During WPLG-ABC Local 10’s My Future, My Choice Annual LIFE Awards on October 19, Legal Aid Service of Broward County’s Executive Director Tony Karrat was awarded the prestigious LIFEtime Award. The honor was in recognition of his lifetime of work supporting Legal Aid programs in Broward County, and providing access to justice to the most underserved members of the community.
This was the third annual My Future, My Choice LIFE Awards program hosted by WPLG-ABC Local 10. The highly esteemed awards program recognizes outstanding members of the community for their contributions in the areas of leadership, inspiration, family and education.
“I am so very proud to have been honored this way from the community that I have been a part of for more than 45 years”, said Legal Aid Service of Broward County Executive Director Tony Karrat. “It has been a pleasure working with an esteemed group of lawyers and providing critical legal services and resources to clients throughout the years.”
Legal Aid Service of Broward County is a non-profit organization founded in 1973 that provides legal services to under-privileged residents of Broward County. Tony Karrat has been with the organization for more than 45 years and has more than 50 years of legal experience as an attorney. As Executive Director, Karrat has been responsible for overseeing all program operations in both Broward and Collier Counties. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the George Washington University Law Center.
Karat joined Legal Aid of Broward County in 1975 as a branch office supervising attorney prior to being named Executive Director in 1976. Under his direction, Legal Aid has grown from a three-attorney office with a $250,000 budget to a regional law firm of 73 attorneys with a budget of $12 million. During these years, the program has had a significant impact on the low income community of Broward County in areas as diverse as housing conditions for the poor to protecting victims of domestic violence, to helping the homeless, elderly, children and people with HIV/AIDS.
To note a major accomplishment in Karrat’s stunning career, in 1981, he led the development and creation of Broward Lawyers Care which is administered by Legal Aid and enables over 1,230 private attorneys to donate services to the poor each year. Broward Lawyers Care is the pro bono unit within Legal Aid and is the recognized pro bono program in Broward County, Florida.
Thus, more than 4,240 Broward lawyers have participated and roughly 18,450 clients/families have received legal assistance from Broward Lawyers Care during the past 36 years. There are more than 9,000 attorneys in Broward County, but only one Legal Aid attorney for every 6,742 people living in poverty. Broward Lawyers Care enables busy attorneys to make a difference in their community. Legal Aid manages the administrative issues so that the attorney’s time is spent directly on the clients’ legal needs. Services at Legal Aid are designed to help clients build self-sufficiency.