Florida Supreme Court honors Stetson’s Hispanic Student Bar Association on Feb. 16

Contact Brandi Palmer
Communications Specialist

Gulfport, Fla. – Stetson University College of Law’s Hispanic Student Bar Association was honored for its outstanding pro bono work on Feb. 16 at the Supreme Court of Florida in Tallahassee.

Chief Justice Barbara J. Pariente and Florida Bar President Alan Bookman presented Stetson’s H.B.A. with the 2006 Chief Justice’s Voluntary Bar Association Pro Bono Service Award.

“Hopefully this will be an inspiration to other law schools,” said Justice Pariente.

The students worked year-round at Gulfcoast Legal Services in St. Petersburg and Clearwater to provide translation services for low-income Spanish-speaking community members who need legal assistance. Vanessa De Rosa accepted the award for Stetson’s H.B.A.

“Through its continuing work with Gulfcoast Legal Services, Stetson’s H.B.A. is committed to helping overcome the language barrier that stands between the Hispanic community in need of pro bono help and the lawyers committed to helping them.” De Rosa said.

Stetson alumni Katherine Ezell and Joseph Summonte also received awards for pro bono work at the ceremony. Ezell, who graduated from Stetson in 1969, received the Chief Justice’s Tobias Simon Pro Bono Service Award for her work providing legal aid to children. Summonte, a 1997 graduate, received the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Pro Bono Service Award for his legal work on behalf of those affected by the 2004 hurricane season.
Stetson was the first law school in Florida and one of the first law schools in the country to require public service by students and faculty. As part of their graduation requirement, all Stetson students are required to complete at least 20 hours of pro bono.

This year’s awards were sponsored by the Florida Supreme Court and The Florida Bar.

To watch the video of the ceremony, please visit

Then click on the video link from the February 16, 2006 Pro Bono Service Award Ceremony.