Ms. Barber is responsible for management of the day-to-day operations of the Legal Aid Society, which provides legal assistance to low-income clients through a civil law practice, as well as operates the Guardian ad Litem Program, which provides best interest representation for dependent children. She is proud to work alongside 18 attorneys and 29 legal professionals who, together, provide quality legal service in family, consumer, immigration, housing, financial self
sufficiency, and dependency law, all areas of significant community need. Ms. Barber assesses firm needs to ensure program directives are met. She also provides direction and assistance to program staff, including supervision of legal work and special projects management. She is responsible for financial management of the program under the policies set by the Board of Trustees, which includes seeking, establishing, and maintaining diverse funding sources so the highest quality legal services are consistently provided to our fellow residents despite inability to pay. Ms. Barber is responsible for the overall administration of the LAS pro bono program, in which some 3,200 licensed attorneys volunteer by taking cases, engaging in special projects, and donating funds to forward the good works of the Legal Aid Society. Ms. Barber also facilitates legislative advocacy and staff involvement in the legislative process so the firm provides comprehensive, large-scale, meaningful services for every member of Orange County while also maintaining its Statewide presence as a significant voice in public interest law.
“As a member of the Legal Aid Society, I have a guaranteed opportunity to make our community stronger, healthier, and more prosperous…every day. There is no better organization in Florida.”
African American Project Director’s Association
American Bar Association
Disney Dreamers’ Academy
Florida Civil Legal Aid Association, Former Secretary, President-Elect
Orlando Economic Partnership Political Leadership Institute
Paul C. Perkins Bar Association, Former Parliamentarian and General Counsel
The Florida Bar
The Florida Bar Leadership Academy
Attorney Deputy Director/Pro Bono Director/Intake, Outreach, Community Education CoordinatorView Bio/Contact Info
407-841-8310 ext: 3156
University of South Florida, BA, Summa Cum Laude, 1985
New England School of Law, JD, Cum Laude, 1991
AREA OF WORK:
As Deputy Director, provides support to the Executive Director in the day-to-day operation of the organiza tion. Ensures consistent, high-quality, client-centered services through legal work standards, case acceptance policies, and other available tools. Serves as a resource to all staff on management issues. Develops and implements initiatives, policies, and procedures to enhance program services, productivity, and effectiveness. With the Technology Committee, enhances the integration of technology into legal work. Serves as a resource for the Communications Director on developing public relations materials. Works with the Development Director on fundraising activities. As Pro Bono Director, manages a staff of three in recruit ing new volunteer attorneys, placing pro bono cases, providing support and resources to pro bono attorneys, compiling statistical reports, and other administrative tasks. The department is responsible for an annual solicitation of 3,000-5,000 pro bono attorneys, placing over 1,000 new pro bono cases annually, tracking and reporting on over 600 open pro bono cases annually, organizing monthly lunchtime trainings, updating train ing materials, and providing background checks in guardian advocacy cases. As Intake, Outreach and Community Education Coordinator supervises one staff attorney and three support staff. Provides counsel and advice and brief services to many Legal Aid clients. Creates and maintains programmatic manuals that relate to the processing of all non-GAL requests for assistance. Responsible for overseeing the case management system as it relates to the processing of non-GAL client files. Directly responsible for manag ing and reporting of the Title III grant LAS receives for legal services to senior citizens and the CED grant that LAS receives from The Florida Bar Foundation.
Federal Bar, Middle District of Florida
Grand Avenue Economic Community Development Corp., Board of Directors
As the Guardian ad Litem Director of Administrative Services, supervises and supports the work of staff. Monitors cases for closure and proper file documentation. Primary writer of GAL grant applica tions. Manages LAS Lunch & Learn training schedule. Helps establish annual project goals and objectives and monitors progress of staff in achieving those goals. Acts as Guardian ad Litem for 6 children.
University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, Film BA and Psychology BA, 2008 • Suffolk University Law School, Boston, Massachusetts, JD, 2013
AREA OF WORK:
As the GAL Program Attorney specializing in Education, advocates for general and special educa tion services for dependent school age children. As a courtroom attorney, regularly provides support to pro bono attorney GALs both in and out of the courtroom, monitors not yet assigned GAL cases, and serves as GAL on in-house cases. Volunteered with Legal Aid until beginning career in the GAL Program in 2014. Practiced as Legal Aid’s Housing Attorney from January 2019 until returning to the GAL Program in April 2020. Participates in the VITA Tax Clinic.
