Congratulations Barbara!

CFAWL congratulates its Past President Barbara Leach on her election without opposition to the Circuit Court of the Ninth Judicial Circuit. We are so proud of you!

Fay Pappas – Rock Star!

Kudos to Leadership Team member, Fay Pappas, on instituting the movement to provide temporary housing for hospital doctors and medical team members to reduce the risk of passing COVID-19 back to their families at home. Inspired by the struggles of her own family, it has grown to a statewide conglomerate of over 60 recreational vehicle parks and resorts donating free housing to medical worker who cannot safely stay in their own homes because of their exposure to COVID-19 patients.  Read more about it here.

CFAWL ROCKS!

Our President wishes to use this time to recognize CFAWL’s outstanding leadership. These women are exceptional attorneys/professionals, bar volunteers, and human beings. They are Rock Stars‼ Every few days, we will recognize the members of our Board of Directors and Leadership Team and thank them for their tireless service to our organization.  

Our first #rockstar is President-elect Mary Walter Ingram. Mary is a board certified appellate specialist at Liebler, Gonzalez & Portuondo. She is a double graduate from Florida State University and was a member of the Marching Chiefs in both undergrad and law school. She and her husband Brad are the proud parents of Gizmo, their handsome fur baby. Mary has been very active in the Orange County Bar Association and recently chaired its Law Day 5k. Presently, she is on the Executive Council of The Florida Bar’s Appellate Practice Section. Mary has held just about every position in CFAWL and is imminently qualified to lead our organization. But, most importantly, Mary is a ray of sunshine to all who know her. Mary makes everyone feel welcome and HAPPY. No one brightens a room or a day like Mary!

Our second #rockstar is Secretary Wynne McFarlin. Wynne is a graduate of Florida State University and Stetson Law School. Wynne practiced with Winderweedle, Haines, Ward and Woodman before establishing her own recruiting company –Legal Talent. Now, she spends her time connecting legal professionals with legal opportunities. Wynne is very active in the Orange County Bar Association and just recently served as President of the OCBA Legal Aid Society. In addition to serving as Secretary, Wynne chaired CFAWL’s Angel Tree Project which provided gifts to 100 children who would not have otherwise celebrated the holidays. She and her husband David live very active lives as is evident by the fact Wynne is an Ironman‼ What everyone loves about Wynne is that she is a voice of reason at all times. She is calm, cool, and steady no matter what she or others are facing. She’s also incredibly generous with her time and talent and leads a Special Olympics triathlon team trying to qualify for the 2022 Special Olympics!

Our third #rockstar is Treasurer Lauren Millcarek. Lauren is a Senior Associate at Shutts & Bowen where she focuses her practice on federal court litigation. Lauren is a double Gator having attended undergrad and law school at the University of Florida. Lauren is the immediate past president of the Orlando Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. During her tenure, the Chapter was recognized as Chapter of the Year by the Federal Bar Association. Lauren is an avid traveler and foodie. Nothing makes her happier than Halloween and Disney, except maybe her fur baby Marlow. Lauren has held numerous positions in CFAWL and has chaired some of its most successful charity events and programs. Lauren is a straight shooter and will always tell you what she thinks. Lauren provides critical analysis on all issues and consistently steers the Board in the right direction. Add her sharp wit and there’s never a dull moment with Lauren around!

Our fourth #rockstar is Assistant Treasurer Amanda Sampaio Bova. Amanda currently practices criminal defense with the Law Office of Corey Cohen. Amanda is one of less than 1% of criminal defense attorneys who are Board Certified in Criminal Trial Law. Amanda is a past president of the Central Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. As CFAWL’s Assistant Treasurer, she is in responsible for making sure the monthly luncheons run smoothly. Amanda has done a fabulous job this year streamlining reservations and check in. In addition to serving as Assistant Treasurer, Amanda chaired CFAWL’s highly successful Backpack Project in conjunction with the OCBA Young Lawyers Section. Amanda is calm, cool, and collected at all times. Amanda and her husband have a beautiful daughter who looks more and more like mama every day! 

