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Jax Daily Record Monday, Jul. 7, 201412:00 PM EST

Pro bono spotlight: Schmidt-Alpers honored for helping victims 

by: Kathy Para

When Megan Wall, managing attorney with Jacksonville Area Legal Aid’s St. Johns County office, discovered the Florida Attorney General annually recognizes victim advocates during victim’s rights week, she immediately nominated long-time pro bono attorney, Tania Schmidt-Alpers.

Attorney General Pamela Bondi recognized six victim advocates across Florida with the Distinguished Victim Services Award during a ceremony at the Capitol in Tallahassee.

Schmidt-Alpers was the only attorney to be recognized, as the award is generally geared toward law enforcement officers.

“I was amazed at how welcoming the AG’s office was. It was such a great experience and such an honor to be nominated,” Schmidt-Alpers said.

Her husband and daughter attended the ceremony in the Cabinet meeting room.

“There is no question,” Wall explained, “that Tania is one of the most dedicated, knowledgeable, talented and hard-working advocates for victims in the state, probably in the country and we are so fortunate to have her here in St. Johns County. The least we can do is thank her!”

Not only does Schmidt-Alpers represent victims in their Injunction For Protection cases, she also represents many of them in their dissolution cases.

She works closely with counselors and safety planners at the Betty Griffin House (St. Johns County’s local domestic violence shelter) helping to ensure victims and their children are safe from harm. She also has represented victims of human trafficking.

Some of these victims need to change their identities and apply for relocation assistance. Schmidt-Alpers assists in these matters, as well. She is known on the state and national levels as one of the best and most committed victims’ advocates and has lectured on the topic.

She is part of the Betty Griffin House “one-stop shop” for family protection, support and legal assistance.

In 2013, Schmidt-Alpers was recognized at the Supreme Court in Tallahassee with The Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Award for the 7th Judicial Circuit.

Deep appreciation and sincere congratulations are extended to Tania Schmidt-Alpers for her work on behalf of victims of domestic violence and her commitment to pro bono representation.

It’s impossible to measure the far-reaching, positive impact that Schmidt-Alpers’ work has on our community. For that we are all truly grateful.

Attorneys interested in pro bono opportunities throughout the 4th Judicial Circuit and beyond are encouraged to contact Kathy Para, chairwoman, The Jacksonville Bar Association Pro Bono Committee, [email protected].

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