Super Lawyers selectees are a diverse group of attorneys working for their communities in ways that inspire others, encourage participation in the law and advocate for justice no matter the client. Here are a few of their stories.
Eugene Pettis is one of seven children from what was once referred to as the “colored side” of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He grew up with hand-me-down shoes filled with cardboard to cover the holes and a speech impediment, but that didn’t stop him from graduating law school or serving as the first black president of the Florida Bar Association.
Pettis takes pride in helping underserved members of the community and has been working for others ever since starting the Horizon Club, his high school’s first inclusive service club. He is seen by colleagues as a dogged and hard working attorney. He has spent the majority of his career in personal injury and medical malpractice defense and has also served on the South Florida Water Management District’s governing board.
He is currently a partner and the co-founder of Haliczer Pettis & Schwarm. He has been a Super Lawyers list selectee for eleven years in a row and elected Top 100 Miami three of those years.
Jessie Kornberg wasn’t destined to be an attorney. It turns out that in college she was looking for a way to best serve underprivileged communities. Her answer was a law degree that eventually led her to her current position as president and CEO of Bet Tzedek. In her time leading the advocacy group, Kornberg has helped secure financial backing and rolled out new initiatives to help low income families and individuals who have trouble understanding complicated tax structures that exist in areas like disability benefits.
Kornberg was born and raised in New York, the child of an architect and a poet. She graduated from Columbia Law where she was studying when the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 affected her view of the world and helped shape her into the advocate she is today. During her time in law school at UCLA she went to New Orleans with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to help victims of Hurricane Katrina.
She currently manages a budget of $8 million in cash and about $15 million in services while reporting to a board of 55 members. Even with all this responsibility she is “so inspired by the energy and ferocity [with which] my staff is responding” to the problems poor L.A. residents.