Over 150 invited guests from the legal and business community attended Brevard County Legal Aid’s Annual Pro Bono Awards and Recognition Gala on Friday, April 12th, 2019 at Suntree Country Club. Satellite Beach attorney Richard Shuster received the highest award and was recognized as “Pro Bono Attorney of the Year.” District Court of Appeal Judge John Harris was the special guest speaker for the evening.
Mr. Shuster grew up in Gainesville, Florida, where his dad spent his entire career as a University of Florida professor. A proud “Double Gator,” Richard graduated from UF with a degree in Finance in 1991 and his Juris Doctor in 1994.
He began his legal career at a boutique civil litigation firm in Jacksonville, where he represented national and multinational corporations such as Volkswagen and Home Depot. Then, in 2004, Richard co-founded Shuster & Saben in Miami. With over twenty years of litigation experience, Richard has litigated thousands of Personal Injury Protection claims on behalf of medical providers. He also heads the firm’s foreclosure defense and consumer protection practices and he has litigated dozens of foreclosure trials on behalf of homeowners throughout Florida. His advice and counsel are sought by other attorneys in this field statewide. He has been a featured speaker and lecturer at multiple continuing legal education seminars on foreclosure and consumer law issues.
Richard moved to the Space Coast, in 2004, when his wife Tracy Ravin, an eye surgeon, accepted a job at Florida Eye Institute. After four years of commuting to the firm’s Miami office (and with Tracy’s encouragement), Richard opened Shuster & Saben’s Space Coast office with a single staffer, while subleasing space from another local attorney.
When the great recession hit, Richard recognized a local need for Brevard consumers to receive a thorough and tough defense willing to take cases to trial at an affordable cost so that they could go toe-to-toe against big banks. While defending foreclosures, he met other lawyers employed by or involved with Brevard Legal Aid and decided to join them by volunteering to take on legal aid cases. First one, then a few more, and more every year. In 2014, he also accepted an invitation to join the Legal Aid board.
Richard’s pro bono work has been prodigious. In the past two years alone, Richard has donated over 300 pro bono hours to legal aid clients. In 2018, he closed 5 pro bono cases and he is currently working on 6 more. Remarkably, in addition to Richard’s pro bono work, his firm has been a Gold or Platinum sponsor of every legal aid Pro Bono Gala since 2014.
Richard has earned widespread respect from clients, peers, and the judiciary. Upon learning of Richard’s award, Circuit Court Judge Lisa Davidson said, “I am so pleased to see that Richard Shuster is receiving this well-deserved recognition. I have seen first-hand his unwavering commitment to pro bono service. He has stepped up on so many occasions to provide effective representation to badly disadvantaged litigants in desperate need of help.”