Lawyer and Legal Aid Service of Broward County’s Director of Special Projects Sharon Bourassa has been selected to receive The Florida Bar Foundation’s Jane Elizabeth Curran Distinguished Service Award.
The award is named for the Foundation’s first executive director, recognizing individuals who, over their careers, have achieved meaningful, effective and lasting increases in access to civil justice for the poor in Florida.
Bourassa has worked at Legal Aid Service of Broward County since 1981. Her interest and compassion for the low-income community began when, as a divorced mother with two young children receiving welfare assistance and a section 8 housing voucher, she became determined to earn a college degree and go on to law school, not only to help her family but also to help those who faced the same struggles she experienced.
“Sharon has been and remains a stalwart in the selfless pursuit of justice, demonstrating exemplary commitment to solving the legal problems of extremely low-income people,” wrote Anthony Karrat, executive director of Legal Aid Service of Broward County, in his nomination letter. “She has been successful in a variety of forums and is known for providing unwavering support to colleagues and others who work in the legal services community.”
Bourassa pursues and prosecutes cases that impact the low-income community. She has represented families in cases involving federal and state environmental laws, housing laws and local code enforcement laws. The cases that she wins often provide class-wide relief to large segments of the low-income population. Most recently, she has developed programs to represent low-income adults whose legal issues prevent them from continuing their education or job training.
The Jane Elizabeth Curran Distinguished Service Award, which is sponsored by Akerman LLP, will be presented at The Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek June 14 during The Florida Bar Foundation’s Forty-Second Annual Reception and Dinner.