Fellowship funded by Greenberg Traurig and The Florida Bar Foundation to address barriers to health-care access


Charlotte Joseph Cassel

International law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP and The Florida Bar Foundation are joining forces to fund a program that will help low-income and disadvantaged Floridians in Miami-Dade County receive better access to health care.

Charlotte Joseph Cassel, who is expected to graduate from the University of Miami School of Law in May, will pursue the two-year Health Access Now! Project as the 2014-16 Equal Justice Works Fellow in the Miami office of Florida Legal Services Inc. Cassel’s fellowship, which begins in September, falls under the auspices of Equal Justice Works, a national nonprofit organization that creates fellowship opportunities for more than 50 young lawyers each year to positively impact vulnerable communities around the country.

With 10 percent of the nation’s uninsured, Florida has major challenges in the face of the current health care overhaul that includes the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and significant changes to the state’s Medicaid program.

More than 2 million low-income Floridians are newly eligible for federal subsidies through the ACA’s Insurance Affordability Programs. Many of these people traditionally have difficulty accessing public benefits because English is not their first language or they have a mental or physical disability.

Cassel’s project will identify and resolve barriers to health-care access faced by these disadvantaged populations in Miami-Dade County through a combination of direct representation, community outreach and training, and systemic advocacy. The Greenberg Traurig Holly Skolnick Fellowship Foundation and The Florida Bar Foundation each will provide $56,000 to support Cassel’s fellowship.

Cassel holds a master’s in public health from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Barnard College and has extensive internship experience serving low-income populations through her work in both law and health-related organizations.

“Greenberg Traurig is proud to partner with The Florida Bar Foundation in support of this important work,” said Bill Silverman, a Greenberg Traurig shareholder and head of the firm’s Fellowship Foundation. “Helping people of limited means gain access to justice is a core value of our firm.”

Greenberg Traurig has a long-standing partnership with Equal Justice Works and since 1999 has invested more than $7.3 million to support 120 Equal Justice Works Fellows. This makes Greenberg Traurig the top supporter of Equal Justice Works Fellowships. The Florida Bar Foundation has provided support for 69 Florida Equal Justice Works Fellows since 1999.

Cassel will work under the supervision of Miriam Harmatz, senior health law attorney at Florida Legal Services Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides civil legal assistance to low-income populations, as well as service delivery coordination, training, case consultation and technical assistance for all legal services providers in Florida.