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Tampa Bay Lawyers to Receive Pro Bono Awards

Choung Mi Lim Akehurst | William Denton Slicker | George B. Howell III

A total of 22 lawyers from across the state will be honored during a ceremony at the Florida Supreme Court.

TAMPA BAY – The Florida Bar will recognize three Tampa Bay area lawyers for their work on behalf of low-income and disadvantaged clients at a Feb. 7 ceremony at the Supreme Court of Florida.

The three are among 22 Florida lawyers who will be honored that day.

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.

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.

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.

The Tampa Bay recipients:

Choung Mi Lim Akehurst
Fifth Judicial Circuit (Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion and Sumter counties)

Akehurst took the long road to Inverness, where she has been a trial court judicial staff attorney for the Fifth Judicial Circuit since 2010. She was born in South Korea, grew up in New York and attended college there, then earned her J.D. at the Stetson University College of Law. She also has a masters in law degree from the University of Turin, in Italy, and worked as a contractor for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Vienna, Austria.

Akehurst began volunteering with Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida in 2007, conducting pro se dissolution of marriage workshops in Lake County while she was a senior attorney with the state Department of Children and Families. She still conducts workshops, today working out of the Citrus County Courthouse. She was instrumental in helping develop protocols used to expand clinics and workshops using technology, with her workshops now being broadcast to Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida offices in Palatka, Kissimmee and Orlando. Akehurst has conducted more than 100 workshops. In addition to assisting clients there, she also has trained law students and other volunteer attorneys.

William Denton Slicker
Sixth
Judicial Circuit (Pasco and Pinellas counties)

Slicker has been a reliable volunteer with the Community Law Program in St. Petersburg almost since its inception in 1989. Slicker has participated in countless family law advice clinic sessions, handled countless cases, donated money to the organization and served as president of the Board of Trustees in 1999-2000. With two months still left in 2018, he had spent more than 220 hours handling family law cases ─ all of them representing victims of domestic violence seeking civil injunctions for protection or in related family law proceedings. Slicker also advanced litigation costs on behalf of his pro bono clients of more than $7,300, with little expectation of being reimbursed by the opposing parties.

In addition to his pro bono work, Slicker advocates for victims of domestic violence in other forums. In the 1990s, he helped prepare legal arguments for a woman who received clemency. She was only the second woman in Florida to receive clemency because she acted in self-defense.

Slicker earned his J.D. in 1976 from the Florida State University College of Law. He has been in solo practice in St. Petersburg since 1987.

George B. Howell III
13th Judicial Circuit (Hillsborough County)

Howell, a partner in Holland & Knight’s Tampa office, has a long history of service to the Tampa Bay community and especially its military community. A signature achievement was establishing Mission United, a program launched in January 2018 that assists veterans and their families, with a special focus on active duty service members who are transitioning back to civilian life. Services include pro bono legal assistance, as well as navigating the Department of Veterans Affairs health system, GI Bill assistance, housing and homelessness and emergency financial assistance. Working with United Way Suncoast, Howell recruited a 21-member Advisory Council, raised funds, hired a program director and brought the community and veterans together to understand veterans’ needs.

Howell also is leading an effort with Bay Area Legal Services to seek a $500,000 recurring appropriation for a five-county regional Veterans Legal Helpline. Howell’s commitment to the military also involves pro bono representation of individuals and families. Howell also has represented the small True Faith Inspirational Baptist Church pro bono for more than a decade.

Howell received his J.D. from South Texas College of Law in Houston.

This year’s awards ceremony, which also honors individual, circuit, law firm, voluntary bar, state judicial and federal judicial pro bono efforts, is scheduled for 3:30 .m. Feb. 7 at the Supreme Court of Florida. The ceremony will be streamed live at wfsu.org/gavel2gavel as well as on Facebook at facebook.com/floridasupremecourt.

Photo shows, from left, Choung Mi Lim Akehurst, William Denton Slicker and George B. Howell III.

Florida Bar | Pro Bono | Courts | Tampabay News

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Tampa Bay Lawyers to Receive Pro Bono Awards
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Tampa Bay Lawyers to Receive Pro Bono Awards
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A total of 22 lawyers from across the state will be honored during a ceremony at the Florida Supreme Court.
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TB Reporter
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