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Florida Bar President Gary Lesser presents awards at Brevard County Legal Aid’s 35th Annual Gala

admin - May 29, 2023 - 0 comments

Florida Bar President Gary Lesser presents awards at Brevard County Legal Aid’s 35th Annual Gala

Over 130 invited guests from the legal and business community attended Brevard County Legal Aid’s Annual Pro Bono Awards and Recognition Gala on Friday, May 5, 2023 at Suntree Country Club. The annual dinner and awards event is a tribute to Brevard’s attorneys who contribute free legal assistance to help persons who are unable to afford private counsel.

Florida Bar President Gary Lesser was the special guest for the evening. President delivered an inspirational speech focusing on the importance of access to legal services and, in particular, the need for pro bono legal assistance. Lesser, the managing partner of Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith, has a history of public service and pro bono volunteerism. He has, as leader of the third largest integrated bar association in the United States, pursued access to legal services as a top priority.

Mr. Lesser presented awards to local attorneys who have gone above and beyond in their pro bono contributions. Pam Bress was recognized as “Pro Bono Attorney of the Year.”

Pam is currently the Executive Director and Co-Founder of “WAYS for Life,” a non-profit organization dedicated to providing wraparound services to assist in solving the problems faced by teens and young adults aging out of foster care. Prior to founding WAYS, Pam was a senior staff attorney at Brevard County Legal Aid, where she represented youth aging out of foster care. That’s where she learned about the lack of critical resources, services, and affordable housing for homeless youth and youth exiting the child welfare system at age 18.
After leaving legal aid, Pam continued to represent young people facing critical legal issues. In the past year alone, she donated almost 300 hours of pro bono service in dependency, guardianship, and probate cases. Pam’s volunteerism extends beyond legal assistance. Over the past 25 years, Bress has volunteered for numerous organizations that serve youth including coaching academic teams in the public-school system (Odyssey of the Mind, Future Problem Solving, and Mock Trial), coaching Special Olympics, TOPSoccer, and traditional sports teams, Justice Teaching at Central Middle School and Hoover Middle School, and serving on the board of directors for Club Esteem, Promise in Brevard, and the statewide Future Problem Solving Program.
Other award winners included “Outstanding Pro Bono Service Awards” to Scott Blaue, Julie Cloney, Tino Gonzalez, Greg Jean-Denis, Melanie Kalbac-McManus, Scott Krasny, Laurel Nugent, Nicholas Vidoni, and Michel Watson. “Distinguished Pro Bono Service Awards” will go to Tiffani Cole, John Daly, Scarlett Davidson, Amy Romaine, Richard Shuster, Jerald Stubbs, Jay Thakkar, Adrienne Trent, Krystal Wald, and Thomas Yardley.

Shuster & Saben was Platinum Sponsor for the event. Gold Sponsors were: Allender & Allender, PA, Brevard County Bar Foundation, Brevard County Bar Association, Faro & Crowder, P.A., Michael and Roma Kahn, Michael Kahn P.A., Nance Cacciatore, and Vicaryous Law Firm.

Silver Sponsors were: Alpizar Law, Douglas R. Beam, P.A., Cantwell & Goldman, Caruso & Swerbilow, P.A., Goldman, Monaghan, Thakkar & Bettin, P.A., Heuston Legal, PLLC, Law Office of Michael Howard, Jacobus Fielding, Lacy Lyons Rezanka, Robert and Shelley Johnson, and The Honorable J. Preston and Betts Silvernail.
For more information please call BCLA at (321) 631-2500 ext. 511