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Graceann Frederico, Executive Director
(941) 741-4091


BRADENTON, FL., May 15, 2018— The Manatee County Bar Association (MCBA) is pleased to announce the winners of its Law Day 2018 essay contest. Seventh grade students attending public, private, or home school in Manatee County, Florida were invited to submit essays on “Separation of Powers: Framework for Freedom,” the theme for Law Day 2018. Held annually in May, Law Day celebrates the role of law in society and cultivates a deeper understanding of the legal profession. The Law Day essay contest provided an opportunity for students to learn about the United States legal and justice system.

Receiving first place is Matthew Iacobelli of Nolan Middle School. In second place is Amber Polis and in third place is Grace Pino, both of St. Joseph Catholic School. The contest was judged without knowledge of the students’ identities or school affiliation, and scoring was based on originality and interpretation of the Law Day 2018 theme. The winner and the first and second runners-up will receive prizes and recognition by the MCBA at the MCBA’s Law Day Luncheon in May 2018.

Judges of the essay contest included retired Circuit Court Judge Janette Dunnigan, an adjunct professor at Thomas Cooley Law School in Tampa; Mary R. Hawk, a principal and partner with the law firm of Porges, Hamlin, Knowles & Hawk, P.A. in Bradenton; and Jamie Serino, Executive Director of Take Stock in Children of Manatee County. Jennifer Fowler-Hermes, a labor and employment attorney with Williams Parker in Sarasota, coordinated the contest and donated the prizes for the top scoring students.

About the Manatee County Bar Association

The Manatee County Bar Association is a nonprofit voluntary organization for attorneys and judges in Manatee County, Florida. The association serves the communities of Bradenton, Palmetto, Ellenton, Parrish, Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, and the Cities of Anna Maria Island. Dedicated to enhancing the legal profession, serving the community, and promoting fellowship, the Manatee County Bar Association has approximately 345 members.

MCBA learns constitution revision history at General Membership Luncheon

The MCBA was very excited to host Professor Mary Adkins, University of Florida Levin – College of Law, as she taught on the history of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission at the March membership meeting.  Professor Adkins brought the 1966 CRC to life as she discussed her new book, “Making Modern Florida.”  You may read the article in the Bradenton Herald here:

Diversity & Inclusion Symposium – CLE Event

The MCBA Diversity & Inclusion Committee held its first event on February 9th, 2017 at the MCJC!  Appx. 80 attendees attended the Diversity & Inclusion Symposium which was moderated by Judge Charles Williams.  Judge Claudia Isom, 13th Judicial District did a tremendous presentation addressing “Implicit Bias”, and a panel discussion followed which featured panelists Judge Karimu Hill-Harvey (retired, New Jersey) and Alan Perez, esq. Mallard Law Firm, Sarasota.


Panel Discussion: l to r: Judge Williams, Judge Isom, Judge Hill-Harvey, and Attorney Perez

Speakers: l to r: Lori Dorman, Judge Williams, Judge Isom, Judge Hill Harvey, Alex Perez