Sharon Bourassa, attorney and director of special projects at Legal Aid Service of Broward County (LAS), was recently selected to receive The Florida Bar Foundation’s Jane Elizabeth Curran Distinguished Service Award.
The award is named for the Foundation’s first executive director and recognizes individuals who have achieved meaningful, effective and lasting increases in access to civil justice for the poor in Florida throughout the course of their career.
At LAS, Bourassa pursues and prosecutes cases that impact the low-income community. She has represented families in cases involving federal and state environmental laws, housing laws and local code enforcement laws. The cases that she wins often provide class-wide relief to large segments of the low-income population.
Most recently, she has developed programs to represent low-income adults whose legal issues prevent them from continuing their education or job training.
“Sharon has been and remains to be a stalwart in the selfless pursuit of justice, demonstrating exemplary commitment to solving the legal problems of extremely low-income people,” said Anthony Karrat, executive director of LAS. “She has been successful in a variety of forums and is known for providing unwavering support to colleagues and others who work in the legal services community.”
Bourassa began working at LAS in 1981 with an early interest and compassion for the low-income community. Before becoming a lawyer, she was a divorced mother of two young children receiving welfare assistance and a section 8 housing voucher. She became determined to earn a college degree and go on to law school to help both her own family and others in similar situations.
The Jane Elizabeth Curran Distinguished Service Award, which is sponsored by Akerman LLP, was presented at The Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek on June 14 during The Florida Bar Foundation’s Forty-Second Annual Reception and Dinner.