By Diversity Access Pipeline, Inc.'s Journey to Esquire
A resource for students and lawyers alike providing the best ways to promote diversity, create access, and feed the legal pipeline with lawyers who will lead, mentor and inspire. The format will vary between interviews, tutorials, recordings of live events and individual stories from legal professionals in the Tampa Bay Area. This podcast is a project of Diversity Access Pipeline, Inc. a Florida nonprofit corporation and 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The podcast is run by students and alumni in the Journey to Esquire: Scholarship & Leadership Program.
In this episode, we pass the mic to Brielle F. Bell, Class of 2019 Scholar and current board member.
Ms. Bell is an Associate at Bush Ross, P.A. practicing Bankruptcy and Commercial Litigation. Brielle represents debtors, creditors, and trustees in Chapter 11 and 13 reorganizations and Chapter 7 liquidations. She also represents parties in all aspects of litigation in federal and state courts. Prior to joining the Board, Brielle was one of the inaugural scholars in the Diversity Access Pipeline program. Brielle graduated cum laude from Stetson University College of Law and competed on the Moot Court Board and Stetson Trial Team. While at Stetson, Brielle interned with the Honorable Charlene E. Honeywell in the Middle District of Florida and in 2018, Ms. JD Fellow. She has since clerked with the Honorable Roberta A. Colton in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Middle District of Florida.
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In this episode, we pass the mic to Jamila S. Little. Ms. Little is an attorney licensed to practice law in Florida, and in the Caribbean. Her practice areas include immigration, criminal defense, personal injury, and business law. Jamila continues to represent her clients in State court and Federal Immigration court as an immigration attorney in Tampa Bay.
She hails from the beautiful twin isle of Trinidad and Tobago. Jamila graduated with honors from Spelman College in Atlanta, GA, where she majored in Economics and minored in Business Administration. She obtained her Masters in Business Administration (MBA), with a concentration in Finance, from Clark Atlanta University School of Business. She worked in the Banking and Finance Industry for several years prior to becoming an attorney. She received her Juris Doctorate from Florida International University College of Law in Miami, FL.
Jamila served as a Certified Legal Intern with Miami-Dade Public Defender’s Office, in the felony division, and with Florida International University Immigration and Human Rights Clinic. She was also a member of the Florida International University Board of Advocates and a law school Ambassador. As a Florida Bar Fellow, Jamila worked at Catholic Charities Legal Services in Miami, FL, where she assisted with several immigration cases.
#DiversityAccessPipeline, #JourneytoEsquire, #DiversityandInclusion, #Scholarship, #Diversity, #Excellence, #FloridaBar, #FloridaAttorney, #YoungLawyer, #Florida, #LawSchool, #FloridaLawyer, #FloridaBarYoungLawyersDivision, #barexam, #barexamprep, #BarBri, #kaplan, #themis, #agape, #barprep, #deepfocus, #studymusic, #ambient, #concentration, #adhd
In this episode, we pass the mic to Michena Georges.
Ms. Georges is the newest Board Member of the JTE team. She received her B.A. in Political Science from the University of South Florida and her J.D. from Florida A&M University College of Law. Ms. Georges is also a veteran who served for several years in the United States Navy as a Hospital Corpsman and an Emergency Medical Technician. She currently works full time as an Assistant Coach at a federal agency. There, she performs the duties of the team coach in her absence and shares the daily responsibilities that ensure the team’s quality and timeliness of service meet performance indicator goals. She also guides her team on best practices to complete their duties as well as analyzes and interprets laws, rules, and regulations as they affect the establishment of new policies, procedures, and/or methods of operation. Prior to being an assistant coach, she was a Rating Service Representative. She made decisions on claims received and remanded claims from the Board of Appeals. She was also a volunteer Guardian ad Litem with the Sixth Judicial Circuit and volunteered for the VITA Tax Assistance Program in law school. Through her military, education, and volunteer experience, Ms. Georges is uniquely qualified to assist students who are nontraditional, either because they are veterans, entering law school at a later stage in life, or interested in a nontraditional attorney career.
To listen to the presentation by Luis Aleman mentioned in this episode go here: https://youtu.be/6b-CW5qkh94?t=670
An Associate at Butler, Suzanne DeCopain practices in our Coverage Defense department. Suzanne has been a member of the Florida Bar since 2009 and is based in our Tampa office. She is admitted to the United States District Court for the Middle, Southern and Northern Districts of Florida. Before joining Butler, Suzanne served as an Assistant State Attorney for the 20th Judicial Circuit for three years. During her time there, she gained significant jury and bench trial experience. Suzanne also has experience in landlord/tenant matters for public housing authorities. While prosecuting, Suzanne taught as an Adjunct Professor at her undergraduate school, Florida Gulf Coast University. Since moving to Tampa, Suzanne became active with various bar associations including the George Edgecomb Bar Association and has held various positions. She is currently on the Board of Directors for the Diversity Access Pipeline and also serves as the Learn Your Legal Rights Community Workshop chair. She was selected as the 2019 recipient of the GEBA Young Lawyers Award for her upstanding work in the legal community as a leader and a mentor. And in 2019, Suzanne was appointed to the Board of Directors for the InterOcean University, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide online college education tuition-free.
