On January 19, 2011, during its Women’s Empowerment Series Program, The Power of Pro Bono, Tallahassee Women Lawyers (TWL) kicked off its Inspirational Service Honor program. This program recognizes TWL members whose pro bono service is an inspiration to TWL’s membership and to the legal community. Each month, TWL recognizes a TWL member who has provided extraordinary pro bono service.
TWL’s inaugural honorees were Wendy Loquasto, a Florida Bar Board Certified appellate lawyer and partner with Fox & Loquasto, and Elizabeth “Bib” Willis, a solo practitioner whose practice focuses on domestic relations and dependency. Ms. Loquasto provides an average of 100 hours of pro bono service a year in addition to her financial support of and personal fundraising efforts for legal aid organizations. Ms. Willis provided approximately 400 hours of pro bono service in the past year. Her service included representing clients in domestic relations and dependency cases.
On January 19, 2011, Tallahassee Women Lawyers (TWL) honored Elizabeth “Bib” Willis with its first Inspirational Service Honor for her extraordinary and outstanding pro bono service in the Second Judicial Circuit. While Ms. Willis will not provide an exact number of her pro bono hours, according to records through Legal Services of North Florida (LSNF), Tallahassee Bar Association and opposing counsel in her dependency cases, Ms. Willis has provided more than 400 hours of pro bono service in the past year. For her exceptional service, Ms. Willis is also the 2011 Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award recipient for the Second Judicial Circuit. She will be honored at the Florida Supreme Court on January 27, 2011.
Everyone who knows Ms. Willis knows she is forever rushing off to serve another pro bono client or to answer calls for the LSNF hotline. At any one time, Ms. Willis is court-appointed counsel for 3 or 4 children in dependency proceedings. She serves as court-appointed counsel for alleged incapacitated adults or individuals who are subject to Marchman Act proceedings. In her “spare” time Ms. Willis participates in Legal Services of North Florida Hotline Program and the Tallahassee Bar Foundation’s pro bono service programs.
At age 74, Ms. Willis, has practiced law for 22 years, starting law school at age 50 after careers in journalism and state government. Ms. Willis is the Candidate’s Forum chair of TWL, a member of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers where she is the legislative chair, a member of the Government Bar where she is a past president and also a member of the Tallahassee Bar Association where she is currently assisting with the educational programming.
On January 19, 2011, Tallahassee Women Lawyers (TWL) honored Wendy Loquasto with its first Inspirational Service Honor for her extraordinary and outstanding pro bono service in the Second Judicial Circuit. Ms. Loquasto gives approximately 100 hours of pro bono service each year to organizations including Legal Services of North Florida (LSNF), North Florida Center for Equal Justice and Legal Aid Foundation. This service is in addition to her personal financial support of and fund-raising efforts for LSNF and her promotion of the expansion of pro bono service throughout the legal profession.
As a Florida Bar Board Certified Appellate lawyer, Ms. Loquasto’s pro bono service includes appellate services to LSNF and Legal Aid Foundation clients and appeals for indigent clients in the criminal justice system. She has contributed countless hours providing appellate support and training to LSNF staff attorneys. She has organized appellate practice seminars for the LSNF staff and has even helped develop an appellate practice manual. Through her service on the Stetson University College of Law Board of Overseers, she has supported the expansion of the Stetson College of Law’s student program from 20 hours to 60 hours over the course of the three-year law school expansion.
Ms. Loquasto’s most recent endeavor brings together the First DCA Appellate American Inn of Court and the One Promise Campaign. This program brings together members of the Inn, LSNF, Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and Three Rivers Legal Services to provide pro bono services in mortgage defense, unemployment and domestic violence cases. The project goal is to provide more than 600 hours of service a year.
Ms. Loquasto is a partner in the firm Fox & Loquasto and Past Presidents of TWL and Florida Association for Women Lawyers. She is also the current President of Legal Services of North Florida. She recently received the Florida Association for Women Lawyers’ Leaders in the Law Award.