Member Spotlight

Former Public Defender Nancy Daniels Receives 2017 Tallahassee Bar Association Lifetime Professionalism Award


The Tallahassee Bar Association recently presented its annual Lifetime Professionalism Award to Nancy Daniels, who served for 26 years as the public defender for Leon and five surrounding counties before her retirement in 2016. Daniels was instrumental in the development of the Second Circuit’s drug courts, mental health treatment initiatives, juvenile diversion and civil citation programs.

The Lifetime Professionalism Award is given to a lawyer, judge or law professor who for a period of at least 25 years has demonstrated professionalism and dedication to the legal profession and legal community through civil, community or legal service. Recipients must be TBA members. Sean Desmond, Tallahassee Bar Association President, presented the award during the TBA and William H. Stafford American Inn of Court holiday party on Dec. 5.

According to Desmond, Daniels has made a lasting impact on the Second Judicial Circuit legal community.

“Nancy Daniels has been an outstanding advocate for those who are less fortunate and a mentor to countless attorneys throughout the state,” said Desmond. “Her hard work, dedication and professionalism are hallmarks of her remarkable career.”

Tallahassee attorney William H. Davis in a letter of recommendation stated, “Throughout her years as a lawyer, Nancy Daniels has singularly demonstrated a steadfast adherence to the highest goals of our profession. She has been a zealous, capable and effective representative of her clients. She has courageously, in both her personal and professional life, stood up for the ‘underdog,’ for those without the means or the wherewithal to otherwise be so ably represented.”

Daniels is past president of the Florida Public Defender Association and the Tallahassee Bar Association. She served on the Florida Innocence Commission by appointment of the Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court. In the community, she is president of the Palmer Munroe Teen Center and a board member of the Grace Mission for the Homeless.

Background. Nancy Daniels was the first woman in Florida elected to the office of public defender, and served for 26 years as the public defender of the Second Judicial Circuit of Florida. In that role, she managed a staff of 113 employees who handled criminal, juvenile and mental health trials in the six counties of the Second Circuit and criminal appeals from 32 North Florida counties. She recently retired from that position and now is a legislative consultant to the Florida Public Defender Association. According to the Tallahassee Democrat, in her last year as public defender for Leon County, Daniels oversaw more than 16,000 cases, represented 13,000 clients, got the state to drop charges in 944 cases and assigned more than 1,000 appeals.

Daniels graduated from Florida State College of Law with honors in 1977. She worked as a legislative intern in the Florida Senate during law school, and then served as a law clerk at the First District Court of Appeal. After working six years as an Assistant Public Defender in the Leon County Public Defender’s Office, Dean Talbot D’ Alemberte hired her as a criminal clinical professor at FSU law school, supervising state attorney and public defender interns around the state prior to her election as public defender in 1990.



TBA Member Profile: Erin Tilton

The Tallahassee Bar Association’s most recent member profile is on Erin Tilton, an associate at Hopping Green & Sams P.A. and the current President of the TBA Young Lawyers Section.

Erin was born and raised in South Windsor, Connecticut. She earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in Biology and Hispanic Studies from Boston College in 2010. She went on to attend Stetson University College of Law on a full-tuition merit scholarship where she graduated summa cum laude in 2013, but not before meeting her husband, Anthony.

Erin’s practice focuses on environmental and land use matters, including natural resources litigation, water supply issues, wetlands and mitigation banking, large-scale planning, zoning and private property rights. She represents clients before state and federal courts, local and state agencies, and elected bodies to obtain development permits and approvals and defend against enforcement actions.

Read Erin’s full profile in the June 2017 TBA Bar Bulletin.

IMG_1615Knab Receives Tallahassee Bar Association Martha Barnett Women Lawyers of Achievement Award

Former Legal Services of North Florida Executive Director Kris Knab is the 2017 recipient of the Tallahassee Bar Association’s Martha Barnett Women Lawyers of Achievement Award. The award was established to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of women lawyers from Florida’s Second Judicial Circuit, and honors an outstanding lawyer who has achieved professional excellence and who has been an advocate or mentor for the advancement of other women lawyers.

Tallahassee Bar Association President Sean Desmond and 2016 Barnett Award recipient Judge Nina Ashenafi-Richardson presented the award in April at the Tallahassee Women Lawyers – Tallahassee Bar Association joint membership meeting.

“Martha Barnett has been a leader and role model to many in the legal profession,” said Desmond. “This award is intended to recognize successful women lawyers who have gone above and beyond to improve and enhance the practice of law for other women lawyers.”

Knab served as Legal Services of North Florida executive director for 22 years. She is credited with building Legal Services of North Florida from one small office in Leon County to one of the most respected legal services agencies in the country. The organization now provides legal representation and counsel to 7,000 families annually.

HeadshotTBA Member Profile: Jami A. Coleman

Our February 2017 Bulletin profile was on Jami Coleman, a tax law associate at Viera Williams P.A. and this year’s recipient of TBA’s Thomas M. Ervin Jr. Distinguished Young Lawyer Award.

Coleman earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Florida State University, a Juris Doctor degree from FSU College of Law and a Master of Law in Taxation from Georgetown University Law Center. At FSU, she was an editor of the Business Law Review, a member of the Mock Trial Team, competed in the Jessup International Moot Court Competition and served as the Sub-Regional Director IV of the Southern Region of the Black Law Students Association.

Coleman’s legal career includes work as a Drug Court Coordinator at the Seminole County Courthouse under the supervision of now-retired Florida Supreme Court Justice James E. C. Perry, an internship for Special Trial Judge John F. Dean at the United States Tax Court and service as an attorney for the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic at Legal Services of North Florida. As a LITC Attorney, Coleman assisted approximately 300 low-income taxpayers each year with tax controversies against the IRS.

Coleman joined Viera Williams P.A. in 2013 as a full-time associate in tax law, probate matters, estate planning and business law. Coleman is admitted to practice before the United States Tax Court and is pending admission to practice in New York.

Read Jami’s full profile in the February 2017 TBA Bar Bulletin.