Third Annual Thunderdome Tallahassee Awards Issued to Volunteer Lawyers Helping Local Families

On Thursday, March 30, 2017, the Legal Aid Foundation of Tallahassee announced the winners of the third annual Thunderdome Tallahassee awards to approximately 250 distinguished guests gathered at the FSU Alumni Center. The awards recognize an outstanding participant and mentor of Thunderdome Tallahassee Class 3. Launched in September 2014, Thunderdome Tallahassee addresses a desperate need for equal access to justice by providing family law training, mentorship, leadership development and recognition to volunteer lawyers serving families and children.
Thunderdome Tallahassee Award Winners Rachel Borntreger and Brittany Dambly
Rachel Borntreger received the “Elizabeth ‘Bib’ Willis Outstanding Thunderdome Mentor Award,” for dedication to pro bono service, to the Legal Aid Foundation, and selfless and proactive mentorship of volunteer lawyers. Sean Desmond, President of the Tallahassee Bar Association, presented the award, citing Ms. Borntreger’s commitment to pro bono service, passion and professionalism. The award is named after Elizabeth “Bib” Willis for her service and mentorship to young lawyers volunteering in family law cases.
Brittany Dambly received the “Tallahassee Young Lawyers’ Section Outstanding Thunderdome Participant Award,” for extraordinary dedication to pro bono legal service, professional growth, and community leadership. Carter Scott, with Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, P.A., presented the award, citing Ms. Dambly’s dedication to the Legal Aid Foundation of Tallahassee.
During the event, Keynote speaker Justice Barbara J. Pariente of the Florida Supreme Court addressed the crowd, emphasizing why access to justice matters to everyone. She explained that while technological solutions to access are commendable, there is no substitute for a one-on-one interaction between a lawyer and a client. She remarked that her research to prepare for the speech has inspired her to double down on her efforts to promote pro bono service and encouraged Tallahassee to be a statewide leader in this area. After a video presentation with testimony from a Thunderdome client, former Florida Supreme Court Justice Major B. Harding concluded the event by accepting a plaque recognizing his service in writing thank-you letters to all pro bono attorneys who closed a case with the Legal Aid Foundation of Tallahassee for three years. He then announced LAF’s 30 for 30 campaign with the goal of obtaining 30 new $30-per-month donors on the 30th of March. He held up a check and charged the crowd to do the same in order to help offer immediate assistance to over 8,000 local citizens and families needing legal help each year, and to help offer training and resources for successive Thunderdome Tallahassee classes. Interested supporters should contact Legal Aid Foundation of Tallahassee Executive Director Darby Kerrigan Scott (contact information provided above).
Thunderdome Tallahassee Class 3
An initiative of the Legal Aid Foundation of Tallahassee, Thunderdome Tallahassee is sponsored by the Tallahassee Bar Association, Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley, P.A., Berger Singerman, the Florida Bar Family Law Section, the Florida Bar Standing Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, and others. Thunderdome Tallahassee Class 4 will accept applications in summer 2017, and the program launches September 2017. Learn more at www.legalaidtallahassee.org/thunderdome-tallahassee.