The Law Firm of the Year award honors a firm that has a long history of supporting the legal aid programs and their clients in Broward County. This year we honor Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman for their long history of support and participation. Weiss Serota provides a trifecta of support to our organizations including financial assistance, pro bono legal representation and volunteer service to our organizations.
Weiss Serota has made a commitment to working closely with organizations, associations and individuals that are dedicated to helping the community. The firm helps LAS and CCLA fulfill their mission of providing high quality free civil legal advice, representation and education to the disadvantaged of Broward County. The firm shares the vision of improving the lives of the low-income community and encouraging self-sufficiency. The attorneys at Weiss Serota make major contributions in different ways, particularly through financial assistance and volunteer service.
There are many attorneys at the firm who have made LAS and CCLA part of their lives. Alison Smith, a partner with Weiss Serota, has been involved personally for many years. After completing six years of service on the Board of Directors, which included serving as Chairperson, Alison explained, “Serving as a member of the Board was a full-circle moment for me, as I initially volunteered as an intern at Legal Aid in 2001. I worked in the Homeless Unit handling intake and was able to help some of the most unfortunate and forgotten in our society.”
Although she no longer has an official role, Alison still advocates for the services provided by LAS and CCLA. She personally has given time and talent supporting the organizations at fundraising events and helping with the annual Holiday Adopt-a-Family event. She also takes cases and volunteers with the Broward Lawyers Care Advice and Counsel Hotline, where attorneys assist clients on a wide variety of issues, including landlord-tenant disputes, foreclosure matters, credit card claims, and other debt matters. One of her pro bono clients was so grateful that he started crying and expressed so much relief at simply being able to speak to someone who cared about his issue. Alison said that singular moment was remarkable. “There is nothing like the feeling of helping someone in need—nothing! It literally gives me goosebumps,” she said.
“It is part of the firm philosophy to align ourselves with organizations that make a real difference in the community,” said Mitch Burnstein, the firm managing director. “Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman has long been a significant supporter of Legal Aid and Coast to Coast Legal Aid, and takes great pride in its impact with these important and effective groups.”
Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman, P.L. is a South Florida law firm serving corporate, governmental and individual clients with an integrated array of professional services including commercial litigation, land-use and real estate law, construction law, communications, labor and employment law, government law and governmental relations. The firm has offices in Coral Gables, Ft. Lauderdale and Boca Raton.