Pro Bono Attorney of the Month Suzanne Judas receives The Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award

By Kathy Para, The JBA Pro Bono Committee Chairwoman

Suzanne Judas is the recipient of the 2012 Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award for the Fourth Judicial Circuit.
Ms. Judas is extremely passionate about pro bono work and has been depicting that passion for many years. As chair of the Committee for the Public Good in Holland & Knight’s Jacksonville office, she has organized and put structure to the office’s pro bono work, and has promoted that work as an important part of the values on which the firm was founded, resulting in the Jacksonville office of Holland & Knight winning a firmwide contest with 100 percent of the office’s attorneys participating in pro bono work in our community.

Ms. Judas practices in the area of general civil litigation with a focus on admiralty and maritime law, media and communications and personal injury. She also practices in the area of general corporation transactions, including formation, contract matters and advising on issues related to insurance, non-competes, pensions, and sales and marketing.

Ms. Judas has spent 486 hours working on pro bono matters and helping coordinate projects in the office. She also has challenged other local attorneys to participate as well. Ms. Judas lends her talents to many local nonprofit businesses and organizations. For example, she helped solve an immigration problem for the wife of an Air Force sergeant through the ABA’s military pro bono program. She also helped coordinate and assign legal health checkups for Florida’s Children First and she helped find a guardian for a developmentally disabled foster child through the Guardian ad Litem Program.

Pro Bono is derived from the phrase pro bono publico, meaning “for the good of the public,” according to the award instructions.

“The purpose of these awards is to encourage more Florida lawyers to freely contribute their time and expertise in providing legal services to people in their community who cannot otherwise afford those services,” the instructions stated. The awards are intended to provide recognition to lawyers who have made an outstanding contribution in this area.

Suzanne Judas will attend the awards ceremony on Jan. 26 in Tallahassee at the Florida Supreme Court. Her colleagues in the Fourth Judicial Circuit applaud her pro bono contributions and this well-earned recognition.

Attorneys interested in pro bono opportunities throughout the Circuit are encouraged to contact Kathy Para, Chairperson, Pro Bono Committee for The Jacksonville Bar Association,

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Alexia Nechayev

FYS Events & Meeting Chair
(Palm Beach)

Hello, My name is Alexia Nechayev. I am 25 years old and I am an alumna of Florida International University where I received my B.A. in Psychology. My future career goal is to be a Lawyer. I was in care for about one year from age 17 to 18. Prior to entering care, I only knew about the negative stigma regarding foster care and while in care that narrative was unfortunately my experience.

In school I felt like I was on display because my status in care was broadcast to other students and in my placement behavior was leveraged for “privileges” that should be a natural right of all children. Because I did not know my rights I did not know that what I was experiencing was wrong. Today this is exactly why I advocate, because I don’t want this to be the same for other youth who are experiencing foster care.

This is my second year on the FYS Statewide Board and I’m happy to be the Events and Meetings Chair this year because my main goal through advocacy is to reach as many people as possible. My favorite thing as a board member is to see how comfortable members become while working together. The community needs to know that youth in foster care are real people, going through some of the hardest moments of their life and youth need to know that their voice is powerful. I believe that we have to speak up and bring these issues to people’s attention so that they do not forget us. Advocacy, education and consistency is the only way.

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