Recipient of The Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award by the Florida Supreme Court for the 17th Circuit
Dia Teresa Colbert didn’t take the usual route to becoming a lawyer.
After graduating from Boston College’s school of management, she became a paralegal, working with firms in New York and South Florida. She always had wanted to go to law school and open her own office, but work came first. So, over the course of 18 years, often taking courses at night, she earned an MBA and, finally, her J.D. in 2003, from the Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law. In 2010, she became a member of The Florida Bar.
Today, her dream has come true at The Colbert Law Firm LLC in Davie. Now, she says, she feels a need to give something back and help people in need. As she succinctly put it, “I like to have a good night’s sleep.”
Over the last two years, Colbert has helped more than a dozen pro bono clients, contributing her time to Legal Aid Service of Broward County and Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida through their joint pro bono project, Broward Lawyers Care.
Colbert’s nomination says she never turns down a case from Broward Lawyers Care, and often asks to represent more clients. She is among the most active pro bono attorneys in the project. Colbert primarily represents clients on Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases.
She has assisted clients in reinstating driver’s licenses that were suspended due to debts, and in stopping garnishments of wages so that clients can afford to pay for their rent and car. Several of her clients had crippling medical debt, including one who is a cancer survivor. One client was a victim of identity theft who was being sued over a $29,000 debt that she did not incur. Another client was a stroke victim whose wages were being garnished. With a few months left in 2018, Colbert had reported more than 120 hours of pro bono legal service.
She says her work is “all about helping clients not feel helpless, finding some peace in their lives again, and leaving them in a better place than when we met.”