Volunteer Leadership

Bay Area Legal Services’ Volunteer Leadership include our Board of Directors and Development Council. The Board provides financial and program oversight while serving as our ambassadors in the community. The Council members are influential leaders with a demonstrated committed to the firm. The Council assists with fundraising efforts to secure the financial future of Bay Area Legal.

Board of Directors

Board Members serve as ambassadors, educating the community and building relationships that support our mission. Fiduciary duties include financial and program oversight, and broad policy-making. The Board is composed of 21 members selected and appointed by a variety of organizations and agencies.

Federal regulations require that the Board consist of at least 60% attorneys, and 30% eligible client members. Additional regulations require that attorney appointments be made by bar associations representing a majority of the attorneys practicing in the communities where Bay Area Legal provides services.

Join our Board and guide Bay Area Legal in a fiduciary role while serving as our ambassador in the community. Board members include attorneys and representatives from client-based organizations.

Current Board members:

2023 Officers

  • Chairperson: Tori C. Simmons
  • Chairperson-Elect: Sarah Lahlou-Amine
  • Treasurer: Vivian Cortes Hodz
  • Secretary: Jeffrey E. Cox

Board Members

  • Michael A. Bedke
  • Rebecca C. Bell
  • Caroleen B. Brej
  • Cynthia Davis-Gryce
  • Christine L. Derr
  • Valorie Hoppenworth
  • Adriana Huapilla
  • Yolanda V. Lee
  • Evan M. Malloy
  • Paul Martinez
  • Andrew M. O'Malley, Chairman Emeritus
  • Craig E. Rothburd
  • Alex M. Sarsfield
  • Linda L. Anderson Stanley
  • James D. Thaler, Jr.
  • Victor Van Pelt
  • Barbara Williams

The organizations that appoint Board members are:


  • Hillsborough County Bar Association
  • Sarasota County Bar Association
  • St. Petersburg Bar Association
  • West Pasco County Bar Association
  • Bay Area Legal Services Board of Directors


  • Catholic Charities
  • Community Action Stops Abuse (CASA)
  • Salvation Army Domestic Violence Shelter – West Pasco County
  • Senior Connections
  • The Spring of Tampa Bay
  • Tampa Lighthouse for the Blind

Development Council

The Council’s mission is to assist in securing the financial future of Bay Area Legal with strategic fundraising efforts. The Council consists of 20-25 members, including community leaders from diverse fields: medicine, real estate, insurance, education, financial services, accounting, media, law, small business, human resources, law enforcement, and ministry. Participation by these community leaders enhances the image and awareness of Bay Area Legal.

Become a member of our Council and you can join other community leaders who develop, promote, and support Bay Area Legal’s fundraising efforts.

Current Council members:

  • Sara L. Alpert Lawson, Co-Chair
  • Jacqueline A. Simms-Petredis, Co-Chair
  • Karen E. Cole, CFP, Vice Chair
  • J. Kevin Carey
  • Alexis M. Cotten
  • R. Thomas Elligett, Jr.
  • JT Garabrant, Advisor
  • Richard A. Gilbert, Honorary
  • Norman A. Harris
  • Benjamin H. Hill, III, Honorary
  • Charles F. Ketchey, Jr.
  • John F. Kynes
  • Gov. Bob Martinez, Honorary
  • Lauren T. Mehta
  • Lisa Montero
  • Cory J. Person
  • Craig E. Rothburd
  • Robert A. Shimberg
  • Edward M. Waller, Jr.
  • Jessica Smith West

If you are interested in learning more about the Council, please contact development [at] bals.org.

Major Gifts Committee

The Committee’s focus is to raise funds for the Medical-Legal Partnerships held at Bay Pines VA Healthcare System and James A. Haley Veterans Hospital.

  • Jeffrey E. Cox, Chairperson
  • Linda L. Anderson Stanley
  • Michael A. Bedke
  • Caroleen B. Brej
  • Benjamin F. Diamond
  • Kimberly J. Gustafson
  • Thomas F Icard Jr.
  • Charles F. Ketchey, Jr.
  • Alex M. Sarsfield
  • James D. Thaler, Jr.
  • Gwynne A. Young

Sustaining Law Firm Committee

The Committee leads outreach to local law firms through the annual Sustaining Law Firm effort.

  • Vivian Cortes Hodz, Chairperson
  • Rebecca C. Bell
  • Karen E. Cole, CFP
  • Christine L. Derr
  • Evan M. Malloy
  • Alex M. Sarsfield

Stewardship Committee

The Committee ensures our donors receive information, recognition and thanks for their support of the mission.

  • Sarah Lahlou-Amine, Chairperson
  • Jeffrey E. Cox
  • Craig E. Rothburd

Apply for Services

If you live or have a case in Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas or Sarasota counties, we may be able to help.

How do I apply? Am I eligible?