University of Central Florida, BA in Legal Studies with a Spanish Minor, 1998 • University of Florida Law School, JD, 2001
AREA OF WORK:
Interned with LAS during Summer 2000 as a FBF Fellow. After graduating from UF, began LAS career in August 2001 as an EJW (formerly NAPIL) Fellow. Currently, handles family, guardianship, and dependency, in addition to providing substantive trainings and technical assistance to pro bono attorneys. Has historically devoted a majority of her practice to family law. Provides direct legal representation in all of the family law areas that LAS handles. Serves as Program Litigation Director, lead VOCA attorney and Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence Clearinghouse attorney. Conducts intake, community education, and outreach. Coordinates non-GAL under graduate interns. Has held different in-house positions such as GAL Program Education Attorney, Domestic Violence Department Supervisor, Legal Assistance to Victims Grantee Attorney, and Pro Bono Project Coordinator for: AIDS Special Wills Project, Teen Parent Education Program, and Attorneys Fighting for Seriously Ill Children.
The Florida Bar, American Bar Association, National Bar Association, Federal Bar • OCBA, CFAWL, Paul C. Perkins Bar Association
OCBA Family Law Committee: Immediate Past Chair
The Florida Bar Family Law Section: Executive Council, Membership Committee Chair, Technology Committee Chair, Finance Committee Appointment, Legislation Committee Appoint ment, Children’s Issues Committee Member, Domestic Violence Committee Member, Rules & Form Committee Member
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, Int’l INTERESTS:
Spending time with family, cooking, traveling, listening to audiobooks.
University of North Carolina at Asheville, BS in Management, 2009
Florida Coastal School of Law, JD, 2012
AREA OF WORK:
As Consumer Attorney, helps families and individuals faced with debt collection actions, money judgments, wage and bank account garnishments, student loan debt, identity theft, and more. As Housing Attorney, assists tenants facing eviction, substandard conditions, utility shut off, lock-outs, as well as homeowners facing mortgage, HOA, or COA foreclosures and tax lien sales. Jay’s housing work during the COVID-19 pandemic has been recognized by The Washington Post, The Associated Press, National Public Radio, ABC News Nightline, The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law, as well as multiple local outlets, resulting in 39 press/ social media stories or events highlighting his work since the start of the pandemic.
Manages the Veterans Advocacy, Legal Outreach & Representation (VALOR) Project, and assists veterans and their families with a wide-range of legal issues through a medical-legal partnership with the Orlando Veterans Hospital. Serves as the Legal Committee Chair and Executive Board Member for Heart of Florida’s Mission United veterans program. Serves as a member of the One Orlando Alliance and assists clients with LGBTQ related legal issues such as transgender name changes. Volunteers to draft wills and simple estate documents for low-income veterans.
American Bar Association
Military & Veteran Legal Network National Planning Committee
Mission United Executive Committee
Mission United Legal Committee, Chair
National Association of Consumer Advocates
OCBA Veterans Committee
One Orlando Alliance member
The Florida Bar; The Florida Bar Public Interest Law Section; The Florida Bar Military Affairs Committee INTERESTS:
Travel in Southeast Asia, definite foodie, learning about other cultures.
University of Florida, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, BA Sociology, 2009 • St. Thomas University School of Law, JD, 2013
AREA OF WORK:
Currently a Division 3 team attorney in the Guardian ad Litem Program. Represents the best interests of children by conducting home visits, litigating in court, and engaging in best interest advocacy at dependency related meetings. These meetings involve child well-being, case plan progress, placement, medical care, adoption, and independent living. Also, litigates juvenile depend
ency cases in the specialty courts of Drug Court and Early Childhood Court. Volunteers with the VITA Tax Clinic.
Bethune-Cookman University, BS International Business, 2009
Florida A&M University College of Law, JD, 2015
AREA OF WORK:
Handles family law and domestic violence related cases. Provides direct legal representation in all of the family law areas that LAS handles. Serves as a VOCA attorney. Conducts intake, community education, and outreach.
As the Guardian ad Litem Director of Special Projects, responsible for growing our team of pro bono attorneys and volunteer advocates as well as maintaining positive relationships with those individuals that currently volunteer their time to the Guardian ad Litem Program and the children we serve. Also serves as a courtroom attorney for the GAL Program and works hard to ensure that all of our kids are in safe, loving environments and are provided with the supports they need to achieve permanency. This includes advocating for appropriate placement, family connections, educational supports, public benefits, and therapy.