Marisol Ruiz joined McIntyre Thanasides as an associate in the complex litigation division in 2020. Before joining McIntyre Thanasides, Marisol worked as an associate attorney where her practice consisted of the representation of several community associations, real estate, family law, business litigation, and bankruptcy.
Marisol is a Tampa native and a proud “double Gator”, having previously graduated from the University of Florida (UF) in 2013 with two bachelor’s degrees — a B.A. in Criminology & Law and a B.A. in Anthropology, then later graduating from the University of Florida Levin College of law in 2017.
Marisol has a passion for advocacy and actively volunteers with numerous pro bono projects ranging from helping children in foster care to assisting with cases for Bay Area Legal Services. During law school, Marisol worked extensively with Judge Rawls in the Dependency and Delinquency Clinic (Gator TeamChild), where she represented children in various types of proceedings. Upon graduating from law school, Marisol became a certified Guardian Ad Litem continuing her dependency and delinquency work in addition to helping human trafficking victims.
Marisol is very active in the legal community serving on the Young Lawyers Division Professionalism and Ethics committee, a member of the Stann Givens Family Law Inn of Court, a member of the Hispanic Bar, and a member of The Hillsborough Association of Women Lawyers. She is fluent in English and Spanish.
Ben Fechter is an associate in Gunster's business litigation practice. He focuses his practice on various business torts and breach of contract disputes at the federal, state, and local levels, assisting individuals and businesses of all sizes.
His case work includes real estate developments, fraudulent transfers in bankruptcy court, public record disclosures, legal malpractice claims, breaches of contract, and probate litigation. Ben has experience arguing for clients in court, participating in mediations and depositions, drafting complaints, motions, subpoenas, and letters to clients and client customers, and overseeing all levels of discovery, including document review and production, researching and analyzing law.
Ben is passionate about advocating for others. He strives to prioritize relationships, and focuses on collaborating with clients and colleagues while attempting to find the best solutions to complex issues.
Ben is actively involved in the Palm Beach County Bar Association (PBCBA), serving as a board member of the Young Lawyer Section. In 2019, he was appointed to the Judicial Relations Committee and the Professionalism Committee for which he has published material on developing a reputation for professionalism. Ben also volunteers for the Jewish Federation and the Florence de George Boys & Girls Club.
While earning his law degree, Ben was a member of the Florida Law Review and Florida Trial Team. He interned with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, the Legal Aid Society in New York City, and the civil rights defense group, LatinoJustice, in New York City. Prior to launching on his legal career, Ben spent three years working in middle schools in Bronx, NY.
Lyndonna Marrast, MD, MPH is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Donald and Barbara Zucker SOM at Hofstra/Northwell. She is a researcher, educator, and general internist. Her research interests include health disparities interventions and workforce diversity. Currently, she studies the perspectives of racial and ethnic minorities on the design and implementation of Personalized (n-of-1) trials (Grant # 3R01LM012836-03S1). Dr. Marrast teaches interprofessional trainees on topics of health equity and forms community-academic partnerships that seek to increase the health literacy of the general public. Dr. Marrast believes in the power of individuals to become better versions of themselves and is pursuing training to become an academic coach. She earned her medical degree from Stony Brook University Health Science Center and holds a master’s degree in public health from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. She completed internal medicine residency training at Boston Medical Center and general internal medicine fellowship training at Harvard Medical School/Cambridge Health Alliance.
#healthdisparities #lawyerwellness #physicalhealth #covid19
Elaine L. Thompson has been practicing law since 1989. She began her legal career working as an Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Appeals Division of the Florida Attorney General's Office in Tampa. Over the next ten years, Ms. Thompson continued to develop her legal skills and knowledge while working in the Employment Discrimination Section and the Office of Civil Rights where she represented the State, State agencies, and State employees in appellate, trial, and federal habeas corpus proceedings. After honing her craft with the Florida Attorney General's Office, attorney Thompson worked in private practice representing parties in workers compensation matters, criminal appeals, civil appeals, civil litigation, and family appeals. Ms. Thompson worked briefly at the Fulton County District Attorney's Office. Upon her return to Florida, she worked at a private law firm that handled cases involving medical malpractice, personal injury, and limited appeals. From there she joined the Office of the Public Defender in Tampa where she served as a supervisor of the Appellate Division, represented clients in Baker Act proceedings, and handled post-conviction matters. After practicing law for more than twenty-five years, Ms. Thompson decided to focus her practice on the most rewarding work she performs as a lawyer - appellate cases. Having attended law school because of her interest in constitutional law, she continues to pursue work related to constitutional claims, civil liberties, disability rights, education rights, and individual property rights. In addition to appeals, Ms. Thompson provides litigation support to trial lawyers and simplified estate planning.
