What is Thunderdome?
The Legal Aid Foundation of Tallahassee is ecstatic to announce Thunderdome Tallahassee Class 6, 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 newly certified and seasoned attorneys with the tools necessary to effectively handle pro bono family law cases.
The program provides equal access to justice, a critical legal service shortage within our community. It is estimated that thousands of low-income residents in Leon County lack legal representation, despite the pressing demand. Legal representation in a family law context often equates to basic needs including safety, stability, and health for families and children. Thunderdome Tallahassee aims to greatly enhance and equip the pool of service-oriented attorneys who donate their time and talent to help families in need.
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.
Class 6 is represented by attorneys deriving from private practice, government sector, academia and the bar, and bringing a wide array of legal experience. This year’s accomplished members of the local legal community include: Class 6 includes Amanda McKibben; Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services; Annie Prescott, Dept. of Health, Prosecution Services Unit; Benjamin Edward Sterns, Carlton Fields PA; Crystal Stephens, Dept. of Business and Prof. Regulation; Derrick McBurrows, Dept. of Business and Prof. Regulation and Tallahassee Barristers President; Emily Frazier, Government attorney; Eric Schab, Max Factor Law; Gecelyne Dixon, Government attorney; Jahnee Todman, 2nd Circuit Public Defender’s Office; Kara Aikens, Larry White LLC; Krista Dolan, Innocence Project of Florida; Louis Baptiste, Webster + Baptiste Attorneys at Law, PLLC; Melanie Kalmanson, Akerman LLP; Patrick O’Bryant, Holland and Knight; and Sam Walenz, Ausley McMullen.
Class 6 also included FSU Law Students and other legal professionals including Adam Hubbell, FSU Law Student; Berly Francois, FSU Law Student; Carrie Boyd, Southern Poverty Law Center; Michelle Brantley, FSU Law Student; Samantha Folkes, FSU Law Student; and Veronica Jackson, ADR Director, Second Judicial Circuit.
The Mentors for Class 6 included Christi Gray, Gray Law; Christin Gonzalez, Novey & Gonzalez; Christine Thurman, Thurman Law; Dina Foster, Pennington PA; Gena Fournier, Fournier Law; Jennifer LaVia, LaVia Law; Jennifer Sweeting, Sweeting & Rumph; Jerry Rumph, Sweeting and Rumph, Richelle Marisco, Fournier Law; and Tom Schulte, Ausley McMullen.
The Legal Aid Foundation of Tallahassee is deeply grateful for the service and dedication of the Class 6 Participants, Mentors and Trainers, as well as the Sponsors who make this incredible program possible.
The Legal Aid Foundation of Tallahassee provides civil legal representation and assistance in Leon County to people in need through volunteers and supporters. The Legal Aid Foundation was established by the Tallahassee Bar Association and is celebrating its over 50 years of service to our community. The Legal Aid Foundation of Tallahassee helps lawyers with a passion for equal justice serve our community. The Legal Aid Foundation of Tallahassee is a member of the United Partners in Human Services, and appreciates the long-time mission support of the Florida Bar Foundation, City of Tallahassee, and Leon County