Fairleigh Dickinson University. Madison, New Jersey, Cum Laude, Political Science, BA, 1984 • University of Toledo College of Law, Toledo, Ohio, Magna Cum Laude, JD, 1987
AREA OF WORK:
The Housing Attorney provides assistance to tenants and home owners in a variety of ways. Traditionally, the Housing Attorney provides assistance to tenants, and their families, who are in danger of being evicted from their rental property. The Housing Attorney has refocused his efforts to address the Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020/2021 and the resulting impact on tenants due to loss of employment and/or reduction in income. As a result of the economic crisis of 2007, and the Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020/2021, the Housing Attorney provides significant legal assistance to home owners who are facing the loss of their home as a result of a foreclosure action filed by their lender or homeowners’ association. This foreclosure assistance is provided through focused and specialized legal advice and/or formal court representation. In addition, the Housing Attorney provides legal assistance to tenants whose rights are at risk due to the fact that their rental property is involved in a foreclosure action.
University of South Florida, BA in Criminology, Magna Cum Laude, May 1994 • Shepard Broad Law Center of Nova Southeastern University, JD, June 1998
AREA OF WORK:
Provides legal representation to immigrant victims of domestic violence, violent crimes, and human trafficking. Also, represents immigrant children who have been abused, abandoned, or neglect ed. Files petitions such as VAWA, U Visa, T Visa, I-751, and SIJ with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to request special visas and legal status for this victimized popula tion. Represents clients during their adjustment of status interviews and court hearings.
American Immigration Lawyers Association
The Florida Bar
Spending time with son and French Bulldog, going to the gym.
Bethune-Cookman College, Daytona Beach, BS in HR Management, cum laude, 1986 • Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center, JD, 1997
AREA OF WORK:
As a GAL Program Attorney, responsible for representing the best interests of children in Chapter 39 dependency proceedings. As the Developmental Disabilities Attorney, responsible for advocating for children with special needs. Responsible for working with Embrace Families to ensure that appropriate applications are filed for children who may be eligible for services through the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD).
Previously employed as an Assistant State Attorney with the 9th Judicial Circuit and as an HR Professional for the Walt Disney World Resort.
Florida International University, BA Criminal Justice, 2013
Barry University School of Law, JD, 2017
AREA OF WORK:
Outreach events for community education on sealing and expungement of criminal records. Assistance with immigration and guardian advocacy cases. Site Coordinator for VITA Tax Clinic open year-round, serving over 300 people annually.
Hispanic Bar Association of Central Florida, President
University of Miami undergraduate and School of law, BA and JD, 1995, 1999 AREA OF WORK:
Has been with LAS as a staff attorney for 16 years and serves as a Courtroom Attorney for the GAL Program executing the program’s courtroom model. Represents hundreds of children’s best interest in Chapter 39 child dependency proceedings. Visits with numerous children to check on their welfare, attends meetings on their behalf, communicates with their caretakers, files motions and legal pleadings on behalf of the program, and advocates for their interests outside of court via meetings.
Head Start Advisory Council
OCBA, Appellate Law Committee
OCBA, Family Law Committee
The Florida Bar
Traveling to St. Augustine beaches, theatre, arts, professional social events, reading, researching medical issues on the internet, reading up on celebrity news, dancing.
As the GAL Director of Legal Services, the primary role is to oversee staff attorneys and courtroom activities. Duties includes tracking legislation, overseeing staff casework and pleadings, clearing conflict cases and Attorney ad Litem orders, as well as staff specialty roles. Acts as judicial liaison and meets with dependency judges and magistrate regularly as well as working with community partners.
As the GAL Crossover Attorney, advocates for children who are in both the dependency system as well as the juvenile delinquency system. By advocating for children who are part of both systems, it is possible to ensure that the child is receiving all necessary services to fit their individual needs. This may include mental health treatment, mentors, extracurricular activities, tutoring, or finding an appropriate placement.
The Florida Bar
The Florida Bar, Public Interest Law Committee
US District Court for the Middle District of Florida
As Development Director, responsible for fundraising and development including limited grants. Serves as logistic event coordinator for large and small fundraising events including the annual Breakfast of Champions. Works to increase Legal Aid’s donor base and “friend” base, reducing costs to the Legal Aid Society through in-kind donations.
American Cancer Society, past Vice President and Volunteer of the Year • Champion Business Network Group, member
CFAWL, committee memberships: scholarship and holiday event for low-income • Change the World, past board member
Exchange Mate, member and host to international students
Florida Pro Bono Coordinators Association, past President and Vice-President • Legal Service Fundraisers, member
OCBA, member and OCBA5K, volunteer
Paul C. Perkins Bar Association, member and volunteer
The Downtown Business Network Group, facilitator
The Florida Bar Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services, past member
As the Director of Communications, establishes strategic communications, public relations, and marketing plans. Develops creative, effective strategies to secure brand awareness and publicize the LAS story, drafting and disseminating information regarding organization updates, community impact, and staff successes to the public, media outlets, law firms, and community partners. Maintains and grows LAS online presence via digital communications such as online newsletters, graphic designs, websites, and social media platforms. Coordinates collaboration with news media and community partners for LAS in-person events as well as special televised, print, and radio programming.
