Kelly Peña, a third year employment associate with Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, was nominated for the Florida Bar pro bono award by her colleagues at the Miami-Dade Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers. Within her first two years of practice, Ms. Peña demonstrated a commitment to pro bono work, volunteering over 200 hours per year with Lawyers for Children America. There, she served as an attorney ad litem to a 14-year old foster child. Through her representation, Ms. Peña addressed the youth’s health issues and counseling needs, and obtained music lessons and a fitness camp for the youth. After two years, she helped her child achieve reunification with her biological mother.
In addition to her work with this individual foster youth, Ms. Peña has organized an annual holiday picnic open to all current and former foster youth in Miami-Dade County, along with members of the legal community. Over 200 guests, including the judiciary and other legal members of the community, attended this event both years. Ms. Peña hopes she has provided an enjoyable day for the foster youth while educating the legal community about pro bono opportunities. “This event has been a joy to plan, and my hope is that it will grow every year,” said Ms. Peña.
Ms. Peña also finds time to volunteer for the Children’s Home Society, where she has helped to start a mentoring program for teen youth.
Upon reflecting on her pro bono work, Ms. Peña emphasized that “Service to our community is one of the most rewarding things we can do as legal practitioners.”