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Legal Services of Greater Miami, INC.

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Legal Services: Remembering the last 50 Years

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In preparation for Legal Service’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, we are asking all alumni to let us know where they are now. Please take a few minutes to fill out the questionnaire for inclusion in the LSGMI Hall of Fame. We look forward to seeing you at upcoming events to celebrate our golden anniversary.



LSGM-Abner.V-170x150Valencia Abner
1981 – 1991
Service at LSGMI has increased my ability to show compassion and dedication for my clients.

LSGM-GenericHeadshot-170x150Elizabeth Baker
1978 – 1981
Legal Services promoted women attorneys and gave them a lot of responsibility at a time when that was rare in the private sector.

Deborah Baker-Egozi
Board Member
2009 – 2011
Working with Legal Services on the Lotus House Street Law Program was truly amazing.

LSGM-GenericHeadshot-170x150Mel Black
1970 – 1972
My most memorable experiences were organizing tenant councils and working on law reform cases.

Deborah Bovarnick Mastin
1974 – 1975
Working at Legal Services helped me gain professional competence and confidence to better provide a voice for client.

LSGM-GenericHeadshot-170x150Jason Brenner
Tannen Fellow
Working with the Legal Services team and obtaining favorable results for our indigent clients has been one of my greatest career rewards.

LSGM-GenericHeadshot-170x150Mercedes Busto
Board Member
1985 – 1994
It was a great pleasure to serve on the Legal Services board and serve as board president.

LSGM-GenericHeadshot-170x150Gary Canner
1965 – 1968
My most significant accomplishment at Legal Services was successfully enjoining a landlord from re-selling electricity to its tenants at an exorbitant rate.

LSGM-GenericHeadshot-170x150Oksana Cardini
Finance Department
2002 – 2015
Legal Services helped me grow from a college intern to a seasoned professional. I built professional relationships that will last a lifetime.

LSGM-GenericHeadshot-170x150Philip Coller
Finance Department
1969 – 1971
“Working together with others to bring change to our society and help people is my favorite Legal Services memory.”

Jeff Crockett
Board Member
2005 – Present
“My most significant accomplishment at Legal Services was helping establish the Together We Must fundraising campaign.”
Julia Dawson
Tannen Fellow
“Getting to know and work with other Legal Services attorneys is my favorite memory.”

LSGM-GenericHeadshot-170x150Jorge A. Duarte
Attorney and Board Member
1976 – 1980
“There is nothing like the excitement of being able to help clients while creating social change.”

Robert Duffy
1977 – 1979
My time at Legal Services of the Florida Keys was very memorable and important to me as a young lawyer. It confirmed my desire to be of service to society.
Troy Edward Elder
2000 – 2002
While at Legal Services I worked on public benefits with a focus on immigration.
Natasha El-Sergany
My best memory at Legal Services was winning a tough unemployment compensation case. I truly felt like our advocacy made a difference.

Rosemary Enright
While at Legal Services I worked on education and housing cases.

Jeremy E. Gluckman
Working at Legal Services taught me that we can always make a difference in our clients’ lives and make them just a little better.”
Eitan Gontovnik
While at Legal Services I worked on foreclosure defense cases.
Barbara Goolsby
1982 – 2004
I loved representing groups of tenants seeking to force landlords to maintain their buildings. It often felt like democracy in action.

Ellen R. Gorman
1994 – 1995
Legal Services taught me the benefit of helping all individuals regardless of their ability to pay.

Valory Greenfield
1985 – 1996
My most significant accomplishment at Legal Services was arguing before the Florida Supreme Court in Solis v. HRS.

Veronica Harrell-James
1986 – 1989
My time at Legal Services afforded me the opportunity to develop my legal skills while providing assistance to clients who were unable to afford legal services. My work at Legal Services reflected my passion for justice and to serve others in need.
Dorsey F. Henderson, Jr.
1968 – 1970
My favorite Legal Services memory is the companionship of persons who shared concerns about the legal rights of the poor and were determined to do something to improve their lives.


