Legal Aid Service of Broward County Names Brent Thompson as Executive Director
Promotes Debra Koprowski and Carol A. O’Callaghan to Deputy Executive Directors
The Board of Directors of Legal Aid Service of Broward County, Inc., (LAS) serving both Broward and Collier counties, is pleased to announce that Brent Thompson has been selected to serve as the nonprofit’s new Executive Director effective February 28, 2022. Thompson succeeds Executive Director, Anthony J. (Tony) Karrat, who retired on January 31, 2022, after dedicating more than four decades of extraordinary service to the organization. Additionally, Debra Koprowski was promoted to serve as Deputy Executive Director of Legal Aid Service of Broward County(LASBC) and Carol A. O’Callaghan will serve as Deputy Executive Director of Legal Aid Service of Collier County (LASCC).
As Executive Director, Thompson will continue Legal Aid’s mission of providing high-quality free civil legal advice, representation, and education to vulnerable residents of Broward and Collier counties. Prior to this role, Thompson served as the Executive Director of East River Legal Services, a non-profit that offers free legal services to more than 46,000 people living in poverty in Eastern South Dakota.
“Brent has devoted the past twenty years to providing legal services to those in need and has a proven track record of success,” said Douglas Reynolds, Board Chair of LAS. “We look forward to Brent sharing his passion and commitment for public interest law with our South Florida community.”
As Executive Director of East River Legal Services, Thompson enhanced program capacity resulting in a 300% increase in clients served per year. He also developed a new fundraising strategy, increased programming revenue, and successfully lobbied the South Dakota Legislature resulting in state funding for legal aid, a first in South Dakota’s history. Before joining East River Legal Services, Thompson served as a staff attorney for Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid for more than 11 years managing a high-volume caseload and co-chaired the Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Interdisciplinary Project Team. Thompson has argued before the Minnesota Court of Appeals and participated in establishing the Stearns County Domestic Violence Court. He graduated from the University of North Dakota School of Law.
In addition to Thompson’s new role, Debra Koprowski and Carol O’Callaghan have both been promoted to the positions of Deputy Executive Director of Legal Aid Service of Broward County and Deputy Executive Director of Legal Aid Service of Collier County, respectively.
“The promotions for both Debra and Carol are well deserved, each bringing experience, extraordinary patience and genuine compassion to the legal profession especially when working with our clients,” said Reynolds. “We know they will have a very positive impact in their new leadership positions.”
Koprowski previously served as the Regional Director of Advocacy for Legal Aid Programs in Broward and Collier Counties from 2010 to 2021. She supervises, mentors, co-counsels, and advises staff attorneys and paralegals in litigation matters. In addition, she executes administrative and project duties for the programs. Prior to this, Debra focused her practice on Senior Law, representing individuals over sixty years of age in foreclosure, eviction, and fraud matters at Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida (CCLA). In 2019, Debra was named Employee of the Year by both LAS and CCLA.
She earned a BA (High Honors) from the University of Florida and a JD from Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law.
O’Callaghan joined Legal Aid Service of Collier County in 2005 as a staff attorney practicing in family law and became Managing Attorney at LASCC in 2010. Carol is past president of both the Collier County Bar Association – Young Lawyers Section and the Collier County Women’s Bar Association (CCWBA). The Florida Association of Women Lawyers inducted her as member of the 2015 Class of Leaders in the Law. The CCWBA named her the Woman Lawyer of the Year for 2015/2016. In 2021, she was included on the Naples 100 list by Naples Illustrated as one of Collier County’s most influential business leaders. A triple Gator, she earned her BA (Honors), MA, and JD from the University of Florida.