startling overuse of tear gas and pepper spray in Florida prisons, resulting in serious burns to inmates already suffering from diagnosed psychiatric disorders. “A lot of these clients were burned so badly they required extensive

  • One student’s path to Stanford

    Growing up in San Juan del Rio, Queretaro, a city on Mexico’s central plateau, Leonardo Leal realized from a young age that knowledge would be the key to his future. His grandmother Magdalena raised him until he was 12, and although she had little education herself, she instilled its importance

  • Positively Pro Bono: Kenneth Jacobs’ story

    Kenneth Jacobs held a job his entire adult life until 2008 when he suffered a heart attack. It was the first in a string of serious health complications — including coronary artery disease — that sidelined him from work and left him homeless. “I was always in the hospital,” said

  • How Ashlyn got her sparkle back

    Sparkly. An eager, cheerful learner. Ashlyn Sikes’ teacher used these words to describe the Tallahassee second-grader, who finished out the school year with her best report card ever. ” I love her enthusiasm for school,” commented the teacher. Ashlyn’s parents, Adam and Amy Sikes, are proud of their 8-year-old daughter,

  • Clearwater affordable housing units saved

    Confined to a wheelchair by multiple sclerosis, Clearwater, Fla., resident Patricia Redding, 50, had become a prisoner in her own apartment when promised modifications to make it wheelchair accessible and ADA-compliant were never made. Later, when raw sewage backed up into Redding’s unit, the property manager at Norton Apartments also

  • Passion for public interest law drives Summer Fellows

    by Gabrielle Davis Stetson University law student Jhenerr Hines’ desire to help the disadvantaged started at home. “I grew up in a very poor home, and most of the people I grew up with are dead or in jail,” said Hines, a native of Montego Bay, Jamaica. “I’m very blessed,

  • Legal Aid Leadership Development Institute equips legal aid attorneys to address challenging projects

    Legal Aid lawyer Matthew Trail thought a Lee County public school needed systemic change. The school, designed for children with behavioral problems, was failing the students by not providing mental health and proper academic support as mandated by law, said Trail, an attorney with the Florida Equal Justice Center in

  • Project helps parents of disabled children with guardianship

    by Gabrielle Davis Even with an attorney by her side, Maria Perkins was gripped by fear as she stood before the judge. Although she had made every decision for her son Mark Morrison since he was born with Down syndrome, suddenly she had to petition a Seminole County judge for

  • Schell defends workers who say pay didn’t add up to beans

    At 68, an age when most Americans are drawing Social Security and enjoying their retirement, Jean Felix Philius would like nothing more than to be back at work picking beans all day in the scorching South Florida sun. Instead, Philius is unemployed and hoping to recover wages he says are