Akerman partner Karen Meyer Buesing has been awarded The Florida Bar’s highest pro bono award, the 2014 Tobias Simon Pro Bono Service Award.
The award named for Miami civil rights lawyer Tobias Simon recognizes extraordinary contributions by Florida lawyers to legal aid services.
Buesing, a labor and employment lawyer in Tampa, will be honored at The Bar’s annual pro bono service awards ceremony Jan. 30 at the Florida Supreme Court building in Tallahassee. Chief Justice Ricky Polston will present the award.
Buesing serves on the advisory council for the Lazydays Homeless Youth Program, where she works on bills benefitting homeless youth, including laws passed during the 2013 legislative session granting rights to youth without a parent or guardian.
Also receiving The Bar’s annual pro bono awards in 2014 are:
– Amy Hickman, a partner at Hausmann & Hickman in Boynton Beach. Hickman is a founding board member of the Florida Adoption Council, a fellow of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and a member of the board of the south coastal division of the Children’s Home Society of Florida. Through The Bar’s family law section, she advocates Florida adoption law reform.
– David Mangiero, a partner at Palmer, Palmer & Mangiero in Miami. Since 2006, he has provided more than 1,000 hours of pro bono legal service to the Miami-Dade County guardianship program, Dade Legal Aid/Put Something Back program and his clients. He has served as a members of the board of the Dade Guardianship Program since 1997.
– Stephen Moss, a partner in the Fort Lauderdale office of Holland & Knight. Two years ago, United Way of Broward County tapped Moss to help them create a comprehensive program to support the area’s military service members, veterans and their families. Launched in January 2013, Mission United is a partnership between United Way of Broward County and the American Red Cross. Moss worked more than 550 pro bono hours in 2013 to get the program off the ground.
– Hillsborough Circuit Judge Emily Peacock, who will receive the Distinguished Judicial Service Award. Peacock, who serves in the family law and juvenile dependency division, mentors attorneys and judges, speaks to voluntary bar groups and volunteers in the classroom and mock trial practices at law schools.
– David Van Loon, managing partner of Koening Highsmith & Van Loon in Key West. Much of his pro bono work is geared to families of students and student athletes, assisting them with financial matters and in the juvenile justice system. He has developed programs to address basic food and clothing needs and has spent more than 100 hours serving indigent clients in foreclosure cases.
– Tampa attorney Laura Ward of DLA Piper, who will receive the 2013 Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Pro Bono Service Award. In 2013, Ward logged 260 pro bono hours and has been recognized by her law firm for bringing court claims under The Hague Convention on International Child Abduction seeking the return of children wrongfully removed from their home countries.
– The Central Florida Bankruptcy Law Association, a nonprofit organization that supports the practice of bankruptcy law in Orlando federal court. The organization holds continuing education programs and service to the bench, bar and community.