Announcing: President & CEO Dick Woltmann's Retirement

It is with bittersweet emotions that we announce the retirement of our President & Chief Executive Officer, Richard “Dick” C. Woltmann, at year’s end.

Dick Woltmann joined Bay Area Legal Services in 1976 as a staff attorney with the goal of establishing an Elder Law Unit (now known as the Senior Advocacy Unit). In 1980, recognizing unrealized opportunities to improve and increase client services, Dick applied for the then-open position of CEO and was selected for the role.

Over four decades later, Dick’s commitment to the organization has changed its landscape. Under his leadership, Bay Area Legal Services has been transformed from a small, low-budget firm to one of the largest law firms in the Tampa Bay region with a statewide reach and a wide base of supporters, both local and national. As of 2023, the organization has eight branch offices and numerous programs with a specific focus on certain populations, all aimed at helping the most vulnerable. Dick’s four-decade-long tenure as CEO has fostered a welcoming, mission-focused workplace environment with a single goal: to provide high-quality legal services to our low-income clientele facing ever-changing challenges and needs.

And that goal will continue to be met, as we are excited to announce that Joan Boles, the organization’s current Deputy Director, will become Dick’s successor in 2024. Joan has been a highly dedicated attorney at Bay Area Legal Services since 1988 and has served in her current role since 2000. We have no doubt she will follow her predecessor in continuing to grow and improve the organization he helped steer into the twenty-first century.

We are also grateful to share that Dick will continue his work at Bay Area Legal on a part-time basis as "President Emeritus," utilizing his many years of expertise to educate legislators - local, statewide, and federal - about the value of legal aid.

Although it is impossible here to highlight Dick’s countless accomplishments, one thing is certain: his leadership will be sorely missed. His many decades at Bay Area Legal Services have had an indelible impact on legal aid as well as on everyone who served under him. Please join us in thanking Dick Woltmann for his 47 years of dedicated service and in congratulating him as he transitions into well-deserved retirement!

We sat down with Dick to discuss his upcoming retirement, his history with Bay Area Legal Services, and the future he envisions for the organization: Read the Q&A.


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