Jim Hendrick
Board Member
As a Legal Services board member I helped keep the Florida Keys office open and active.
Samuel R. Kaplan
Board Member
1971 – 1972
“My time on the Legal Services Board helped me to learn about aspects of American life that rarely make it to the attention of the rest of the country, aspects that much of the population turns its glance away from when confronted by it.  We sometimes lapse into self-congratulation as a people, forgetting the work that is left to be done, work that Legal Services engages in on a daily basis.  I have not forgotten, even after 45 years, and for that I am grateful.”
Stephen T. Maher
1975 – 1981
My most significant accomplishment at Legal Services was securing injunctive relief in federal court, as well as ancillary administrative and state court relief, for indigent nursing home patients.
Gisela Munoz
Board Member
2006 – 2012
Being on the Legal Services board has helped me meet many good lawyers and wonderful people as well as broad my business network.

Rene Murai
Attorney, Board Member
1969 – 1971 and 1980 -1986
My years at Legal Services gave me a perspective on the life of poor communities.

Alexander Louis Palenzuela
1992 – 1999
Working at Legal Services gave me valuable experience and confidence to do a variety of work.”

Eduardo Pereira
Board Member
2012 – 2015
“As a long time public defender Legal Services has helped me stay grounded even after transitioning away from indigent defense and towards private client representation.”
Verna Popo
2007 – 2009
My fondest memory at Legal Services was being in the company of accomplished attorneys and taking note of their desire to serve others. That was truly inspirational and encouraging.

Eli Poupko
2003 – 2005
It was a pleasure and an honor working with such talented and dedicated lawyers and support staff. Also one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever done.

Cecily Robinson-Duffie
1990 – 1993
I received outstanding training at Legal Services which I am still utilizing today.

Bruce Rogow
Board Member
1966 – 1970
My most significant accomplishment at Legal Services was working with great lawyers with whom we took four landmark cases to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Jeremy Rosen
1998 – 2000
My most significant accomplishment at Legal Services was creating the homeless advocacy project.


Vance E. Salter
Board Member
1988 – 2007
The professionals at Legal Services were, and are my heroes for their dedication to those unable to afford private counsel in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties.

LSGM-GenericHeadshot-170x150Sue Rose Samuels
While at Legal Services I worked on family law cases.


Roger Schindler
Attorney, Board Member
1969 – 1973
Working at Legal Services gave me the opportunity to represent disenfranchised clients and work with colleagues regarding issues concerning social justice.
LSGM-GenericHeadshot-170x150Liz Schwabedissen
Board Member
1995 – 2004
I served on the Legal Services board as a member and an officer.”


Esperanza Segarra
While I only worked at Legal Services for one summer, assisting the homeless and helping a few families find homes and other assistance was rewarding.”

LSGM-GenericHeadshot-170x150Fredricka Smith
1968 – 1970
While at Legal Services I managed the Homestead and Princeton office.

H.T. Smith
1971 – 1973
My time at Legal Services taught me that one committed, caring, and courageous lawyer could balance the scales of justice for the least, the last, the lost, the looked over and the left out.

Kent Spriggs
1967 – 1968
South Florida Migrant Legal Services was nested in Legal Services. I handled a great many large class actions and the firm in its latter 25 years was essentially regional, sometimes, national in scope.

Marc Sternbaum
1972 – 1974
Legal Services made me aware of the need in the community and my ability to help locally.

Mark A. Sylvester
Board Member
2005 – 2010
My favorite memory of Legal Services is meeting and working with Legal Services clients and staff.”

Vicente TomeAttorney, Board Member
1994 – 1996
Among the many things that I learned from my fellow attorneys at Legal Services that were critically important to my development as a lawyer were providing excellent client service and being absolutely tenacious in representing the interests of your client.

LSGM-GenericHeadshot-170x150Don Wich, Jr.
1972 – 1975
My most significant accomplishment at Legal Services was prevailing before the Hon. Peter Fay in a suit to declare Miami-Dade County public housing minimum rent policies unenforceable and in violation of the Federal Brooke Amendment.

LSGM-GenericHeadshot-170x150Robert (Bob) Williams
1970 – 1973
It was a great experience working with terrific, caring lawyers who taught me how to practice law. I have been and always will be proud of my time at Legal Services.

LSGM-GenericHeadshot-170x150Steve Wisotsky
1971 – 1974
My most significant accomplishment at Legal Services was working on a class action suit for inmates of Miami-Dade County jail, reforming conditions of confinement.

LSGM-GenericHeadshot-170x150Jonathan Thiele
Attorney, Board Member
1984 – 1989 and 1990s
My work at Legal Services covered everything from eviction defense and mortgage fraud litigation to class actions for housing conditions.