Our fifth #rockstar is Immediate Past President Arti Hirani. Arti works with her mother at Meenakshi A. Hirani, P.A. where they serve their clients’ vast business needs. Arti graduated from Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law. She is currently attending The University of Chicago Booth School of Business (ranked #1 in the country) while continuing to practice law. Arti also serves on Executive Council of the Orange County Bar Association and is a Ninth Circuit Representative to the Young Lawyers Division of The Florida Bar. While President, Arti’s theme was #cfawlconnects and she worked tirelessly and successfully to promote cooperation, coordination, and camaraderie among Central Florida’s voluntary bar associations.

Our sixth #rockstar is our Membership Director Erica Cipparone. Erica is a partner at Beusse, Wolter, Sanks & Maire, PLLC where she is a registered patent attorney licensed to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Erica attended Rollins (Bachelor of Arts), UCF (Masters of Science), and Barry University School of Law (J.D.). Erica and her husband are both exceptionally busy attorneys juggling working and raising their two adorable daughters. Erica tackled the labor intensive job of Membership Director with a positive attitude and grace. She always has a smile and something positive to say! This year, Erica is being honored as one of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers’ Leaders in the Law.

Our seventh #rockstar is Programs Chair Kathleen Shea. Kathleen is an associate at Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell, P.A. where she focuses her practice in the area of casualty defense. Prior to transitioning to civil practice, Kathleen was a public defender in the Ninth Judicial Circuit where she tried nearly 70 (!) cases to verdict. Because of that experience, Kathleen is an advocate for CFAWL having programming which attracts and encourages participation by government lawyers. Kathleen was recently selected to serve on the Pace Center for Girls’ Central Florida Young Professionalism Board. Kathleen is one of the funniest people you will ever meet. She is witty and quick with perfect timing. If she ever quit her day job, stand up would totally be doable. Kathleen is being honored as one of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers’ Leaders in the Law.

Our eighth #rockstar is Programs Co-Chair Marina Ellis. Marina is not your typical CFAWL Board member as Marina is not a Florida lawyer. Marina is a financial representative with Principal Financial Group and an insurance agent with Bankers Life. Before moving to America, Marina studied law at Rostov State University in Russia and then practiced law in Russia. Marina is a single mother of two exceptionally polite and well behaved boys who participate in so many CFAWL programs they could be members themselves! Marina has a fabulous Russian accent and is an impeccable dresser! Marina is also the kindest woman you will ever meet. CFAWL is so fortunate to have her!

Our ninth #rockstar is FAWL Representative Heather Meglino. Heather is a litigation attorney at Spire Law where she practices employment litigation defense. Heather attended USF where she was captain of the bowling team (seriously!). After USF, she attended Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law. Heather has been incredibly involved in CFAWL while simultaneously serving multiple roles in the Young Lawyers Section of the Orange County Bar Association. Additionally, Heather has been very active on the Young Professionals Board of the Harbor House of Central Florida and chaired its “Handbags for Hope” event raising thousands of dollars for Harbor House. In her spare time, Heather trains for and competes in obstacle course races. Heather doesn’t just race, she wins having recently placed second overall elite woman in the Bonefrog Challenge. You don’t want to get in a fight with Heather, she will literally kick you b*tt!

Our tenth #rockstar is OCBA Representative Tina Leger. Tina is a lawyer with Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida where she serves those less fortunate. Tina attended the University of Florida and Florida Coastal School of Law. Tina has held many positions in CFAWL and is always willing to help. In fact, when the OCBA called for acts for its recent talent show, Tina volunteered to be on the “Attractive Nuisances” risking utter embarrassment if it didn’t work out. Nevertheless, they were awesome! Tina is a fitness buff, adventurous chef, and exceptionally active member of Grace Church. Tina is soft spoken, kind, and thoughtful. She brings peace to all those around her.

Our eleventh #rockstar is PR Director Jessica Thomas. Jessica runs the Thomas Law Firm where she practices family law, adoption, and dependency law. Jessica attended Florida State University and then Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law. Jessica is a force to be reckoned with. In addition to CFAWL, Jessica has served on the Florida Association for Women Lawyers Board, and was the President (twice!) of the Central Florida Women’s Resource Center. Jessica has received many awards throughout her career including The Black Women Handling Business 2019 Women in Law Award. While juggling her law practice and all of her volunteering, Jessica and her husband David are raising their precious son and daughter. Jessica is an inspiration to all of us – she keeps us real, she keeps us honest, but most of all, she keeps us on our toes!  

