Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. – September 4, 2013 – Legal Aid Service of Broward County (LAS) and Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida (CCLA) are pleased to announce that the law firm Carlton Fields, and four lawyers from the firm, E. Kelly Bittick, Jr. (shareholder, Tampa office), Steven C. Dupré (shareholder, Tampa office), Nancy H. Henry (shareholder, Miami office), and Sylvia H. Walbolt (shareholder, Tampa office), will be presented with the Children’s Advocacy Award at the 12th Annual FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD. The event will be held Friday, September 27, 2013 at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina.
The Children’s Advocacy Award is given annually to an advocate — in this case, a team of advocates — whose actions exemplify a personal and professional commitment to making justice available to the poor and disadvantaged.
“The attorneys from Carlton Fields have made a huge difference in the life of a child and his family that will have a lifetime impact,” stated Anthony J. Karrat, Esq., Executive Director, Legal Aid Service of Broward County. “We are truly grateful for their unselfish dedication, commitment, and compassion for those in need.”
Bittick, Dupré, Henry, and Walbolt stepped up to assist Legal Aid attorneys in advocating for a child with special needs in 2012. The eight year-old client, J.W., was attending a private school on a McKay Scholarship and was doing well for the first time in his short educational career. McKay Scholarships provide tuition assistance to disabled students attending participating private schools in lieu of attending a local public school. His mother was working two jobs to make up the difference between the private school tuition and the McKay Scholarship. Seven months into the school year, his mother received an email notifying her that his McKay Scholarship had been reduced. She was distraught. The private school had never seen this happen before. Desperately wanting her son to remain at the school where he was doing so well, J.W.’s mother took on a third job and came to Legal Aid for assistance.
Legal Aid took the battle to the School Board. It began before an administrative law judge with a five-day trial. The judge ruled in J.W.’s favor on many of the issues, but determined that the statute of limitations would not allow her to provide J.W. the relief he sought. The Legal Aid attorneys disagreed with the judge’s ruling and believed that the issue had not yet been fully determined in the courts.
Carlton Fields attorneys then came to the rescue and brought the case to Federal Court. They mediated and, over time, negotiated an agreement that would allow J.W. to remain at his private school until he graduates high school. His mother was able to quit her third job and concentrate on her own nursing education. She is about to finish her degree and will be an RN.
“We are grateful to the Carlton Fields attorneys. It is so important for our attorneys to be able to collaborate with colleagues in the community,” stated Rochelle Marcus, Esq., Supervising Attorney, Education Legal Rights Project at Legal Aid Services of Broward County. “The extraordinary effort, results, and generosity of Carlton Fields and its attorneys will continue to be appreciated long after the award is presented.”
FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD is an annual fundraiser held by Legal Aid Service of Broward County (LAS) and Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida (CCLA) with proceeds benefiting families and individuals in gaining access to equal justice.
For tickets, sponsorship and advertising opportunities or to place an advertisement, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 954-736-2429.
COAST TO COAST LEGAL AID OF SOUTH FLORIDA is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit law firm established in 2003 and funded, in part, by the Legal Services Corporation. Our mission is to improve the lives of low income persons in our community through advocacy, education, representation and empowerment.
LEGAL AID SERVICE OF BROWARD COUNTY is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit law firm established in 1974. Our mission is to provide high quality free civil legal advice, representation and education to the poor of Broward County so as to improve the lifestyle and living conditions of the low-income community and to encourage self-sufficiency.
Legal Aid Service of Broward County (LAS) and Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida (CCLA) are 501(c)(3) corporations registered with the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer services (LAS #SC-02337 and CCLA #CH19226). All donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE 1-800-435-7352 WITHIN THE STATE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.
About Carlton Fields: Carlton Fields is a leading provider of legal and consultative services to a broad spectrum of business clients ranging from multi-national Fortune 100 companies to start-ups. With locations in major business centers in the Southeast and in New York, Carlton Fields offers to its clients more than 300 attorneys and government consultants.