In this episode, we pass the mic to Sarah Gottlieb. She is an Associate in the Litigation Practice Group and a member of the Insurance/Reinsurance Industry Team at Freeborn. Sarah focuses her practice on complex commercial litigation.
She served as a Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable Charlene Edwards Honeywell in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. She also previously served as an Associate at Phelps Dunbar LLP.
Sarah graduated cum laude from Stetson University College of Law, where she participated in the Honors Program, served as a Notes and Comments Editor for Stetson Law Review, and served as a Judicial Intern for the Honorable Elizabeth Kovachevich and the Honorable Anthony Porcelli of the Middle District of Florida. Before attending law school and becoming a lawyer, Sarah worked as a journalist.
Sarah is active in the community, serving on the board of the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and volunteering with Lawyers for Literacy. In her spare time, Sarah can be found outdoors, visiting family in her home state of New York, and reading literature and history.
For more about Sarah Gottlieb visit: https://www.freeborn.com/people/sarah-gottlieb
The Tampa Bay Chapter of the Federal Bar Association: https://www.federalbartampa.org/
In this episode, we pass the mic to Kamilah O'Brien to discuss student loan debt and living you bet financial life.
Kamilah O’Brien is an operations and financial nonprofit professional with the proven ability to create and optimize operational systems as well as manage billion-dollar budgets.
Upon graduating with her Masters of Public Administration in General Finance from NYU, Kamilah had over $65,000 of student loan debt. After realizing her salary wasn’t enough to conquer her debt, Kamilah researched and tested several strategies to help her achieve financial freedom. In just three years' time, Kamilah paid off her student loan debt.
Today, Kamilah, also known as the Focused Spender to her YouTube following, is a corporate Senior Financial Manager, speaker, and consultant. She helps her followers stop living paycheck to paycheck by maximizing their savings, investments, and debt payoff. It’s her mission to help people determine and achieve their long term financial goals while reshaping their financial habits.
Get the free download mentioned in the interview here: https://focusedspenderpayday.lpages.co/5-payday-mistakes/
Connect with The Focused Spender at:
In this episode, we pass the mic to Mandi Clay to discuss voluntary bar associations and mental health.
A commercial litigator, Mandi has experience in a variety of subject matters, including labor & employment, intellectual property, restrictive covenants, and class actions. Mandi has experienced the practice of law from both sides of the bench, having clerked for U.S. District Judge Gregory A. Presnell and U.S. District Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell, both in the Middle District of Florida.
Within the legal community, Mandi is well respected among both practitioners and the judiciary. She began her pro bono work in 2008, her first year in private practice, by representing a teenager who was shot in the back by police officers, giving her immediate trial experience. Mandi is also a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Court Mediator and U.S. District Court Mediator. She is currently the President of the Hillsborough Association of Women Lawyers.
Most of Mandi’s free time is spent working with various community organizations and being a very invested Auntie to about 25 munchkins.
In this episode, we pass the mic to board member Sumayya Saleh, Esq. She discusses why she joined the Journey to Esquire team and religious diversity.
Ms. Saleh is the product of circumstances similar to those endured by JTE’s target population. Ms. Saleh’s formative years were shaped largely by the realities of being the daughter of Syrian immigrants and being a Muslim in post-9/11 America. People who looked like her--Muslim women in hijab--were vilified, not uplifted. er innate desire to advocate on behalf of victims of injustice led her to pursue a career in the law, despite the hurdles she knew she would encounter. Ms. Saleh brings her own set of invaluable experiences to the table, as she experienced the precise barriers to entry that JTE aims to help its scholars overcome. She graduated from Western Michigan University Cooley Law School (“Cooley Law”)—an unranked law school, and one of the schools with which JTE works.
As a Cooley Law graduate, Ms. Saleh experienced implicit (and sometimes explicit) biases from prospective employers and others in the profession. Ms. Saleh also had to contend with the reality that, as a hijab-clad Muslim woman, she was a very visible minority in the legal community. Rather than minimize this part of her identity, she embraced it. She quickly got involved in local bar associations and made room for herself at the table. She saw firsthand how adding a diverse voice to the mix goes a long way in terms of diversity efforts, but is only the first step toward equity and inclusivity. Ms. Saleh successfully maneuvered around the obstacles she faced: During her third year of practice, Ms. Saleh was offered a federal clerkship, which she ultimately turned down so she could accept her current position as a staff attorney with the reputable Southern Poverty Law Center. At this stage in her career, she is exactly where JTE is hoping its scholars land within their first five years of practice, and did so while staying true to the parts of her that make her “different.”
