Legal Aid of Manasota Celebrates 25th Anniversary and Access to Justice


Bryan Stevenson (photo credit Nina Subin)
SARASOTA – Legal Aid of Manasota is proud to announce that Bryan Stevenson, nationally acclaimed human rights lawyer, author and TED Talks speaker will be the keynote speaker at Legal Aid of Manasota’s 25th Anniversary dinner on Thursday, October 27th from 6–9 p.m. at Michael’s on East,1212 S. East Avenue, Sarasota. Stevenson, a recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Genius Award, will talk about race, poverty and the justice system.

Bryan Stevenson is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit based in Montgomery, Alabama, that provides legal representation to those on death row who have been denied fair and just treatment and to juveniles facing life sentences. His efforts have saved 125 prisoners on death row from execution. Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu has called Stevenson “America’s young Nelson Mandela.” Stevenson’s twenty minute TED Talk on the subject of injustice has been viewed more than five million times on the internet, and The New Yorker named it one of five essential TED Talks. His book, Just Mercy, is a New York Times best seller and was named by Time magazine as one of 2014’s ten best nonfiction books. Legal Aid of Manasota’s CEO Linda Harradine, says, “Bryan Stevenson’s work and message align with ours. As Bryan says, ‘The opposite of poverty is not wealth, the opposite of poverty is justice.’ Legal Aid is about access to justice for low-income individuals and families in Sarasota and Manatee counties who cannot afford to pay an attorney. Without Legal Aid of Manasota and leaders like Bryan, citizens’ rights and liberties are at risk.”

Legal Aid of Manasota is a non-profit civil law firm that partners with local lawyers who donate their time and expertise to civil areas such as domestic violence, family law, foreclosure, landlord/tenant, guardianship and senior wills. Due to a serious lack of funding,

Legal Aid of Manasota is only able to serve about 1 in 5 low-income individuals with legal problems. Still, with the help of 400 volunteer attorneys and 7,082 hours of time valued at $1.4 million,

Legal Aid of Manasota was able to open 1,682 new cases in 2015, closed 1,762 cases and helped more than 4,000 people.