MAITLAND, Fla. – Tampa attorney Kathleen Schin McLeroy has been selected to receive The Florida Bar Foundation’s 2016 Medal of Honor Award, the Foundation’s highest honor.
A shareholder with Carlton Fields and a member of the Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice, McLeroy is being honored for her innovative ideas to increase Interest on Trust Accounts (IOTA) revenue, her successful efforts to preserve county funding for legal aid, her leadership of organizations supporting pro bono at the national, state and local level, as well as more than 20 years of direct services to pro bono clients.
“Kathy’s advocacy begins at home and extends throughout the United States,” said Maria Henderson, who served with McLeroy on The Florida Bar Foundation board and who, like McLeroy, is a past president of the Foundation.
McLeroy has chaired Carlton Fields’ nationally recognized pro bono committee since 1999; served four three-year terms on the Bay Area Legal Services board, including two terms as president; chaired the American Bar Association (ABA) Business Law Section’s Pro Bono Committee; served on the ABA Commission on Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA) and was a liaison to the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service. She currently co-chairs The Florida Bar Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services; serves on The Florida Bar’s Vision 2016 Commission; and chairs the inaugural board of directors of the Florida Justice Technology Center (FJTC), a statewide non-profit dedicated to increasing access to justice through the innovative use of technology. The center was created with a $725,000 grant from The Florida Bar Foundation.
“The fact that she was chosen to head this critical and cutting-edge organization is a recognition of her abilities, knowledge and dedication to finding creative solutions to these issues,” wrote McLeroy’s law partners Gwynne Young, a past Florida Bar president, and Sylvia Walbolt, a past Foundation president and Medal of Honor Award recipient.
While McLeroy’s Medal of Honor Award nominators and supporters remarked on the breadth and scope of her leadership positions, they also pointed to significant outcomes for legal aid and pro bono services that could be traced directly to McLeroy’s initiatives. Bay Area Legal Services (BALS) Executive Director Dick Woltmann and former Florida Bar Foundation President Drew O’Malley noted McLeroy’s critical role in bringing about a change to the Florida Bar rule governing Florida’s IOTA Program that has yielded tens of millions of dollars in additional IOTA revenue in Florida.
“Kathy, a former banker with an MBA, determined that banks were placing IOTA funds in accounts with interest rates far lower than those they offered commercial customers. Banks were profiting, and The Florida Bar was missing an opportunity to increase the funds available for much-needed legal services,” they wrote. “Kathy’s proposed changes to the Florida Bar rule on trust accounts included a requirement that lawyers deposit the funds only into accounts that provide interest comparable to what the bank’s commercial customers receive. Essentially, she redefined what qualifies as an IOTA account.”
After proposing changes to Florida’s rule on trust accounts, McLeroy spoke at conferences about Florida’s rule change and consulted with IOTA and IOLTA program representatives from various states. As a result of these efforts, 35 states modeled their rules governing their respective IOTA and IOLTA programs after Florida’s, which resulted in millions of dollars in additional revenue in those states.
Woltmann and O’Malley also noted that McLeroy helped lobby the Florida Legislature to retain county funding for legal aid and enlisted former Gov. Bob Martinez in the successful effort, preserving approximately $8 million in annual funding for Florida legal services programs.
Judge Catherine Peek McEwen of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida remarked about McLeroy’s constant efforts to improve upon existing pro bono and self-help efforts, including her efforts to secure funding from the ABA Business Law Section to improve a Foundation-funded “Bankruptcy Basics” video and her ideas that led to a Tampa-area judicial summit on pro bono.
Her work has been recognized with numerous awards including The Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award; the Hillsborough County Bar Association’s Jimmy Kynes Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service; and the Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award from the Hillsborough Attorney Volunteer Efforts Program. She was also honored in 2001 with The Florida Bar Foundation’s inaugural President’s Award for Excellence.
“I am humbled by my selection to receive the Medal of Honor Award from The Florida Bar Foundation,” McLeroy said. “I consider it the greatest honor of my professional career to have my name listed with its prior recipients, many of whom I have had the opportunity to know and all of whom I deeply admire.”
The Medal of Honor Award, sponsored by Florida Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company, will be presented at The Florida Bar Foundation’s 40th Annual Reception and Dinner June 16 at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. Tickets can be purchased at www.TheFloridaBarFoundation.org/tickets for $125 per person.
