Legal Aid Service of Broward County (LAS) and its Board of Directors are pleased to announce Patrice Paldino, Esq., M.S.Ed. will be the organization’s next Executive Director, effective January 1, 2021.
LAS is a not-for-profit law firm providing high-quality free civil legal advice, representation and education to vulnerable residents of Broward County. Paldino succeeds the current Executive Director, Anthony J. Karrat, Esq., who will retire at the end of December 2020 after more than four decades of service to the community.
Paldino will continue to hold her current position as Executive Director of Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida (CCLA), the organization’s sister not-for-profit firm, until 2021, when she will assume the new position. Prior to this role, Paldino worked as Director of Housing Rights Programs at LAS for more than ten years.
“Patrice is passionate, committed and driven to improving the lives of underserved members of our community, and has a great track record of identifying necessary resources to effectively serve those most in need,” said Sherylle Francis, Board Chair for LAS. “We are confident that having her at the helm will advance LAS’s mission of serving the community.”
During her tenure as Executive Director at CCLA, Paldino increased the organization’s staff by 30 percent and grew the budget by 25 percent, further strengthening CCLA’s legal services delivery system. Her leadership has ensured that advocacy is aggressive and client centered.
“I am excited about this next step and consider myself fortunate that my career has allowed me the opportunity to work with many great people at both CCLA and LAS,” said Paldino. “I am honored that the Board of Directors entrusted me to lead Coast to Coast and now Legal Aid in providing critical legal services to the most vulnerable members of our community.”
Patrice Paldino has consistently worked to better the lives and living conditions of others. She began her legal career as an Assistant General Counsel to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board, where she drafted sections of the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Law that were subsequently adopted by the State Legislature.
After relocating to Florida, she represented the State of Florida in dependency cases where children suffered the most extreme abuse, abandonment or neglect. Paldino led the cases that were the removals of children from their parents and terminations of their parental rights where parents had committed acts of extreme sexual and physical abuse, including the murder of siblings and/or parents.
Shifting her career to the representation of families in distress, Paldino joined the Housing team at LAS in 2009. There she coordinated appellate and other advocacy efforts focused on effectuating systemic change for tenants throughout the state of Florida. She participated in the design and implementation of county-wide collaborations amongst several multi-disciplined partner agencies to enhance services to persons with HIV/AIDS, the LGBTQ population, veterans, and families. She is a nationally recognized expert on the creation of legal service programs designed to resolve root cause issues which lead to homelessness, particularly among vulnerable groups.
Known for her outstanding advocacy and effectiveness in negotiating favorable settlements for her clients, Paldino also does not shy away from litigation. She has participated over a dozen appeals, one of which resulted in a favorable ruling from the 4th District Court of Appeals with a direct impact on renters statewide. Specifically, the appellate court ruled that eviction courts violate tenants’ due process rights when the court grants a motion to dismiss the eviction case but awards rent to the landlord nonetheless. This has significant impact in a State such as Florida where the law requires a tenant to post rent in order to be entitled to a hearing.
Paldino received a M.S. in Education and Community and Social Change from the University of Miami, graduating summa cum laude in 2013; graduated cum laude with a J.D. from New England Law in 1996; and graduated with honors with a B.S. degree from Rutgers University in 1992.