Our twelfth #rockstar is PR Co-Director Lisa Bedwell. Lisa is a Magistrate Judge in the Ninth Judicial Circuit in the domestic relations/mental health division. Lisa attended Flagler College and then obtained her Masters and J.D. from Stetson University. Lisa was incredibly active in the Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers before moving to Central Florida and jumping right into CFAWL. Lisa is an exceptional writer and published author which made her a perfect for the FAWL Journal Committee. As if that wasn’t enough, Lisa has also served on FAWL’s Legislative Committee. Lisa is so committed to CFAWL she even recruited her husband to serve and we are all grateful for his immense IT knowledge. They have single handedly saved the CFAWL website from crashing many times over‼ Lisa is incredibly thoughtful and articulate while often challenging the Board to look at things differently. She’s compassionate about doing what is right at all times. She is a constant reminder of what truly matters in our lives and that we must always focus on that. Additionally, she too has a quick wit and a wicked sense of humor. Lisa never seeks the limelight, but rather does her job diligently and efficiently with little fan fair. Every Board needs a Lisa!

Our thirteenth #rockstar is Young Lawyer Representative Jessica de la Cruz. Jessica is a family law practitioner with Conti Moore Law, PLLC. Jessica received her A.S. in paralegal studies from Keiser University, her B.A. in Legal Studies from Kaplan University, and her law degree from the Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University. Prior to law school, Jessica joined the U.S. Air Force and worked as an aerospace ground equipment mechanic. Jessica grew up in Honolulu, Hawai’i and tries to go back whenever she can. Keeping her busy here in Florida are her four children who are incredibly active in school and sports. Jessica is the type of Board member every organization should be blessed to have – she shows up – to everything! You can always count on Jessica to work the check in table at every luncheon or event. Jessica is sweet, kind, and compassionate. These attributes make her a fabulous board member and an even better family law practitioner. Jessica has big plans for the future, but those are for her to share! Regardless, her future is so bright, she’ll have to wear shades!

Our fourteenth #rockstar is Director at Large Traci Deen. Traci is an environmental lawyer who serves as the Executive Director and CEO of Conservation Florida. In this role, Traci oversees statewide land conservation efforts by fostering strategic partnerships, engaging the community and community leaders, and facilitating large-scale land transactions. Traci’s passion for Florida’s environment is evident in all she does. Traci is also an active volunteer in the community having served as Chair of the Junior Leagues of Florida State Public Affairs Committee and on the Board of Directors of AMIKids Orlando. In addition to CFAWL, Traci has been FAWL’s Legislative Director and serves on The Florida Bar’s Governmental and Public Policy Advocacy Committee. Traci is passionate about conservation, informed political action, and wildlife. She’s an experienced equestrian and can often be found at the barn with her riding buddy. Traci and her husband Michael are raising a strong little conservationist named Molly. Traci has such a beautiful spirit which shines through in all she does. She’s literally a ray of sunshine for all who know her.

Our fifteenth #rockstar is Director at Large Lorraine Pitre. Lorraine works in the Human Resources Department at Florida Hospital. Lorraine received her undergraduate degree from the University of Phoenix and her Juris Doctorate from the Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University. Lorraine has been involved in CFAWL since she was in law school. She has served on and chaired numerous committees as well as serving as the OCBA and FAWL Representative. Lorraine has also been very active in the Orange County Bar Association and served as Law Week (months!) Chair. Lorraine is absolutely the kindest person you will meet. She’s such an asset to CFAWL because she’s the epitome of a work horse. She shows up early, she stays late, and she doesn’t rest until the work is done. You can always count on Lorraine‼ 

Our sixteenth #rockstar is our Judicial Liaison Tanya Wilson. Tanya is a circuit judge on the Ninth Judicial Circuit. Judge Wilson is a proud Double Gator having received her undergraduate degree in journalism and her law degree from the University of Florida. Tanya began her legal career as a public defender in the Ninth Judicial Circuit and them became an Assistant Federal Defender. Prior to her appointment to the bench, Tanya was with the Department of Justice serving as a federal prosecutor. She was appointed to the county court in 2014 and then to the circuit court in 2017. Tanya serves as an officer of For The Kidz, Inc., a charitable organization connecting children and teens in poverty to educational, health, and social resources. She is also an active member of The Links Inc., a volunteer service organization of extraordinary women committed to enriching, sustaining, and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African Ancestry. Tanya is a keen listener and contemplative. She brings her restrained judicial demeanor to all discussions while providing valuable insight to our discourse. Most importantly, she is a HUGE Cowboys fan‼ 

CFAWL 2020 Scholarship Winner

CFAWL is pleased to announce the 2020 $1,000 Bar Study Scholarship winner, Kenisha R. Morgan. Kenisha attends Florida A&M University College of Law. She is currently active in the Women’s Law Caucus, National Lawyers Guild, Phi Alpha Delta, and the Young Lawyers Section of the Orange County Bar Association. Congratulations, Kenisha!”