Fun fact: She helped organize a union at my workplace.
In this episode, we pass the mic to Ricardeau Lucceus to discuss being a "whole lawyer" and building character throughout law school.
Ricardeau Lucceus has called Tampa Bay home for the past 20 years. Mr. Lucceus graduated from The University of South Florida where he earned his Baccalaureate degree in Political Science; he went on to earn his Juris Doctorate degree from the Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School where he was on Honor Roll for Federal Administrative Law, Trial Skills, and Florida Real Estate Law. He also earned the honor of having been on the Dean’s list and a member of Phi Theta Kappa and Phi Delta Phi.
Besides his past leadership activities, intellectual and business successes, Mr. Lucceus is a well-known musician who sings, plays the guitar/composes and arranges music; his writing catalog includes more than 100 songs to date includes and not limited to the famous song “Diversity”,”Vye Frère”, “Knowledge”, “Be nice”, “Haiti Says Thank You”, and “Humanity First.” He also dances Salsa as a hobby and for recreation. In addition, he is the founding member of the award-winning band, Evangel, the founder and President of InterOcean Education Support, Inc., and the founder and Secretary-General of United Nations Student Associations of Cooley Tampa Bay (UNSACT).
Mr. Lucceus is a published author of “God’s Justice in an Unjust World” and “How Global Corruption Becomes Rotten Flesh.” He is a humanitarian and an integrated community leader, with the hashtag: #yourcommunitylawyer. He is a promotor of humanity, peace, diversity, and compassion.
Dr. Peter-Christian Aigner is a historian of twentieth-century America. In this episode, we discuss the Journey to Esquire: Oral History Project and its importance to recent events.
Dr. Aigner's first book explores the life and career of Daniel Patrick Moynihan as a view onto the strains of American liberalism between the New Deal and the present century. The manuscript is contracted with Simon & Schuster and will be the first scholarly biography to date of the national political/intellectual figure and New York City icon. He’s begun research on a second book, interrogating the structural dimensions of American exceptionalism, re-conceptualizing local and national history from a modern global perspective. Dr. Aigner has published essays in The Nation, The Atlantic and The New Republic, presented original research on a variety of topics before numerous professional academic associations, worked for several years as the Journal of the History of Ideas’ assistant editor and hosted a podcast on urban history for the New Books Network. Prior to being named The Gotham Center's acting director (2016-2019), he served as the organization's administrator, during which time he spearheaded the redesign of its website and the creation of several new features, including the semiweekly digital publication Gotham.
Books mentioned: Vitale, The End of Policing; Zinn, A People's History of the United States.
#DiversityAccessPipeline #JourneytoEsquire #DiversityandInclusion #Scholarship #Diversity #Excellence #FloridaBar #FloridaAttorney #YoungLawyer #Florida #LawSchool #FloridaLawyer #FloridaBarYoungLawyersDivision #barexam #barexamprep #BarBri #kaplan #themis #agape #barprep
Ms. Kira Brereton-Paul currently serves as Associate General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at S&P (Standard & Poors) Global Ratings. In her capacity as Associate General Counsel, she provides transactional legal counseling (i) in respect of ratings on traditional and esoteric structured finance transactions in the U.S. and (ii) with respect to all types of credit ratings issued in Latin America and the Caribbean. Prior to joining S&P Global Ratings, Ms. Brereton-Paul practiced structured finance law for over ten years at the AM law 100 international law firm of Dechert LLP.
Kira, a Panamanian-American, is dedicated to excellence in legal components of credit analysis and economic empowerment initiatives. She willingly shares the benefit of her extensive legal and management experience through provision of pro bono legal and non-profit board services to community organizations, such as the Caribbean American Center of New York, the West Indian American Day Carnival Association, the American Red Cross of Greater New York and the United Nations Foundation YP. Kira expresses her passion to learn through travel by devising immersive cultural experiences in unique locations. At last count, she had visited over 60 countries and overseas territories, and now offers her expertise on how to ‘Travel Luxe for Less’ to others.
Kira holds a JD magna cum laude from the University of Miami School of Law; a Masters in Public Health summa cum laude from Florida International University; and a Bachelor of Science degree from McGill University.
Links to Community Orgs Mentioned in Bio and my travel website:
Welcome to another great bonus episode from the Journey to Esquire: Oral History Project.
