Recipient of Florida Bar President's Pro Bono Service Award for the 4th Circuit, Rebeccah Beller

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  • | 12:00 p.m. February 15, 2010
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by Kathy Para

JBA Pro Bono Committee Chair

Pro Bono Spotlight, Bringing you news of pro bono opportunities and accomplishments.

The Beller & Bustamante P.L. web site tells prospective clients that Rebeccah Beller is an experienced litigator who concentrates in the practice areas of family law, estate planning, wills and trusts, probate and will contests, and bankruptcy.  What it won’t tell you about is one of Beller’s most-accomplished areas of specialization: Pro bono involvement. On Jan. 28 at the Florida Supreme Court, the Florida Bar awarded Beller one of its prestigious President’s Pro Bono Service Awards, given annually to attorneys who perform over and above the call of duty on behalf of the state’s poor and indigent population. The award came about six months after Jacksonville Area Legal Aid celebrated Beller as its Pro Bono Attorney of the Month in this column.

“I truly cannot think of anyone who is more deserving of this honor than Rebeccah Beller,” says Sarah Fowler, Pro Bono Manager at Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, where Beller spends so much of her time. “She embodies the spirit of everything we try to accomplish at Legal Aid.”

“Rebeccah exemplifies what we strive for as attorneys — competence, professionalism, compassion, and energy,” says JALA Pro Bono Development Coordinator Kathy Para. “Her generosity and genuine concern for the community is unparalleled.”

In addition to logging 160 pro bono hours to help the underserved population of the Jacksonville area in 2009, Beller contributes numerous additional hours conducting Continuing Legal Education seminars that help prepare other attorneys to aid the poor and indigent population with their civil legal needs. In addition, she serves on JALA’s Board of Directors, where she helps guide the organization in its efforts to reach out to those who cannot afford private legal assistance.

Much like her firm’s web site, however, you will hear little of this from the Florida State Law School graduate, herself.      “Receiving this award really reflects on the people who surround me — attorneys and non-attorneys — doing good work without worrying about recognition, and inspiring me to help when I can,” Beller says. “Working with JALA staff and attorneys regularly humbles me. It feels good to be part of a community that supports and celebrates helping each other.”

The purpose of the Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award is to encourage lawyers to volunteer legal services to the poor by recognizing those who make public service commitments and to raise public awareness of the substantial volunteer services provided by Florida lawyers. The award recognizes pro bono service in each of Florida’s 20 judicial circuits and one Florida Bar member practicing outside the state of Florida. In 2008-09, Florida lawyers provided 1,545,157 hours of pro bono services to those in need and $4,443,830 to legal aid organizations.

In addition to JALA, Beller is a member of various other organizations, including the St. Johns County Bar Association, where she is past president; the Jacksonville Bar Association; Family Law Inns of Court; The National Association of Consumer Advocates and the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. Prior to opening her own firm, Beller was a trial attorney with the Public Defender’s Office. She received her undergraduate degree from FSU as well, graduating Magna Cum Laude in Communications.

Beller’s partnership with law school friend Mina Bustamante is located in southern Mandarin. Beller resides in Jacksonville with her husband, Richard Wolfe, and their two children, Ethan and Kate.



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