• One student’s path to Stanford

    Growing up in San Juan del Rio, Queretaro, a city on Mexico’s central plateau, Leonardo Leal realized from a young age that knowledge would be the key to his future. His grandmother Magdalena raised him until he was 12, and although she had little education herself, she instilled its importance

  • Positively Pro Bono: Kenneth Jacobs’ story

    Kenneth Jacobs held a job his entire adult life until 2008 when he suffered a heart attack. It was the first in a string of serious health complications — including coronary artery disease — that sidelined him from work and left him homeless. “I was always in the hospital,” said

  • How Ashlyn got her sparkle back

    Sparkly. An eager, cheerful learner. Ashlyn Sikes’ teacher used these words to describe the Tallahassee second-grader, who finished out the school year with her best report card ever. ” I love her enthusiasm for school,” commented the teacher. Ashlyn’s parents, Adam and Amy Sikes, are proud of their 8-year-old daughter,

  • Clearwater affordable housing units saved

    Confined to a wheelchair by multiple sclerosis, Clearwater, Fla., resident Patricia Redding, 50, had become a prisoner in her own apartment when promised modifications to make it wheelchair accessible and ADA-compliant were never made. Later, when raw sewage backed up into Redding’s unit, the property manager at Norton Apartments also

  • Passion for public interest law drives Summer Fellows

    by Gabrielle Davis Stetson University law student Jhenerr Hines’ desire to help the disadvantaged started at home. “I grew up in a very poor home, and most of the people I grew up with are dead or in jail,” said Hines, a native of Montego Bay, Jamaica. “I’m very blessed,

  • Legal Aid Leadership Development Institute equips legal aid attorneys to address challenging projects

    Legal Aid lawyer Matthew Trail thought a Lee County public school needed systemic change. The school, designed for children with behavioral problems, was failing the students by not providing mental health and proper academic support as mandated by law, said Trail, an attorney with the Florida Equal Justice Center in

  • Project helps parents of disabled children with guardianship

    by Gabrielle Davis Even with an attorney by her side, Maria Perkins was gripped by fear as she stood before the judge. Although she had made every decision for her son Mark Morrison since he was born with Down syndrome, suddenly she had to petition a Seminole County judge for

  • Schell defends workers who say pay didn’t add up to beans

    At 68, an age when most Americans are drawing Social Security and enjoying their retirement, Jean Felix Philius would like nothing more than to be back at work picking beans all day in the scorching South Florida sun. Instead, Philius is unemployed and hoping to recover wages he says are

  • Foundation supports efforts to ensure fair sentencing for juveniles

    by Nancy Kinnally In his cell at Lake Correctional Institution in Clermont, Fla., Kenneth Young, 25, keeps among his few possessions a worn copy of USA Today dated May 18, 2010, the day after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that juveniles cannot be sentenced to life without parole for crimes

  • Legal Aid attorney opens doors for first-grader

    by Nancy Kinnally When James Kearse learned that a lawyer at the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County might be able to help his first-grader, he let nothing stand in his way. “I’d do anything for my kids,” said Kearse. “I’d go around the world for them.” So, with

  • Escambia schools explore alternatives to zero-tolerance

    by Nancy Kinnally If he’d gotten into a fight at school just a couple of years ago, Escambia County eighth-grader K.P. could have easily been looking at out-of-school suspension or even criminal sanctions. Today, the district is instead giving students like K.P. the chance to make amends and work through

  • Foundation helps fund newly formed Florida Innocence Commission

    by Nancy Kinnally   When James Bain of Lake Wales, Fla., was released at the age of 54 after serving 35 years in prison for a rape and kidnapping he did not commit, his smile said it all. Bain, who has the unfortunate distinction of having been imprisoned longer than