Announcing Thunderdome Tallahassee Class 3!

The Legal Aid Foundation of Tallahassee is thrilled to announce Thunderdome Tallahassee Class 3, made up of a diverse and accomplished group of leaders in the local legal community. Thunderdome Tallahassee is an innovative, hands-on leadership and pro bono family law training program which equips both fresh and seasoned attorneys with the tools necessary to effectively handle pro bono family law cases.

The program is a novel means of providing equal access to justice, a critical human services need in our community. It is estimated that thousands of low-income residents in Leon County lack legal representation, despite a dire need. Legal representation in a family law context often equates to very basic needs including safety, stability and health for families and children. One class at a time, Thunderdome Tallahassee aims to greatly enhance the pool of competent service-oriented attorneys who can give their time and talent to help families in need.

Class 3 is represented by attorneys hailing from private practice, government, non-profit and corporate sectors, and bringing a wide array of legal experience. The class includes Tiffany Baker, Legendary Sports & Entertainment Law, L.L.C.; Kristin Bigham, Florida Department of Financial Services; Michael Blank, The Florida Bar; Matthew Bryant, Pennington, P.A.; Austin Cattani, Pennington, P.A.; Erica Dlubala, Waters & Associates, P.A.; Debi Galler, Berger Singerman LLP; Tabitha Harnage, Florida Department of Financial Services; Jasmyne Henderson, Pittman Law Group, P.L.; Kelly Kibbey, Law Office of Fred E. Pearson; Luke Lanasa, Law Offices of Don Pumphrey, Jr.; Carrie McNamara, Florida Department of Health; Eric Neiberger, Florida Department of Elder Affairs; William Pafford, Office of the Public Defender; Brittany Rhodaback, Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities; Rashida Rose; Matthew Sirmans; and Chancey Smith, Disability Rights Florida. The class boasts countless accolades including two attorneys recently recognized as 2016 Florida Trend Legal Elite—Kristin Bigham and Eric Neiberger—as well as an attorney recently recognized as one of the 2016-17 National Bar Association’s 40 under 40 Nation’s Best Advocates, Jasmyne Henderson.

Jonathan Sjostrom, Chief Judge of Florida’s Second Judicial Circuit and a Thunderdome Trainer, has remarked about the program: “Thunderdome is a tremendous resource for the community and the court, providing excellent training in leadership and public service. Lawyers learn valuable skills, network with their peers and bar leaders, and help provide access to justice to unrepresented litigants.” The program combines trainings and events throughout the year with hands-on learning through a pro bono family law case assigned by the Legal Aid Foundation of Tallahassee with the close supervision and assistance of an experienced family law mentor.

The Mentors for Class 3 include Rachel Borntreger, Carolyn Cummings, Dina Foster, Christi Gray, Hunter Hendrix, Tom Powell, Trudy Innes Richardson, Tom Schulte and John Williams. Trainers for Class 3 include Kristin Adamson, Linda Bailey, Thomas Duggar, Judge Charles Francis, Judge Karen Gievers, Magistrate Ace Pedroso, Jerry Rumph, Chief Judge Jonathan Sjostrom, Ruth Stone, Magistrate Amanda Wall, and JoLen Wolf.

The Legal Aid Foundation of Tallahassee is deeply grateful for the service and dedication of the Class 3 Participants, Mentors and Trainers, as well as the Sponsors who make this incredible program possible: Tallahassee Bar Association, Florida Bar Family Law Section, and the Young Lawyers Section of the Tallahassee Bar Association. Information about additional sponsorship opportunities can be found by visiting http://www.legalaidtallahassee.org/thunderdome-tallahassee/thunderdome-tallahassee-sponsorships/.

The Legal Aid Foundation provides civil legal representation and assistance in Leon County to people in need through volunteers and supporters. Established 45 years ago by the Tallahassee Bar Association, LAF helps lawyers with a passion for equal justice serve our community. The Legal Aid Foundation is a United Way agency, a member of the United Partners in Human Services, and appreciates the long-time mission support of the Florida Bar Foundation and Leon County.