As the Guardian ad Litem Case Coordinator assigned to Division 07, works with staff and volunteer attorneys to advocate for Orange County dependent children. Visits children in their schools, homes, and other settings to obtain information critical to best interest advocacy. Collaborates with community partners to secure educational records, mentors, extracurricular activities, tutoring, or appropriate placement for dependent children. Attends dependency team meetings (staffings), educational meetings, and other child-focused events critical to advocating for services in the best interest of children throughout the duration of case/court proceedings.
OCBA, Affiliate member
St. Nicolas Roman Catholic Church, Evanston, IL, SPRED (special religious formation for adults and children with intellectual disabilities)
St. Stephens Roman Catholic Church, Winter Springs, FL
As the Guardian ad Litem Case Coordinator assigned to Magistrate 7 Division, works with staff and volunteer attorneys to advocate for Orange County dependent children. Visits children in their schools, homes, and other settings to obtain information critical to best interest advocacy. Collabo rates with community partners to secure educational records, mentors, extracurricular activities, tutoring, or appropriate placement for dependent children. Attends dependency team meetings (staffings), educational meetings, or other child-focused events critical to advocating best possible for dependent children.
As the Guardian ad Litem Case Coordinator assigned to Magistrate 3 Division, works with staff and volunteer attorneys to advocate for Orange County dependent children. Visits children in their schools, homes, and other settings to obtain information critical to best interest advocacy. Collaborates with community partners to secure educational records, mentors, extracurricular activities, tutoring, or appropriate placement for dependent children. Attends dependency team meetings (staffings), educational meetings, or other child-focused events critical to advocating best possible for dependent children.
As the Guardian ad Litem Case Coordinator assigned to Magistrate 7, works with staff and volunteer attorneys to advocate for Orange County dependent children. Visits children in their schools, homes, or other settings to obtain information critical to best interest advocacy. Collaborates with other departments to provide translation services for Spanish speaking clients. Collaborates with community partners to secure educational records, mentors, extracurricular activities, tutoring, or appropriate placement for dependent children. Attends dependency team meetings, educational meetings, or other child-focused events to ensure to properly advocacy on behalf of the children. Coordinates with community leaders to provide CLE credit for pro bono attorneys in the field of Human Trafficking and staffings.
As Lead Case Coordinator, determines Case Coordinator trainings, manages Case Coordinator team and their professional needs. Manages child enrichment requests. Person of contact for community partners and leaders.
As the Guardian ad Litem Volunteer Advocate for Children (VAC) Coordinator, recruits, retains and trains lay volunteers to assist GAL staff and volunteer attorneys advocate for Orange County dependent children. Visits children to obtain information critical to best interest advocacy. Supports GAL staff by attending dependency team meetings (staffings), educational meetings, or other child
focused events critical to child stability and success. Serves as liaison for Orange County dependent children placed out of county. Coordinates and serves as support for GAL events, including annual bike event and Christmas gift giveaway.
University of the Virgin Islands Business Administration Program
Valencia College, AA Office Systems Technology – Legal Secretary Technology, 1996 • NALS Certified Paralegal Program
AREA OF WORK:
I have worked in the Guardian ad Litem Program for 25 years. For 5 years, 2015 to 2020, I had the pleasure of assisting the previous GAL Program Director, Bethanie Barber, who is now our Executive Director. I continue to assist her as the Executive Internal Assistant. I assist with revising and maintaining various manual/ policies, officewide events, community partnership events, and other internal issues that may present itself. In addition, I now assist our new GAL Director of Administrative Services, Coravious Cowart, in supervising support staff in their departmental duties. To name a few, I provide hearing notifications, case updates, and arrange coverage for our GALs. Throughout the year, I close on average 500+ GAL cases and help maintain compliance with major funding sources. In conjunction with the other support staff, we serve as the lifeline for our volunteer attorney GALs by sending them succinct communications about their cases.
OCBA, Affiliate member
Christian Legal Aid Society
Beach, new cuisines, movies, travel, volunteering at Restore Outreach, Scrabble Player Words with Friends, Winter Season (snuggle blanket, hot chocolate & hallmark movies).
