Foundation President Donny MacKenzie, who has served with both recipients on the Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice, selected Coleman and Kowalski for the award because their strong leadership and their will to do good made them stand out.
“It was an honor serving with these two extraordinary leaders on the Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice. In my view, they represent the brightest and the best the legal profession has to offer in terms of their knowledge, wisdom and commitment to our system of Justice,” MacKenzie said.
Past Florida Bar Foundation President John Patterson of Shutts & Bowen LLP presented the awards on behalf of his firm, which sponsored the President’s Award.
“They are helping bring to fruition one of the signature projects launched through the commission: an online gateway that will connect users statewide to the legal resources best suited to meet their needs,” Patterson said. “They are helping drive the change that will put Florida at the forefront of legal services technology.”
Coleman helped found the Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice, established by administrative order of Florida Chief Justice Jorge Labarga in November 2014, and serves on the boards of The Florida Bar Foundation and the Florida Justice Technology Center and as a member of the American Bar Association House of Delegates. A partner with Critton, Luttier & Coleman in West Palm Beach, Coleman has been presented the President’s Award of Merit by The Florida Bar three times.
Kowalski is on the Florida Courts Technology Commission and has served for two years as president of the Project Directors Association for Florida’s civil legal aid programs. A two-time recipient of The Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award, Kowalski was named “Consumer Protection Lawyer of the Year” by The Florida Bar in 2011. He left private practice to take on the leadership of Jacksonville Area Legal Aid in 2012. UC-Berkeley presented him with its 2014 Peter E. Haas Public Service Award, which recognizes an alumnus or alumna who has made significant voluntary contributions to the betterment of American society.