Tampa, Fla. – September 19, 2016 – Carlton Fields is pleased to announce that Sylvia H. Walbolt, Tampa shareholder and co-chair of the firm’s National Appellate Practice and Trial Support group, received the 2016 John Paul Stevens Guiding Hand of Counsel Award from the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Death Penalty Representation Project on September 15, 2016 in Washington, D.C.
First presented to U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens in 2011, the Guiding Hand of Counsel Award is given annually to a lawyer who demonstrates exceptional commitment to providing pro bono counsel for individuals facing death sentences.
During a career that spans more than 50 years, Mrs. Walbolt has exemplified this commitment. Since 1998, she has represented capital defendants in high-profile, post-conviction proceedings on a regular basis. As an inaugural member of the Florida Innocence Commission, Mrs. Walbolt has made an impact through systemic advocacy work by identifying common causes of wrongful convictions and recommending procedures that will decrease their future likelihood. At Carlton Fields, she maintains a rigorous full-time appellate practice while performing thousands of hours of pro bono service and participating in organized bar work that promotes the administration of justice at the state and national level in areas such as judicial nominations, jury reform, and standard jury instructions.
Mrs. Walbolt was unanimously chosen by the ABA Death Penalty Representation Awards Committee, which received a record number of nominations this year. The ABA noted the Committee was “simply blown away” by Walbolt’s nomination “and the many letters of support she received.”
In one particular letter of recommendation, Harvard Law School Professor Laurence H. Tribe stated: “If only there were more lawyers like Sylvia, our successes in the long twilight struggle against unjust execution would be far more frequent … She is a legal angel who amply deserves the great accolade of this distinguished award.” Professor Tribe has worked closely with Mrs. Walbolt for the better part of a decade in representing a client in post-conviction hearings.
“I am honored to receive this wonderful award when there are so many dedicated lawyers providing help to defendants, who otherwise would have no recourse to the services of a lawyer at these stages of their cases,” Walbolt said.
Mrs. Walbolt has extensive experience handling appeals in both federal and state courts and in all areas of the law, including torts, products liability, business disputes, construction law, securities law, constitutional, insurance, antitrust, and employment law. She has appeared as counsel in numerous published opinions, and also has appeared on behalf of amici curiae in many appeals. She has frequently presented oral arguments before the Florida Supreme Court and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals as well as to the Georgia and Tennessee Supreme Courts.
Mrs. Walbolt is board certified in Appellate Law by The Florida Bar and is a former chair of its Appellate Practice Committee. She served as a member of the Florida Supreme Court’s Committee on Standard Jury Instructions (civil) and chaired it. She is a former president of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. She was instrumental in establishing, and subsequently chaired, the College’s Access to Justice Committee.
The ABA Death Penalty Representation Project focuses on improving the quality and availability of legal representation for people facing possible death sentences.
About Carlton Fields: Carlton Fields has nearly 400 attorneys and government and financial services consultants serving clients from offices in California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, New York, and Washington, D.C. The firm is known for its national litigation practice, including class action defense, trial and appellate practice, white-collar representation, and high-stakes appeals; its regulatory practice; and its handling of sophisticated business transactions and corporate counseling for domestic and international clients. For additional information, visit www.carltonfields.com. (Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, P.A. practices law in California through Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, LLP.)