GAL/FAWL Recognition

Congratulations to Thomasina Moore and the Florida Guardian ad Litem Foundation for being honored with the Productivity Award for efficiency in government by Florida TaxWatch for the second year in a row! The partnership between Guardian ad Litem and FAWL in Love with GAL continues to be a success! Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to GAL and FAWL. We are extremely proud!!

CFAWL President Featured on Open Ninth

Open Ninth’s newest guest is none other than Jamie Billotte Moses!  Head over to https://www.ninthcircuit.org/openninth/forging-future-female-lawyers or your favorite podcast streaming service to listen in as Jamie talks about her life’s journey, her experience as a female lawyer, and her future plans for CFAWL.

Congratulations to All FAWL Chapter Incoming Presidents!

#CFAWLROCKS

Congratulations to the incoming 2019-2020 Board of Directors and Leadership Team!

Board of Directors

  • President – Jamie Billotte Moses
  • President – elect – Mary Walter
  • Treasurer – Lauren Millcarek
  • Treasurer – elect – Amanda Sampaio Bova
  • Secretary – Wynne McFarlin
  • Past President – Arti Hirani
  • Membership – Erica Cipparone
  • Programs – Kathleen Shea
  • Co-Programs – Marina Ellis
  • FAWL Rep – Heather Meglino
  • OCBA Rep – Tina Leger
  • PR – Jessica Thomas
  • Co-PR – Lisa Bedwell
  • Young Lawyer Rep – Jessica de la Cruz
  • Director at Large – Traci Deen
  • Director at Large – Lorraine Pitre
  • Judicial Liaison – The Honorable Tanya Wilson

Leadership Team

  • Angel Tree Project Chair – Wynne McFarlin
  • Awards Chair – Peggy Smith Bush
  • Backpack Project Chair – Amanda Sampaio Bova
  • Grand Dame Event Co-Chairs – Deborah Cook and Valencia Poitier
  • Holiday Party Chair – Kimberly Lorenz and Penelope Perez Kelly
  • Judicial Reception Co-Chairs – Mallory Widgren and Fay Pappas
  • Kudos Chair – Mallory Widgren
  • Luncheon Sponsors/JRC Liaison – Camy Schwam-Wilcox
  • Scholarship Chair – Nequosha Anderson
  • Table for Eight Coordinator – Mallory Widgren
  • Women of Distinction Gala Chair – Ani Rodriguez Newbern

CFAWL Leadership

Congratulations to newly installed members of the 2019-20 OCBA Executive Board, the OCBA Legal Aid Society Board of Trustees, and the OCBA YLS Executive Board. #bossbabes #mytriberocks#vegastribe#halftribe #girlsrule @artihirani @hmeglino — with Arti Hirani and Heather Meglino in Orlando, Florida.

Congrats to Celeste Thacker!

On December 12, 2018 Celeste was FAWL’s featured #LeaderintheLaw. Celeste is in-house counsel for The Villages. Celeste is (takes deep breath) a board member of Foundation for Foster Children, former The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Law Student DivisionPresident, Membership Co-Director for CFAWL – Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers, and member of Orange County Bar Association, Osceola County Kissimmee Chapter of Young Professionals, Silver Spurs Club, Support our Scholars, and Orlando Health Young Philanthropist. Great job Celeste!

FAWL Highlights One of Our Own!

This week, FAWL highlighted #LeaderintheLaw Jessica Thomas, of Thomas Law Firm, PLLC, who practices family and dependency law in Central Florida. Not only is Jessica a passionate advocate in the courtroom, she also gives back to her community by serving on the Board of Directors for the Central Florida Women’s Resource Center, being an active member of CFAWL – Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers, and volunteering with the Children’s Home Society of Florida. #Firedup4FAWL#WomenWednesday

Congratulations to the Hispanic Bar Board!