In this episode, we pass the mic to Arthenia L. Joyner. Former State Senator Arthenia Joyner is a pioneer and has been a political trailblazer throughout her impressive career. Born in 1943 in Lakeland, Florida (later moving to Tampa), she was taught by her father, Henry Joyner -- the owner of Tampa’s premier African-American night club, the Cotton Club -- about the importance of sharing personal success with those less fortunate. Her mother, Jean Joyner, taught her to follow her conscience and her convictions, and never be afraid to speak up on issues that mattered.
In 1960, while an 11th-grade student at Tampa’s Middleton High, she participated in her first civil rights demonstration, an event that would shape her entire life. As a college student at Florida A & M University, she was arrested twice in 1963 for civil disobedience and spent 14 days in jail. In 1964, she graduated with a B.S. in Political Science from Florida A & M University, and, in 1968, earned her J.D. from Florida A & M University, College of Law. After graduation, she worked as a legal assistant to State Representative Joe Lang Kershaw, the first African-American to serve in Tallahassee since Reconstruction. Later, when no law firm would hire her, she took out a $1,000 bank loan and opened her solo practice of law. In 1991, she was a founder of the law firm of Stewart Joyner Jordan-Holmes Holmes. She became the first black woman to practice law in Hillsborough County and the first black to practice law in Polk County.
She served three terms as a member of the Florida House of Representatives from the 59th District (2000-2006). Subsequently elected to the Florida Senate, Senator Joyner served the people of the 18th District from 2006-2012. After political districts were redrawn, she won the race for the 19th District, serving from 2012-2016. Over her legislative career, Senator Joyner has held many significant posts, including being elected the first black woman Senate Minority Leader (2014-2016).
In 2012, Senator Joyner received the National Black Caucus of State Legislators’ (NBCSL) Lifetime Achievement Award and the President’s Award from Florida A & M University. She was inducted into the Hillsborough County Women’s Hall of Fame in 2014, and in 2015 the Democratic Caucus in the Florida Senate named their annual political dinner for women, The Annual Arthenia L. Joyner Women in Politics Dinner.
Welcome to another bonus episode featuring Journey to Esquire: An Oral History.
In this episode, we pass the mic to Donald R. Odom. Bornin 1950, in Saint Petersburg, Florida, Donald R. Odom always knew he would be a lawyer. He spent his formative years in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, during which he became an admirer of Judge Thurgood Marshall. He recalls reading about Judge Marshall’s accomplishments during the 1950s and 60s, including his nomination to the United States Supreme Court in 1967. Interestingly, Mr. Odom did not meet a lawyer until he attended Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he met African American pioneers I. W. Williams, Fred Minnis and James Sanderlin.
Following graduation from Gibbs High School, Mr. Odom enrolled at the University of South Florida in 1968. He majored in political science, was active in campus politics, and served as President of the Black Student Union. Mr. Odom graduated in 1972 with a B.A. degree in Political Science. Thereafter, he was admitted to the University of Florida Law School in 1974, when the school operated on the quarter system, which allowed him to complete his studies in two years and one quarter. The Honorable Stephen Mickle was one of Mr. Odom’s Professors at Florida and Mr. Odom also clerked part-time at Judge Mickle’s law firm. Mr. Odom graduated from law school in June 1976 and was admitted to practice law on November 18, 1977.
From 1985 to his retirement, Mr. Odom has worked at the Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office in Tampa, Florida, first as an Assistant County Attorney, then as a Chief Assistant County Attorney, and since 2005 as the Deputy County Attorney. His areas of practice have primarily been utilities law and local government law. Prior to his tenure with the County Attorney’s Office, Mr. Odom worked in the firm of Williams and Milton in St. Petersburg and the firm of Tindall, Trybus & Odom in Tampa. Mr. Odom served as the first African American Assistant City Attorney with the Saint Petersburg’s City Attorney’s Office, and the first African American Assistant District Counsel with the District V office of the Florida Department of Health & Rehabilitative Services. Mr. Odom has participated in numerous proceedings that have had a significant public impact, including his successful defense of the City of St. Petersburg’s Human Rights Ordinance.
