Port Saint Lucie, Fla.- Aug. 27, 2013– Shareholder, Evett Simmons of Greenspoon Marder hosted the Evett L. Simmons Mock Trial Competition, which was held at the Fontainbleau Miami Beach Hotel during the National Bar Association’s Crump Law Camp. Ms. Simmons also received the Sankofa award, which she was presented with at this year’s annual convention of the National Bar Association.
The Sankofa award was established in 2005 and is presented to an individual who has distinguished him or herself by empowering the futures of young people by his or her tireless efforts to make a quality education accessible to all. The award was presented on behalf of the President of the NBA and the Chairperson of the NBA’s Awards Committee. It represents the old African adage “Always remember the past for therein lies the future.”
“I am truly honored to be receiving the Sankofa award from an organization that is so near and dear to me. It is important that we continue to push forward with respect to providing quality education and the NBA does a tremendous job of helping to improve the conditions and opportunities for minorities in the legal profession.”
Now in its 13th year, the NBA Crump Law Camp, which is a two-week summer camp convened at the famed Howard University, is designed to provide high school students with an enjoyable and comprehensive introduction to the challenges of a legal education. The Camp offers annually at least 36 students of diverse backgrounds and races, an introduction to law school and the skills required to be an effective lawyer. The faculty and staff are comprised of members of the legal and education community, including lawyers, teachers and law professors. Open primarily to tenth and eleventh grade students, the curriculum not only includes guest lecturers but field trips and a mock trial competition. Judges of the competition included Greenspoon Marder’s Susan Motley. Motley is a shareholder in Greenspoon Marder’s Land Use & Zoning and Governmental Practice Groups, where she represents many developers, national retailers, banks and pension funds in seeking development approvals as well as representing clients before governmental bodies on both the state and local levels.
Each Law Camper participates in the Evett L. Simmons Mock Trial Competition, named after the NBA’s 58th President, under whose leadership the Law Camp was launched. The finalists in the ELS Mock Trial Competition compete at the NBA Annual Convention, and the winner receives a laptop computer, provided by Greenspoon Marder. Winners of the Mock Trial Competition are announced in July and featured in the August issue of Florida Bar News. With only 10 percent of the nation’s lawyers being people of color, the primary goal of the NBA Crump Law Camp is to encourage young students of color to improve their grades in high school, attend college and enter law school.
“The objective is to grow our own lawyers,” Simmons said. “If you go into a courtroom and you see people in key roles that happen to look like you, you at least perceive that you have a better opportunity of having a fair outcome.” This is why Simmons began the Law Camp in 2001 during her term as president of the National Bar Association.
Simmons, a past president of the Port St. Lucie Bar Association and former member of the State of Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission and the Board of Directors of Enterprise Florida, is the Chair of Greenspoon Marder’s Diversity Committee. She currently serves on The Florida Bar Continuing Legal Education Committee, the American Bar Association Commission on Civic Education in the Schools, and the Board of Trustees of Florida Southern College.
Ms. Simmons has been awarded honors by a variety of respected organizations, associations, and businesses. In 2007, the NBA presented Simmons with the “Gertrude E. Rush Award” that honors her spirit and commitment to mankind. She also received the “National Black Pre-Law Admissions and Preparation Conference Legacy Builder Award,” the “PACE Believing in Girls Embrace Growth & Legacy Award,” and the “Soroptimist Women of Distinction Award.” In addition, she is a past recipient of the NBA’s “Gertrude E. Rush Award” and in 2001 she was listed by Ebony Magazine as one of the most influential African Americans in the United States.