These phenomenal, professional, intelligent and strong women were installed as the 2019 Board for the Hispanic Bar Association Of Central Florida on November 30th! Congratulations to Maytel Bonham, Christina Alvarez, Natalie Quinonez, Camila Pachon Silva, Ani Rodriguez-Newbern, Andrea Ortiz, Laura Maria GutierrezEsquire and Sandra Kay Davila Artreche.

Congrats to Lauren Millcarek, FBA Chapter President

Congrats to our very own Lauren Millcarek, who was just sworn in as the youngest Federal Bar Association, Orlando Chapter president in history, and is one of only six women presidents in nearly 50 years. #runtheworld #girls #FBAorlando

Thanks to Our Great Judicial Reception Sponsors!

You guys – you rock.

FAWL Features One of Our Own

Congratulations to Heather Meglino for being named FAWL’s next #LeaderintheLaw! Heather Meglino is founder of Heather Meglino, where she practices business and employment law and serves as in-house counsel for several companies. Heather is a Barry University College of Law alum, CFAWL – Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers Board member, an Orange County Bar Association Young Lawyers Board member, AND USF Alumni Association, Orange County Board. Heather also devotes time to the civic community as a Wish Granter for Make-A-Wish America. That’s how you get it done Heather! #WomenWednesday#Firedup4FAWL

A Place for Children

#CFAWL’s charity auction raised TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS for A Place for Children, the free daycare center in the Orange County Courthouse (Orlando, Florida)! Last week, our Immediate Past President Kimberly Hosley presented the check to their thrilled reps – AND made the awesome announcement that a portion of the donation will go to refurbishing their nursing room! 

$10,000 will go a long way toward ensuring that no child has to be burdened with witnessing litigation involving their parents, that attorneys who need last-minute childcare have extra support if they need it, and that nursing litigators have a convenient place to pump and store milk when they’re not killing it in the courtroom.

HUGE thanks to everyone who came to the auction and donated to support this awesome cause!

#CFAWLcares#CFAWLconnects#anursingroomineverycourthouse
(Psst…does YOUR local courthouse need a nursing room? Florida Association for Women Lawyers has a handbook for that )
CC: Orlando Day Nursery; The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division

Kudos to Former CFAWL Member Karen Scanlon!

Congratulations to CFAWL alumni Karen Scanlon, Esq. for her diligent commitment to helping to educate the Florida Legislature about the needs of military spouses. As reported in Florida Bar News, the Florida Bar’s proposed rule to allow lawyer-spouses of military personnel stationed in Florida to practice law cleared Supreme Court muster on July 19, 2018.

Karen (who currently heads the national Military Spouse JD Network, a bar association for lawyers married to service members), said the rule approval is especially significant. Florida has several military bases from Key West to Pensacola, is home to around 55,000 service members. “The Bar has been amazing in its support of this initiative, keeping the dialogue open between their efforts and our efforts.”

Congratulations to the 2018 Board and Leadership Team

President Arti Ajit Hirani
President-Elect Jamie Billotte Moses
Secretary Heather Meglino
Treasurer Mary Walter Ingram
Treasurer-Elect Celeste Thacker
Membership Director Heather Kolinsky
Co-Membership Director Camy B. Schwam-Wilcox
Programs Director Kayla Mudge
Co-Programs Director CJ Bosco
Public Relations Director Lauren Millcarek
Co-Public Relations Director Lisa Smith Bedwell
Young Lawyers Director Kathleen Shea
Co-Young Lawyers Director Erica Cipparone
FAWL Representative Lorraine Pitre
OCBA Representative Charity Tonelli
Director at Large Suzanne Gilbert
Immediate Past President Kimberly Hosley
Judicial Liaison Hon. Bob Leblanc
Annual Members Reception Tara Tedrow
Backpack Project Amanda Sampaio
Annual Spring Fundraiser Anne Marie Williams/ Deborah Cook
Judicial Reception Marina Ellis/Kathleen Shea
Table for Eight Coordinator Janki Thakkar
Development Chair Bill Umanksy
Holiday Party Melissa Vickers
Angel Tree Project Brian Lawrence
Scholarship Committee Chair Jessica Thomas
CFAWL Awards and Kudos Chair Andrew Roy
Diversity and Inclusion Chair Melody Lynch
Programs Chair Aid Melissa Vickers
Outreach Chair Hon. Faye Allen