Lawyer Medal of Honor Awards
|2017||John F. Harkness, Jr.||https://thefloridabarfoundation.org/john-f-harkness-jr-receive-florida-bar-foundations-2017-medal-honor-award-lawyer/|
|2016||Kathleen Schin McLeroy||For her innovative ideas to increase IOTA revenue, her successful efforts to preserve county funding for legal aid, her leadership of organizations supporting pro bono at the national, state and local level, as well as more than 20 years of direct services to pro bono clients.||https://thefloridabarfoundation.org/tampa-attorney-kathleen-schin-mcleroy-receives-florida-bar-foundations-2016-medal-honor-award|
|2015||William A. Van Nortwick, Jr.||For his decades in leadership of virtually every statewide organization and committee involving pro bono and legal services in Florida, for leading the One Campaign to promote pro bono work throughout the state, and for serving as a role model for other judges and lawyers, inspiring greater volunteer participation through his example.||http://thefloridabarfoundation.org/?p=4303|
|2014||Bob Butterworth||For his effective enforcement of victim and consumer protection, environmental, civil rights and anti-trust laws as Florida's longest-serving Attorney General, his noteworthy accomplishments in expanding open government in Florida, and his willingness and capacity to assume difficult jobs when it was crucial to the public good to do so.||http://thefloridabarfoundation.org/?p=2164|
|2013||Robert C. Josefsberg||For his half century of counsel to governors, judges and clients ranging from a rock star to the poorest of the poor; his dedicated pro bono service to individual clients, as well as legal services and other charitable and community organizations; and his longstanding advocacy for civility in the legal profession.||http://thefloridabarfoundation.org/?p=2543|
|2012||Henry M. Coxe, III||For his pro bono work, fundraising for legal aid, and leadership of the organized Bar.||http://thefloridabarfoundation.org/?p=2611|
|2011||Bruce B. Blackwell||http://thefloridabarfoundation.org/?p=2667|
|2010||Joseph P. Milton||For his leadership in promoting professionalism and ethics to his fellow attorneys through his extensive service to the bar and by setting the highest example in his own law practice.||http://thefloridabarfoundation.org/?p=2771|
|2009||Sylvia H. Walbolt||For her 45 years of providing free legal services to clients ranging from Guantanamo detainees to a St. Petersburg organization that feeds the hungry.||http://thefloridabarfoundation.org/?p=2822|
|2008||Terrence Russell||For his exceptional lifelong compassion and undaunting efforts to secure state funding for legal assistance for the poor through the Florida Access to Civil Legal Assistance Act.|
|2007||A. Hamilton Cooke||For his many contributions to providing access to justice for those living in poverty throughout Florida, and his tireless service to HabiJax.|
|2006||W. Dexter Douglass||For a lifetime of service and sacrifice, particularly as chair of the Constitutional Revision Commission in 1998.|
|2005||J. Dudley Goodlette||For spearheading the passage of the Florida Civil Legal Assistance Act.|
|2004||William J. Sheppard||For a long and distinguished legal career working on behalf of the underprivileged and oppressed, ensuring that "equal justice for all" is not a hollow phrase.|
|2003||Robert M. Ervin||For his unselfish, dedicated career of service to the public and the legal profession.|
|2002||Martha W. Barnett||For her outstanding service as immediate past president of the American Bar Association and her commitment to the principles of duty and service to the public.|
|2001||Patrick G. Emmanuel||For his distinguished record of active participation and lifelong dedication to the objectives of The Florida Bar.|
|2000||Joseph W. Hatchett||For his distinguished 22-year career of judicial service dedicated to upholding the civil rights of the oppressed, the vulnerable, and the unpopular.|
|1999||Samuel S. Smith||For his unswerving dedication to the legal profession, and for his leadership in establishing the Guardianship Program of Dade County.|
|1998||Burton Young||For his distinguished selfless service in working toward the betterment of The Florida Bar and the legal profession.|
|1997||Justice Richard W. Ervin||For his achievement and service to the public by improving the institutions of government and the administration of justice in Florida.|
|1996||William O.E. Henry||For his dedicated leadership to the community, public service in the legal profession, and outstanding efforts in representation of death row inmates.|
|1995||Steven M. Goldstein||For devotion of time and energy to providing legal services to the poor, for his voluntary services to the Bar, and for serving as a role model to his colleagues and students at the university law school.|
|1994||Thomas H. Barkdull, Jr.||For his distinguished career as a practicing lawyer and appellate judge.|
|1993||Raymond Ehrlich||For his commitment to the highest standards of ethics and professionalism.|
|1992||James C. Adkins||For his contributions to the law and legal profession as a member of the Supreme Court of Florida.|
|1991||Thomas LeRoy Collins|
|1990||Janet Reno||For her dedication to the highest ideals of our institutions of justice, children and the poor.|
|1989||Neal R. Sonnett||For his commitment and leadership in improving the criminal justice system and in protection of individual rights.|
|1988||James C. Rinaman, Jr.||For his work in furthering the public service activities of the organized bar.|
|1987||Talbot D'Alemberte||For significant achievements in judicial and legislative reform, civil liberties, legal education, advancement of the legal profession and the work of the organized bar.|
