Community Law Program Staff Attorney Named as a 2022 Lightning Foundation Community Hero and the Organization Receives a $50,000 Grant!

Community Law Program, Staff Attorney, Tom McGowan,  was recently honored as a Tampa Bay Lightning Community Hero for 2022. During an at-home hockey game, he and the organization was awarded a $50,000 grant, presented by Elizabeth Frazier with The Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and the Vinik Family Foundation in the Jabil Suite at the Amalie Arena in Tampa. The purpose of the grant is to continue the Community Law Program’s Family Law Litigation Project.

Tom has dedicated himself to family law over the last 45 years and during that time, took on many cases pro bono. After he retired from private practice, he joined Community Law Program full time and has positively impacted the live of CLP clients ever since. His bound-and-determined efforts of helping the most vulnerable clients have allowed more than 80 people over the last two years to receive outstanding representation, most with life-changing outcomes. Without this program in place, they would have had to go it alone in court up against opposing parties who had the financial resources to hire their own attorneys.

The Family Law Litigation Project was created to help level the playing field for clients that otherwise would not be able to afford an attorney to represent them and to help them with their high-stakes family law cases. These cases often involve domestic violence, child and spousal support and/or child custody. Government funding for family law assistance beyond representation in injunction return hearings is scarce, even though there is a huge need in most communities.

To give you an idea of the need in Pinellas County, over 9,000 family law cases were filed, and only 10% of petitioners had attorneys and only 6% of respondents were represented by an attorney in 2020.This grant will help ensure that the CLP Family Law Litigation Project will continue throughout 2022, giving Pinellas County residents that qualify access to a dedicated, experienced family law attorney to help them. When This program will also allow Community Law Program to help other residents complete the voluminous paperwork that is required in order to start a family law case.

A huge thank you to staff attorney, Tom McGowan, the Lightning Foundation, Inc, and the Vinik Family Foundation!

To read more about the Community Hero Award on the Tampa Bay Lightnings web site, click here.