The Florida Bar will recognize 22 lawyers statewide, including Jaime Rich Vining and Elisa D’Amico from the 11th Judicial Circuit (Miami-Dade County), for their work on behalf of low-income and disadvantaged clients during a Feb. 7 ceremony at the Supreme Court of Florida.
Established in 1981, The Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Awards are intended to encourage lawyers to volunteer free legal services to the poor by recognizing those who make public service commitments and to raise public awareness of the substantial volunteer services provided by Florida lawyers to those who cannot afford legal fees. Florida Bar president Michelle R. Suskauer will present the 2019 awards.
The awards recognize pro bono service in each of Florida’s 20 judicial circuits (with two honorees this year in the 11th Circuit) as well as service by one Florida Bar member practicing outside the state of Florida. They are presented annually in conjunction with the Tobias Simon Pro Bono Service Award, which is given by the chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court.
Awards recognizing pro bono contributions also will be presented in the categories of Distinguished Judicial Service, Distinguished Federal Judicial Service, Law Firm Commendation, Voluntary Bar Association and Young Lawyers Division.
In the most recent 12 months reported, Florida lawyers provided more than 1.58 million hours of pro bono services to those in need and more than $5.8 million to legal aid organizations.
Elisa D’Amico moved to Miami less than 10 years ago, and in the short time since she has become a pro bono superhero in the fight against cyber harassment and revenge porn.
In 2014, D’Amico co-founded the Cyber Civil Rights Legal Project (CCRLP). CCRLP was founded on the principle that people have a right of privacy when it comes to their intimate images and that public dissemination of that material without consent is an invasion of privacy that amounts to a “cyber civil rights” violation.
CCRLP is now recognized as a leading legal resource to protect the rights of revenge porn victims worldwide. It has provided pro bono legal help to thousands of people, with volunteers donating tens of thousands of hours. CCRLP has removed thousands of
nonconsensually distributed explicit images and video from the Internet.
D’Amico earned her JD in 2006 from Fordham Law School, and in 2009 joined K&L Gates LLP in Miami, where she is now a litigation partner. In 2016, D’Amico received The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division’s Pro Bono Service Award.
Jaime Rich Vining is Board Certified in Intellectual Property Law, specializing in trademark, copyright, entertainment and Internet law with Friedland Vining PA in Miami. Using that expertise, Vining works extensively with Dade Legal Aid’s Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts/Arts & Business Council of Miami, leading legal clinics and one-on-one legal consultations for artists, and with Cannonball Miami (formerly known as LegalArt).
Her pro bono clients have included a designer who needed copyright protection for tote bags, with all proceeds to be donated to charity, and an art collective of former stay-at-home mothers and entrepreneurs re-entering the workforce.
About 10 years ago, after learning that funding for legal services was rapidly declining, Vining created the Patently Impossible Project. Competitors race to accurately assemble a patented invention — perhaps a catapult made of tongue depressors, rubber bands and clothespins — while more than 300 lawyers, judges, law students and members of the business community cheer them on and “bet” on their favorite contestants. The Patently Impossible Project has raised more than $150,000.
Vining earned her JD from the University of Miami School of Law.
This year’s ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 7, at 3:30 p.m. at the Supreme Court of Florida. Watch it live at http://wfsu.org/gavel2gavel as well as on Facebook at www.facebook.com/floridasupremecourt.