|1986||Russell E. Carlisle||For his dedication to the advancement of pro bono service by the legal profession and for his work in carrying IOTA across the nation.|
|1984||Ben F. Overton||For leadership of the bench and bar, support for continuing judicial education and service to the public.|
|1983||Arthur J. England, Jr.||For his leadership in establishing the interest on trust accounts in Florida and nationally.|
|1981||Wm. Reece Smith, Jr.||For his long years of service to the Bar in establishing the first judicial nominating commission and for service on behalf of legal services to the poor.|
|1980||Chesterfield H. Smith||For his years of dedicated service to the bench and bar.|
|1979||Reubin O'D. Askew||For his leadership in establishing judicial nominating commissions, and for the re-organization of the judicial system.|
|1978||Tobias Simon||For his protection of the rights of the oppressed and the poor and for his advocacy for improved prison conditions in Florida.|
|1977||Richard T. Earle, Jr.|
Non-lawyer Medal of Honor Awards
|2017||Jane Elizabeth Curran||For her 33 years of visionary leadership of The Florida Bar Foundation as its founding executive director, her immeasurable contributions to the national IOLTA movement, and her tireless advocacy promoting access to justice statewide and nationally.||https://thefloridabarfoundation.org/orlandos-jane-elizabeth-curran-receive-florida-bar-foundations-2017-medal-honor-award-non-lawyer/|
|2016||Kevin Gay||For his work as CEO and founder of Operation New Hope to help rebuild Jacksonville’s challenged urban communities and give ex-offenders the opportunity to successfully transition home and lead productive lives.||https://thefloridabarfoundation.org/kevin-gay-receives-florida-bar-foundations-2016-medal-honor-award-nonlawyer/|
|2011||Kathleen "Katie" Self||For her pioneering work in the implementation of Teen Courts across Florida; the volunteering of her services in establishing the Teen Court of Sarasota, the state’s first; and for her leadership in expanding the program to 50 Florida counties that together divert more than 22,000 at-risk children into Teen Courts every year.||http://thefloridabarfoundation.org/?p=2670|
|2008||Elizabeth Lander "Budd" Bell||For over four decades of volunteer advocacy to improve the lives of Florida's children, elderly and disabled persons.|
|2007||Dr. Walter F. Lambert||For his life's work as a medical advocate for abused and neglected children, and for his significant volunteer work for South Florida children in foster care.|
|2006||Janet McAliley||For selfless dedication to the better lives of children and immigrants, through her service to the Dade County School Board, and as president of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center.|
|2005||Abraham S. Fischler, Ed.D||For turning the dreams of countless people into realities through his intellect, commitment, drive and spirit.|
|2004||Rosalie Heffernan||For giving meaning and substance to the U.S. Constitution by starting an after-school elective called "Constitutional Studies."|
|2003||Lois Thacker Graessle||For a lifetime of selfless volunteer service in the pursuit of justice.|
|2002||Raul G. Barrera||For improving the administration of justice by bringing truth to the ideal of equal justice under the law for migrant farmworkers.|
|2001||John B. Orr, Jr.||For his courageous stand against a 1956 package of bills filed in the Florida legislature whose purpose was to perpetuate school segregation.|
|1999||Gene Miller||For his integrity as an investigative reporter in the coverage of the murder trials of two wrongfully convicted death row inmates.|
|1998||Reverend Fred L. Maxwell||For his leadership in Orlando to provide housing for for the homeless.|
|1996||Jean F. Norman||For her efforts and contributions in organizing "Law School for the Layman" and "Helping Children Cope with Divorce" programs for Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.|
|1994||Major John Smith||For his leadership, dedication and pioneering efforts in establishing the "GUTS" program for at-risk African-American males.|
|1993||Elaine Webb-Alvarez||For her outstanding efforts and leadership as a child advocate in the State of Florida.|
|1992||Abraham R. Brown||For his tireless efforts to address the spiritual needs of those confined to penal institutions.|
|1991||Mary Ellen Beaver||For her tireless advocacy for legal rights on behalf of migrant farmworkers.|
|1990||Audrey Lincourt Schiebler||For her pioneering achievements in improving the administration of justice to abused and neglected children.|
|1989||Marshall McDonald||For his work in improving the State Judicial System by bringing judicial reform and improved judicial compensation standards to Florida.|
|1988||Sr. Cathy Gorman||For her work to provide access to legal services, housing, health care, education and fair employment standards to migrant farmworkers.|
|1987||Rev. A. Leon Lowry, Sr.||For community leadership in promoting civil rights through constructive change.|
|1985||Sylvia Alberdi||For her dedication to the ideals of good government in service to the people of Florida as staff director of the Florida Senate’s Civil Judiciary Committee.|
|1984||Martin A. Dyckman||For his leadership in establishing and maintaining open government in Florida and excellence and accountability in our elected and appointed officials and for support for reform of the state’s prison system.|
|1982||Lucy Batchelor||For her work as director of the Human Relations Programs at state correctional facilities.|
|1981||William C. Clark||For his work as a lay member of Florida’s Judicial Qualifications Commission.|
|1978||Robert A. Rosof||For his pioneering work with juvenile offenders at the Dade Marine Institute.|