Welcome to the first full interview of the Journey to Esquire: Oral History Project. In this episode, we pass the mic to Delano Stewart who had a stellar career as a criminal and civil trial lawyer. He served as the first president of the George Edgecomb Bar Association from 1982 to 1983. Stewart was elected as the first African American on the Hillsborough County Bar Association Board of Directors. He continued his community and political activism by running for the Florida House of Representatives in 1966 and Tampa City Council in 1970. Undeterred by these unsuccessful races, he continued to spend his Saturdays registering African American voters. Stewart is a Founder of the Tampa Organization of Black Affairs (1980), and the first African American member of the Rough Riders civic organization, of which he is a life member. He is also a member of the National Bar Association’s Hall of Fame. Lawyer Delano Stewart was born on November 9, 1935, in Tampa, Florida to Beatrice Hill Stewart and Garland V. Stewart. He went on to earn his B.A degree in political science at his father’s alma mater, Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. From there, he attended Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C., during which time he attended the March on Washington in 1963. He also served in the U.S. Air Force. Upon graduating in 1964, Stewart returned to Tampa, Florida, where he became the first African American board member for the Hillsborough County Young Democrats. After graduating from Howard’s Law School, Stewart returned to Tampa to enter private practice with Francisco Rodriguez and S.J. Kenneth Rogers. Stewart also became the first African American Assistant Public Defender for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit in Hillsborough County. Stewart expanded his law practice to add fellow Howard Law graduate George Edgecomb and Arthenia Joyner, the first African American female to practice law in Hillsborough County. Edgecomb became Tampa’s first African American assistant state attorney and county court judge. The local George Edgecomb Bar Association bears his name and awards the Delano Stewart Diversity Award annually. In 1970, Stewart became the first attorney to head an integrated law firm in Florida.
In honor of Black History Month, Journey to Esquire: The Podcast would like to share a glimpse into the beginnings of an oral history of African-American Pioneering lawyers in Tampa Bay. Featured speakers are Delano Stewart, Arthenia Joyner, and Donald Odom.
Special thanks to Ricky Roberts and Ricky Roberts Photography www.rickyroberts.com, and Dr. Peter-Christian Aigner Director of the Gotham Center, www.gothamcenter.com for their assistance and support in this project.
For the full video visit our YouTube Page and the website www.journeytoesquire.com/oralhistory.
Board Certified in Appellate Practice, Sarah Lahlou-Amine practices in all areas of state and federal appellate litigation. In addition to handling all types of appeals and original proceedings, Sarah is frequently retained for the strategic focus she brings to trial court litigation, helping clients and trial lawyers create records suited to both protect favorable rulings and document grounds for reversal in the event of an adverse outcome.
Sarah served as Chair of the Appellate Practice Section of the Florida Bar and has been consecutively recognized in the Florida Super Lawyers magazine since 2010. She has garnered an AV® Preeminent distinction, the highest available mark for professional excellence from Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer Review Ratings, and has been repeatedly recognized for her dedication to pro bono service. Sarah is also a member of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Tampa Bay (APABA).
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org @SLahlou_Amine (Twitter) @sarahlahlouamine (LinkedIn)
Fun fact: In her spare time, Sarah enjoys writing and is an avid Florida farm enthusiast and agritourist.
Joann Grages Burnett serves as the Associate Director of Career and Professional Development at Stetson University College of Law. Burnett specializes in employer engagement, professional development, and readiness for students and alumni. Burnett co-chairs Stetson Law’s award-winning Campus to Career Professional Development Conference. Burnett previously served as an assistant public defender for the 6th Judicial Circuit. Burnett received her Juris Doctor from Stetson University College of Law after graduating with honors from the University of Florida.
Burnett serves as the Lactation Room Task Force Chair of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers. She previously served as the Member Resources Director for the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division where she led the division's professional development and wellness initiatives. She is active with the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, the Pinellas Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, and a member of the Stetson Lawyers Advisory Council. Burnett lives in Gulfport with her husband Andy and their daughters Charlotte and Eleanor.
Links: https://www.stetson.edu/portal/law/ https://www.stetson.edu/law/career/ https://www.fawl.org/
Fun Fact: Once fan-girled out meeting David Gergen!
As WMU - Cooley Law School Tampa Bay's campus director, Daniela Mendez is responsible for term course schedules and provides campus supervision and support.
Daniela is a magna cum laude graduate of WMU-Cooley Law School and before serving as a public defender worked as a legal intern with the WMU-Cooley Innocence Project. She was a paralegal with Catania & Catania, PA and served as a legal assistant with Stolbert & Townsend, PA, both in Tampa, Florida.
Daniela has been involved as a volunteer with several Tampa area organizations including, Palabra De Vida Church Ministry, Everyday Blessings, Trinity Café-Dining with Dignity, and A Kid’s Place. In addition to her law degree from WMU-Cooley, Mendez earned a bachelor’s degree in criminology from the University of South Florida and a master’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Central Florida.
For more information on the programs mentioned in this episode check out: http://www.thesunnycenter.com https://www.cooley.edu/academics/experiential-learning/innocence-project http://crossroadsfloridakids.org/
Fun Fact: I have a twin brother, who is 6'2 and looks nothing like me. I am married to my high school sweetheart and love to spend time in escape rooms and having fun with friends.
