Pro Bono Awards Orlando
On October 4, 2018, CLSMF hosted a cocktail reception at the Citrus Club in downtown Orlando to honor volunteer attorneys who have gone above and beyond to demonstrate their commitment to pro bono services. Check out the award winner bios and photos from the evening.
Burr Forman, Law Firm of the Year Award
Burr Forman is a regional law firm with 300 attorneys and 12 offices in the Southeast. The firm is committed to serving the community through pro bono legal services and other volunteer efforts.
In 2017, Burr Forman was the first law firm to host the CLSMF Mobile Helpline, a project first designed to meet the needs of Floridians requiring legal assistance after Hurricane Irma. While the initial concept of a mobile call center (aka “Helpline on the Road”) was focused on disaster-related legal issues, volunteer attorneys from Burr & Forman celebrated Pro Bono Week answering phone calls from low-income residents who cannot afford legal help. Calls ranged from an elderly citizen facing eviction to a mother losing custody of her child.
This year, CLSMF recognizes Burr Forman for their invaluable commitment to increasing access to justice, their pioneer effort in the CLSMF Mobile Helpline Project, and for continually providing pro bono services to CLSMF clients needing assistance with intricate legal matters.
Alex McClure, Pro Bono Attorney of the Year, Ninth Judicial Circuit
Alex McClure earned his Juris Doctorate from Stetson University College of Law. After almost a decade of working in a creditor’s rights law firm representing the interests of creditors and debt buying companies, Alex opened his own practice still working in consumer law, but from the other side of the table. Alex believes that pro bono service helps create the balance we all hope to see in our society. He says, “It’s important to lead by example and demonstrate to the community that access to qualified legal professionals is not limited exclusively to one’s ability to pay. To donate one’s own time- especially as an attorney, helps provide critically needed services and demonstrates by example the commitment of legal professionals to their communities.”
Alex’s first encounter with CLSMF was through The Florida Bar Foundation’s Florida Pro Bono Matters website. CLSMF honors Alex this year for his leadership role in organizing a recurring bankruptcy legal advice clinic in Seminole County. Alex has provided full representation in bankruptcy cases for low-income clients and has expressed a willingness to help in other consumer matters.
Andrea D. Ortiz, Timothy A. Moran Champion of Justice Award
Andrea D. Ortiz is a Native Texan, who has called Florida home since 2012. Andrea graduated cum laude from Barry University School of Law in May 2015. Upon passing the Florida Bar Exam, Andrea began practicing insurance defense throughout Central Florida. Looking to pursue new practice areas, Andrea founded her law firm – A.D.O. Law Florida, P.A. – focusing on Estate Planning and Landlord/Tenant Disputes. Outside the office, Andrea serves on the Leadership Board for Women on the Rise Orlando, a non-profit community organization focused on empowering women.
Andrea joined CLSMF’s pro bono panel in 2018. During the time, she has shown her commitment to pro bono services by assisting veterans and seniors with estate planning and has participated in numerous legal advice clinics and outreaches.
Christine Arendas, Belvin Perry, Jr. Legacy of Justice Award
Christine Arendas is a Florida Bar Board Certified Adoption attorney, having practiced in adoption law for more than 11 years. Prior to her extensive work in the adoption practice area, Christine accumulated a comprehensive background in family law, probate, and guardianship. She derives her extensive experience not only from her practice as an attorney, but also from working as a family law paralegal for more than 13 years. Christine is active in various organizations and activities in her community, such as volunteering with Osceola County Teen Court, Boy Scouts of America, IDignity Osceola, Justice Teaching, Legal Aid Society and Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida.
Over the course of her career, Christine has been a loyal supporter of pro bono legal services and has been on the CLSMF pro bono panel since 2009. She has provided legal advice, pro se assistance and full representation in family law and estate planning. Christine was recently elected as an Osceola County Judge and we are confident she will continue to encourage attorneys to provide pro bono legal services in our community.