As Sr. Executive Assistant, provides administrative support to the Executive Director. Calendar management; prioritizes inquiries and requests; supports and manages requests and projects to meet the objectives of the Executive Director; prepares and edits correspondence; organizes meetings and events for convenings, retreats, various board meetings, and other logistics; maintains filing and communications systems; attends meetings and takes minutes when needed. Serves as a liaison to Board of Trustees; provides administrative support to Board President as needed; assists in board meeting preparation; ensures meeting announcements are distributed in advance to board and committees; prepares and distributes board meeting materials. As Grants Coordinator, coordinates the planning and preparation of grant proposals and reports; prepares and compiles all components of grant submissions, ensuring that the proposal is formatted, packaged, and submitted in accordance with granting agency requirements.
In my 38 years at Legal Aid, also worked as a Legal Assistant, and in the Intake Department and Business Office.
OCBA, Affiliate member
Boating, biking, kayaking, spending time with family.
As a Legal Assistant assigned to the Guardian ad Litem Department, assists four court staff attorneys with different areas of specialty. Monitors the dependency team meetings schedule (staffings) of 200+ cases and communicates on a weekly basis with case managers and 60-80 GAL attorneys regarding staffing updates and other relative information regarding the GAL cases. Files motions and other documents regarding dependency cases. Data entry. Prepares and maintains accurate records and reports. Provides support to case coordinators and assists with other program
matic duties that may arise within the GAL Department. Assists in the Intake Department and front desk coverage when assigned. Bilingual in both English and Spanish.
As an Intake Assistant, assists callers with interviews and applications and helps attorneys in building their legal cases. As the Community Education Assistant, assists the community education coordinator with planning community events.
As an Intake Assistant, assists callers with their intake applications, especially Spanish speakers. As the Intake Volunteer Coordinator, recruits intake volunteers for the year; processes their applications and provides their training. Previously worked as a Legal Assistant providing support for the family law attorneys and as a Intake Development Assistant providing support for the Development Director.
As a Montessori Teacher, taught the age group from 3 to 6 years at Montessori World School. As Pre-School Teacher taught pre-school children at Rosen JCC. As a Legal secretary in Puerto Rico for more than 15 years provided support to Litigation attorneys. As the owner and artisan of Mimos Workshop in Puerto Rico, 11 years, made and sold dolls and handmade toys.
American Montessori Society
Bona Fide Artisan for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and Puerto Rico’s Institute of Culture
Legal Assistant to the Housing, Immigration, and Consumer attorneys. As a legal assistant to four attorneys, coordinates meetings/ consults with clients and the attorney for the EDP. Does intake for Mission United referrals, Help Now referrals, and UAP applications. Assists in preparing important packets for our immigration clients to be sent to USCIS.
As Business Office Associate, supports the Business Office in different accounting, financial and grant related aspects, including accounts payable, accounts receivable, bank reconciliation, financial reporting, organization recordkeeping, and supports the grant application and reporting processes, among others. Participates in various projects in the admin department, while ensuring compliance with the applicable policies, procedures and requirements.
As Fiscal Administrator, assures the proper measurement and implementation of Internal Control Practice and Procedures to comply with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. The accounting functions include operating modules such as general ledger, account payable, account receivable, and bank reconciliation.
As Business Office Administrator, responsibilities include all aspects of financial and personnel matters related to the Legal Aid Society including grants, budgeting, reporting, benefits, and administration.
Charter Member of the Silhouettes of Criterions Civic Club
Updates pro bono attorney files; processes contributions; prepares certificates; prepares monthly statistical reports. Referral of GAL and non-GAL cases to pro bono attorneys. Assists with Intake, pro bono projects, and trainings.
As the Receptionist, serves visitors by greeting, welcoming, and directing them appropriately. Notifies LAS personnel of visitor arrival. Informs visitors by answering or referring inquiries. Answers all incoming calls and redirects them when needed. Keeps lobby area neat and supplied with all necessary supplies. Data entry and clerical support for staff when needed.
As Program Administrator, responsible for building maintenance, vendor relations, personnel and various administrative duties in the day-to-day operation of the organization. Oversees all network administration and technology including hardware, software, server maintenance, training, phone and internet communications. Serves on Legal Aid’s Building Committee.
Central Florida Chapter Association of Legal Administrators
Member of M. D. Anderson Foundation
Member of Orlando Health Foundation
Member of St. Cloud Line Dancers Group
National Association of Legal Administrators
OCBA, Affiliate member
Pro Bono Coordinators Association, Past President and Vice President
Southeast Administrators Association member, Florida Representative
Volunteer with Heavenly Hoofs therapeutic riding for individuals with disabilities and life threaten ing illnesses
A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER 85-8012557303C-7/CH396 AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800- 435-7352) WITHIN THE STATE OR BY VISITING THEIR WEBSITE AT www.FDACS.gov. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL,OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.