Judge Daryl M. Manning is a County Court Judge in Hillsborough County and currently assigned to the county civil division. He was a practicing attorney in Tampa with the Office of the Florida Attorney General for sixteen years prior to his appointment by Governor Scott in 2015.
Judge Manning obtained his LL.M. from the Army Judge Advocate Legal Center and School at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA, his J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law in Queens, N.Y. and his B.A. from the University of South Carolina, in Columbia, S.C.
Judge Manning was a Judge Advocate (JAG) Officer in the United States Army and served several tours in support of the Global War on Terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait before retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2015. On the local level, Judge Manning was a member of the Florida Board of Bar Examiners and served as chair from 2013 – 2015. He served on a Florida Bar Grievance Committee in Hillsborough and is a certified Guardian ad Litem.
Fun Fact: 10+ years ago, he appeared on Comedy Central!
Vanessa Ferguson is a Florida native and was born near Orlando, Florida. She is currently an attorney and the managing director of Ferguson Legal, PLLC. Ferguson Legal, PLLC is a law firm that focuses on general Business law, Data Privacy, and Intellectual Property. Ms. Ferguson also serves as the secretary of the George Edgecomb Bar Association and is a Certified Information Privacy Technologist.
Ms. Ferguson obtained her Associate’s degree and her Bachelor’s degree in Criminology, with a minor in Legal Studies, from the University of South Florida St Petersburg. Ms. Ferguson attended the University of Dayton School of Law and graduated in two and a half years with a certification for her Intellectual Property concentration.
Links: VFerguson@Ferguson-legal.com and www.linkedin.com/in/vnessaferguson
Fun fact: I am one of 5 girls and I have 7 nieces and nephews.
In this episode, we speak to Jared Krukar about his journey to esquire and his work in diversity, inclusion and equity as an ally for minority attorneys and his work incorporating diversity into the appellate law practice in Florida.
Jared M. Krukar is board certified by The Florida Bar as a specialist in Appellate Practice. He practices exclusively in the areas of appellate practice and civil litigation support.
Mr. Krukar has a wide range of appellate experience, beginning with his early roles at the Florida Second District Court of Appeal as a Central Staff Attorney and then as a Senior Staff Attorney to the Honorable Darryl C. Casanueva. In private practice, he has successfully represented business and individuals in cases before the Federal Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court of Florida, all five of Florida’s District Courts of Appeal, and several Florida Circuit Courts’ appellate divisions.
Fun fact: Jared is a former certified Les Mills BodyFlow instructor.
In this bonus episode, the students in the Class of 2019 present on their takeaways from the pilot program and what they hope to achieve in their careers. The presenters in this second part are Assita Toure, Brielle Tucker, and Jemima Pierre Zetrenne with a short speech by founder Joseline Hardrick. This event was recorded live in March 2019 at the Portico Cafe, in Tampa, Florida.
Check out our YouTube page for the full video: https://youtu.be/WoDNQ2iZ6a8.
In this bonus episode, the students in the Class of 2019 present on their takeaways from the pilot program and what they hope to achieve in their careers. The presenters in this first part are Luis Aleman, Tiffany Colon, and Brittney Lainez with an abridged keynote presentation by Deanna Singh, JD MBA. This event was recorded live in March 2019 at the Portico Cafe, in Tampa, Florida.
Check out our YouTube page for the full video; https://youtu.be/WoDNQ2iZ6a8
In this bonus episode, we share some reflections from the students in the Pilot Program which became the Journey to Esquire: Scholarship & Leadership Program. Assita Toure, Luis Aleman, Brielle Tucker, Jemima Pierre Zetrenne, Brittney Lainez, and Tiffany Colon share their words of wisdom as they complete their third year of law school. This presentation was originally aired at the George Edgecomb Bar Association Scholarship Banquet in April 2019 as part of its partnership with Diversity Access Pipeline, Inc. to pilot the program.
John Schifino is a trial and appellate lawyer experienced in handling diverse cases in the areas of business litigation, labor and employment law, and environmental law. John is a member of Gunster's General Commercial Litigation group and represents public and private companies, and their officers and directors, in a variety of business related matters. He is the Past-President of the Hillsborough County Bar Association and a member of the Florida Bar's Standing Committee on Diversity and Inclusion.
Contact: https://www.linkedin.com/in/john-schifino-66708b9/ twitter - @JohnSchifino
Links: https://www.floridabar.org/about/diversity/, https://www.hillsbar.com/default.aspx
Fun fact: There's nothing I've enjoyed more that coaching my children's youth sports teams.
Andres N. Oliveros is a two-time president of the Highlands County Bar Association and the immediate past president of the Tampa Hispanic Bar Association.
