This past weekend I had the honor of speaking at the Greater Tampa Bay Area Council & # 39 ;s Law Merit Badge Day Program. Judge Thomas Palermo organized the event and served as the Law Merit Badge Counselor.
Law Merit Badge Day is a unique experience that allows Scouts interested in legal careers to complete the requirements for the Scout Law Merit Badge and provides Scouts with the opportunity to learn about criminal law, civil law, legal history and the opportunity to participate in a fierce trial with real judges and lawyers.
I had the opportunity to talk about my work as a justice lawyer for policyholders at Merlin Law Group. Astrid Guardado, a lawyer at Bush Ross and president of the Tampa Hispanic Bar Association, and I also talked about several areas of law and answered questions from the Scouts about being a lawyer.
Here at Merlin Law Group, I get to wake up every day and fight for policyholders' rights against insurance companies. Lawyers at their core are creators of change. Being a lawyer gives you the opportunity to really help people. It is a fantastic responsibility that I take very seriously. I love doing what I do, and I always get such an incredible sense of satisfaction when I talk to the next generation of future lawyers about this noble profession.
Judge Palermo said:
Professional development begins early. In this case, it started with 61scouts from across the Fort Brooke District (Hillsborough County) and even some from the wider Greater Tampa Bay Area Council. The Scouts came to the George E Edgecomb Courthouse to Courtroom 1 at the 13th Court. The scouts came to earn their Law Merit badges.
To help them, a large group of volunteers gathered. This included:
District Judge Darren Farfante, 13th District
District Judge Susan Rothstein-Youakim, Second DCA
District Judge Suzanne Labrit, Second DCA
Martin Hernandez, Fernandez and Hernandez, LLC
Amy -Ward, ASA, 13th Circuit (LTA ECU; Scout leader)
Alex Haddad Palermo, Business Advisor, Syniverse Technologies
Tiffany Oshiro, APD, 13th Circuit
Justin Fahringer, APD, 13th Circuit
Tracie Reese , APD, 13th Circuit
Jocelyn Small, APD, 13th Circuit
Lyndsey Siara, Staff Attorney, 13th Circuit
Richard McDonald, ASA, 13th Circuit (Eagle Scout)
Rocky Brancato, Chief Assistant Public Defender , PUBLIC DEFENDER CORPORATION FOR 13TH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT (Eagle Scout)
Danielle Villamil, ASA, 13th Circuit
Amy Currotto, Esq., Merlin Law Group
Astrid Guardado, Bush Ross (and President of TAMPA) HISPANIAN BAR )
Steven Ray, Special Agent, Co ast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS)
Mike Furgason, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, DEA
Lindsay Shaffer, Special Agent, DEA
Joe Pelz, Special Agent, DEA
Brett McKean, Special Agent, ATF
Matt Kamat, Lieutenant, Tampa Police Department (Eagle Scout)
Ryan Flannigan, Corporal, Tampa Police Department
Dayle Urquhart, Voices for Children in Tampa Bay
Lorne, the Amazing Court Facility Dog
Judge Michael Baggé-Hernández (Guest Play)
In addition to the above, special thanks to the Hillsborough County Sheriff & # 39 ;s Office (two bailiffs helped first thing in the morning and the Sheriff gave other support to the program), Office of the Public Defender for the 13th Judicial Circuit (Hillsborough County) (Julie Holt) (in addition to all the wonderful volunteer support, which sends the Chief Assistant to lead the Scouts in the promise of faithfulness t) and the 13th Circuit to open the George Edgecomb Courthouse and Courtroom 1 for this program.
Thanks to Katie Sheffield and Jeremy Twachtman for supporting the program.
And a special thank you to Chief Justice Ronald Ficarrotta for not only supporting the program and the scouts but also for making sure the day was first class and for letting me use his courtroom and lend me his mega hammer.
There are definitely some future lawyers and judges in that group of scouts!  Today's Thought:
Being a lawyer is not just a calling. It is a public trust, and each of us has an obligation to give back to our communities.
– Janet Reno