Twenty-one lawyers in Florida received Florida
Bar President's Pro Bono Service Awards for
their pro bono work in Florida on Jan. 19 at the state Supreme Court.
One of these
lawyers does not even view his work as a career; he sees it as a
That man is
Samuel Pennington, who has law offices in Orlando and Tavares. His
long history of pro bono work includes the more-than 100 pro
bono-assistance hours he put in during the last year, according to a
general-practice lawyer after taking
the bar exam in 1988, he focused on bankruptcy law shortly afterwards
as a way to help people.
“It was a place
where I felt I could help people the most,” Pennington told The
Helping people is
something Pennington has done regularly. He has done missionary work
in Nicaragua, Mexico and other locations both before and during his
time as a lawyer. However, it also seems that Pennington views his
pro bono work for his clients as a form of missionary work in the
“This is my way
of doing something to help people in the country,” he said.
worked with the Community of Legal Services of Mid-Florida to
establish a pro bono bankruptcy clinic in Lake County. This allows
more lawyers to volunteer their time with more clients who are in
need of their services where bankruptcy filings are concerned.
This is not the
first time that Pennington has been honored recently for his pro bono
work. He was named
the Lake County Pro Bono Attorney of the Year by the Community Legal
Services of Mid-Florida in 2015.
“It meant a lot
to me,” he said.
He also received
the Greater Orlando Legal Services and the Lake County Bar
Association in 1996 for his pro bono work.
While plans for
retiring from his law career are possibly on the horizon in the next
few years, Pennington doesn’t plan to retire from lending a helping
hand to whoever may need it in the future.
“I just want to
help people,” he said. “However, the best I can do that is how I
want to do it.”
A large part of
Pennington’s need to help others may be because of his religious
background. After graduating from law school, Pennington spent
several years working with the Christian Prison Ministries before
taking the bar exam in 1988.
is my vocation, helping people is my avocation,” he said.
awarded for their pro bono work also represented a judicial circuit
in Florida. The scope of Pennington’s bankruptcy-law practice is
representative of the 5th Judicial Circuit, which includes
Citrus, Hernando, Lake, Marion and Sumter counties.
According to the
news release, Florida lawyers did about 1.7 million pro bono-service
hours and about $5.4 million worth of work for legal-aid
organizations in the previous 12-month period, according to the news