His law practice is exclusively focused on personal injury law, with offices in Tampa and Sebring. A graduate of Duke University and the George Washington University Law School, Andres joined the U.S. Marine Corps as a judge advocate immediately after law school, and served as trial counsel overseas in Japan and as an operational lawyer in Iraq soon after the 2003 invasion.
Upon being honorably discharged, Andres returned to his hometown of Sebring and later opened his law practice in 2008 after settling in Tampa, where he now lives with his wife and two children. Andres' practice consists entirely of the prosecution of motor vehicle negligence and premises liability cases.
Links: www.thba.org, www.highlandsbar.com, www.oliveroslaw.com
Fun fact: I almost quit law school to go to culinary school.
Haley Moss is a South Florida native who was diagnosed with autism at age three. Upon receiving her autism diagnosis, her family was told that she would be fortunate to make a friend, graduate high school, or obtain her driver’s license.
Haley has defied the expectations set forth within her initial diagnosis.
Today, she is an attorney, author, artist, and autism advocate who writes and speaks publicly about her journey and gives hope for other autistic people and their families and friends.
Haley attended the University of Florida and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology & Law as well as a Bachelor of Science in Psychology in 2015. She completed both degrees in an impressive three years. Following her undergraduate studies, Haley was fortunate to graduate from the University of Miami School of Law, where she was a Miami Public Interest Scholar committed to promoting access to justice for all. Haley was the Student Commencement Speaker at her law school graduation in May 2018. She passed the bar exam and is a member of The Florida Bar. Today she is one of a handful of openly autistic attorneys.
Links: https://haleymoss.net/books/ https://haleymoss.net/ ; Article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/10/17/hiring-neurodiverse-people-like-me-can-give-companies-competitive-advantage/ ; Podcast: https://www.differentbrains.org/spectrumly-speaking/
Fun fact: I love checking out group fitness classes. It's something I got excited about during law school.
Born and raised in Tampa, Danielle Martin, Esq. is a graduate of Stetson University College of Law. Prior to law school, she obtained her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science with a minor in Professional and Technical Writing from the University of South Florida, graduating Summa Cum Laude and a King O’Neal Scholar. While in law school, Danielle received the Highest Grade Award for Employment Discrimination, William F. Blews Pro Bono Service Award and served as Teaching Assistant to Dean Bruce Jacob.
Danielle Martin is an Assistant City Attorney for the City of St. Petersburg where she practices Labor and Employment law. Danielle is licensed to practice in all Florida state courts and the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. Danielle serves on Florida Bar’s Diversity and Inclusion committee. She is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Also, she volunteers as a Big Sister for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay. Danielle has been recognized as the 2017 Rising Star, 2018 Member of the Year Award for Minnis.
Bridge to Practice: https://www.stetson.edu/law/career/memorandum-of-understanding.php
Fred G. Minnis Bar Association https://minnisbar.com/
In this episode, Joseline J. Hardrick, founder and President of Diversity Access Pipeline, Inc., the nonprofit organization behind this podcast, shares part of her interview with the AfroLAWtina Podcast to discuss her journey to esquire and her experience in a federal judicial clerkship.
Joseline is a native of Brooklyn, NY and has called Tampa Bay home for the last decade. She graduated from Florida State University College of Law in 2009, worked for a large Tampa law firm practicing commercial litigation for almost four years, and clerked for two local federal judges for five years total. She is now a Visiting Assistant Professor at WMU-Cooley Law School's Tampa Bay campus teaching Constitutional Law and Criminal Law. She is also a children's book author.
For more information check out www.joselinehardrick.com and www.journeytoesquire.com.
To hear the full interview, please visit the AfroLAWtina Podcast on Apple Podcasts and other platforms. Visit https://afrolawtina.wixsite.com/content for more information on Gidget Benitez, foundr of AfroLAWtina and make sure to check out her new app "The Network" at afrolawtina.mn.co
In this trailer, we pass the mic to the two people behind this podcast: Joseline J. Hardrick, Esq. and Ray C. Petty, Jr. Joseline is the founder and President of Diversity Access Pipeline, Inc. which runs the Journey to Esquire: Scholarship & Leadership Program and this podcast. Then we pass the mic to Ray C. Petty, Jr., a second year law student at WMU- Cooley Law School and an intern with the program. On this podcast we some great attorneys and judges who will share their "journeys to esquire" and offer useful information about law school and the practice of law. Listen to find out more! Special thanks to our JD Level Sponsors- U.S> District Courts Middle District of Florida's Bench Bar Fund and Agape Christian Bar Preparation services, Inc. Also thanks to WMU-Cooley Law School for providing the podcasting equipment and recording space and Dr. Peter-Christian Aigner for his assistance.