August 2018: John Bristol
John Bristol has been an active volunteer with Broward Lawyers Care and Legal Aid for the past 24 years, during which he has handled 43 pro bono cases in the areas of consumer law and bankruptcy. He has assisted elderly clients, homeowners facing the loss of their home to foreclosure and tax deed sales, and clients who are medically needy with substantial hospital debts. He has also helped clients reinstate their driver’s licenses when they were suspended due to inability to pay. Ultimately, John’s work enables clients to restore financial stability for themselves and their families.
John has been practicing law since 1988. He assists clients with resolution of bankruptcy matters. He currently maintains a private practice in Plantation, FL.
July 2018: Arnold “Skip” Straus
Arnold is a partner at Straus & Eisler PA, a general practice firm. He formed the firm in 2000 with Michael Eisler, with whom he shared the same philosophy of how to practice law: treat the clients as part of the family, and they will remain clients for life. Arnold began taking pro bono cases from Legal Aid in 1994. He has handled 20 cases since then, including Real Property, Probate, Estate Planning, Family Law, Employment, and Housing for both Broward Lawyer’s Care and the Veterans Pro Bono Project.
June 2018: Claudia Barona
Claudia Barona has been practicing law since 1994. She currently maintains a private practice in Hollywood, assisting clients with resolution of real estate and estate planning matters.
Over the past three years, Claudia has donated over 70 hours of legal service to Broward Lawyers Care (BLC) and advised over 120 low-income clients through the BLC Advice & Counsel Hotline. The Hotline educates callers about their legal rights, addressing topics such as landlord-tenant, consumer, and family law issues. Specifically, Claudia has assisted clients facing foreclosure, garnishment, debt collections, eviction, illegal lock-outs, withholding of security deposits, and uninhabitable living conditions.
May 2018: Nicole Avila
Nicole has been an active pro bono attorney with Broward Lawyers Care and Legal Aid since 2015. She is the founder of Avila Law PLLC, focusing her practice solely on immigration law to help her clients achieve their “American Dream.” Her goal is to help clients find their ideal solution to complex immigration issues. Whether it be filing through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service or defending clients in removal proceedings, Nicole possesses the tools, knowledge, and compassion to guide and defend clients through this difficult process.
Nicole recently handled a pro bono case for one of our clients who was a victim of a violent crime. She assisted the client with expedited processing for a U Visa. This application normally takes between 3 – 4 years to be processed with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”). Nicole requested expedited processing because her client became severely ill and was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma, underwent kidney removal surgery, and was unable to walk well due to excruciating pain. The expedited processing was approved and, as a result, the client was able to file for an employment authorization document and was able to get medical insurance through the marketplace to help her with her medical issues.
Nicole was born in Venezuela and grew up in South Florida. As such, she understands the hardships and complexities of immigrating to a new country. She earned her Juris Doctor from Nova Southeastern University and is actively involved in the South Florida Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
April 2018: Elizabeth Finizio
Elizabeth has been practicing law since 2000 and is with The Law Offices of Paul G. Finizio. For the past eight years, she has been an active volunteer with Legal Aid, assisting survivors of domestic violence with resolving their family law issues, including obtaining restraining orders and divorces. She also advises clients on resolving their housing issues through our Advice & Counsel Hotline.
March 2018: Jill Ginsberg
An estate planning and probate attorney at Ginsberg Shulman, Jill’s true passion lies in protecting South Florida’s elderly and incapacitated from finance exploitation and abuse. Jill has represented four Veteran clients with guardianship and special needs planning through the MISSION UNITED Veterans Pro Bono Project and has assisted countless others through advice and education.
February 2018: Jesse Diner
Jesse Diner has been involved with Legal Aid programs in Broward for more than 20 years, serving on the Board of Directors, the Executive Council, fundraising committees, and in other high profile roles. Many may not realize that Jesse regularly takes pro bono cases, helping clients resolve their housing and consumer issues through dedicated work with Broward Lawyers Care.
Most recently, he represented a client who is a full-time caretaker of a disabled child with only disability income and food stamps. Client was being sued to collect on a 20-year-old debt, however the collector could not prove authority to collect the debt. The original debt was close to $6,000, but with 20 years of interest accrued, the debt collector was seeking roughly $18,000. Diner defended the client, and in the end, the debt collector agreed to dismiss the case without collecting a dime.
Diner explains his commitment to pro bono legal representation, saying, “There is a clear need to assist many people who do not have the skills and resources to help themselves. Lawyers can help fill that void by using their training and abilities to help those less fortunate. We all need to strive to make a difference.”
Jesse is a Past President of The Florida Bar, Past President of the Broward County Bar Association and Past Chair of Legal Aid Service of Broward County. He was honored with the Russell E. Carlisle Advocacy Award from Legal Aid Service of Broward County in 2017.
Jesse grew up in Hollywood, Florida, receiving a B.A. degree at Gettysburg College and a J.D. from St. John’s University in New York. He is currently a commercial and trusts and estates litigator with Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, PC.
January 2018: Michael Costantino
Michael Costantino works with the MISSION UNITED Veterans Pro Bono Project to provide quality legal services to Veterans facing family law issues. Since inception of the project, Michael has taken on eleven (11) pro bono client issues. Michael is a United States Air Force Veteran with thirteen years of honorable service.
Michael is a compassionate advocate who is not afraid to handle some of the more complicated pro bono matters including child custody, adoptions, support enforcement and modification, dissolution of marriage, and visitation. He has deeply impacted the lives of Veterans who trust him to handle their legal issues when they are most vulnerable. One client offered “going through my family problem was the most stressful time of my life. Mr. Costantino helped me understand the confusing process and allowed me to take some of the weight off my shoulders.”
Michael is the sole practitioner at New Horizons Law and specializes in family and marital law.
November 2017: Jennifer Gomez
October 2017: David Glantz
September 2017: Robert M. Bell
August 2017: Hilary Creary
July 2017: Susan Alspector
June 2017: Sara Sandler
May 2017: Annabella Barboza
April 2017: Donald Fucik
March 2017: Dia T. Colbert
February 2017: Cristina Sabbagh
January 2017: Andrea Keiser
December 2016: Alan A. Pascal
November 2016: Robert Murphy
October 2016: Lindsay Massillon
September 2016: Alejandro Larrazabal
August 2016: Todd Clarke
July 2016: Alan Reinfeld
June 2016: Judith Schwartz
May 2016: Lorraine Hoffman
April 2016: Louis Reinstein
March 2016: Tara Intriago
February 2016: Scott D. Owens
January 2016: Charles Fox Miller and Lauren Alperstein