SBCF Firm News In HCBA Lawyer Magazine

Thank you to the Hillsborough County Bar Association for sharing SBCF firm news in the latest issue of its Lawyer Magazine. Alex Caballero, Andrew D. Reder and Sterling Lovelady are included in the magazine’s “Around the Association” section. The HCBA is one of the largest voluntary bar associations in Florida with a membership of close to 4,000 attorneys, judges and legal professionals.

HCBA Lawyer Magazine

Andrew Reder Announces Birth of Son

We are so pleased for SBCF Partner Andrew D. Reder and his wife, Jessica, who are celebrating the birth of their third child. Ford Alexander Reder was born on March 27. Congratulations, Andrew and Jessica!

Reder Family is Growing

Paul Kanjorski Re-elected to ALA Suncoast Chapter Board

We are proud to announce that SBCF Firm Administrator Paul Kanjorski recently was elected to a fourth term on the board of directors for the Suncoast Chapter, Association of Legal Administrators. During Paul’s tenure on the board, the chapter has won the national ALA Presidents’ Award of Excellence twice, in 2020 and 2021. The award of excellence program is a performance guideline meant to encourage chapters to take effective and collaborative action in support of ALA’s mission to promote and enhance the competence and professionalism of legal administrators and all members of the legal management team, improve the quality of management in law firms and other legal service organizations, and represent professional legal management and managers to the legal industry and the community at large. Congratulations to Paul and all of our friends and colleagues at the Suncoast Chapter of the ALA on earning this prestigious award.

ALA Suncoast Chapter Honored

Sikorske, Caballero Named to Tampa Magazines’ 2021 Top Lawyers List

Congratulations to the 174 Tampa Bay attorneys in 83 practice areas who are included in Tampa Magazines’ 2021 Top Lawyers list. More than 11,000 attorneys in Hillsborough and Pasco counties were asked to nominate fellow attorneys who demonstrate excellence in their fields of practice. We are extremely honored that SBCF partners Caroline Black Sikorske and Alex Caballero have been named to the Top Lawyers list in family law. The digital issue will be online soon.

Sam Branda Announces Marriage to Jordon Koko

Congratulations to SBCF attorney Samantha “Sam” Branda Koko and her husband, Jordan, who eloped in Park City, Utah on February 27. Sam moved to the Tampa Bay area in January 2020 from her hometown of Naples, where she has been practicing law since she was admitted to The Florida Bar in 2012. She celebrates her one-year anniversary with the firm this month. Sam said the couple has no connection to Utah, “We just picked a snowy destination.” Please join us in wishing the newlyweds all the best in their life together.

Sam Branda Weds Jordon Koko

Jennifer Ficarrotta Chairs Marital & Family Law Board Certification Committee

SBCF partner Jennifer Ficarrotta serves as chair of The Florida Bar’s nine-member Marital & Family Law Board Certification Committee, which reviews credentials for board certification applicants in that practice area, implements its standards, and administers and grades the Marital & Family Law certification exams. Board certification evaluates attorneys’ special knowledge, skills and proficiency in various areas of law and professionalism and ethics in practice.

Board-certified lawyers are evaluated for professionalism and tested for expertise. Jennifer earned Florida Bar Marital & Family Law board certification in 2015; SBCF Shareholder Caroline Black Sikorske and Managing Partner Alex Caballero also are board-certified. We are exceptionally proud of Jennifer’s leadership role for The Florida Bar.
Jennifer Ficarrotta/Vice-Chair of Certification Committee

SBCF Supports Bay Area Family-Service Agencies

In lieu of the firm’s annual Valentine party, we chose to make donations to Bay Area Legal Services and The Spring of Tampa Bay.

The Spring of Tampa Bay provides comprehensive services to enhance the safety of victims and survivors of domestic violence in Hillsborough County, and to support them as they rebuild their lives. If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, creating a safety plan with the help of a trained advocate is essential. The Spring’s staff members are available 24 hours a day to answer phone calls, connect you to resources like safe shelter or legal representation, and to make sure you are not alone. Their programs are free of charge. If you need to shelter, The Spring can help you, your children and even your pets. The need is great. One in four women reports experiencing domestic violence in her lifetime. Since it was founded in 1977, The Spring has provided a safe haven and comprehensive supportive services to more than 70,000 abused adults and their children, and they have answered calls from more than 150,000 women in crisis.

Bay Area Legal Services provides free civil legal services to low-income residents and nonprofits in the Tampa Bay area. The organization helps foster children find permanency in stable, loving homes; protects families from domestic violence and child abuse; and helps veterans and seniors fight foreclosure and retain their homes. Every year, BALS attorneys, paralegals and support staff assist thousands of individuals, families and community groups. Support for Bay Area Legal Services promotes access to justice. Law firm support helps give BALS the ability to sustain and grow their programs and continue the important work they do in our communities, and we are proud to be a BALS Sustaining Law Firm for the tenth consecutive year.

Happy Valentines Day 2021

Andrew Reder Participates in Inn of Court Toy Drive

Please join us in thanking the J. Clifford Cheatwood American Inn of Court members who participated in the holiday toy drive to benefit Voices for Children of Tampa Bay, a non-profit organization that works with Guardian ad Litem volunteers to provide support and advocacy for local children. The highly successful toy drive allowed Guardian ad Litem volunteers to select thousands of gifts for kids in foster care so that children in Hillsborough County had gifts to open during the holiday season. The Cheatwood Inn of Court is a local association of lawyers, judges and other legal professionals from all experience levels and backgrounds who share a passion for professional excellence. We are proud that SBCF partner Andrew D. Reder is a member of this Inn of Court and continues to make a difference in our community.

Toy Drive 3 Toy Drive 2

 

Jennifer Ficarrotta Quoted in Florida Bar News Article

The Florida Bar News recently published a story about the Marital and Family Law Certification Committee’s consideration of a request to include collaborative law questions on the annual family law certification exam. SBCF Shareholder Jennifer Ficarrotta chairs the committee and is supportive of including the material, but the request came too late for the March 2021 family law certification exam. Jennifer, whose practice includes collaborative law, said she doesn’t see a problem including the subject on the 2022 exam: “We could have drafted it [collaborative questions] on the test, but it isn’t already part of the study materials. We wanted to be as transparent as possible for studying.” Twenty former Florida Bar Family Law Section chairs, including SBCF Shareholder Caroline Black Sikorske, signed the petition to include collaborative law questions on the certification exam.
Jennifer A. Ficarrotta

Jennifer Ficarrotta Donates 100+ Pro Bono Hours

We are exceptionally proud of SBCF Shareholder Jennifer Ficarrotta, who has donated more than 100 hours of pro bono legal services in the last year. In the past three years, SBCF attorneys have donated approximately 1,258 hours to Bay Area Legal Services, which provides free civil legal services to low-income Tampa Bay area residents. We are pleased to have earned the 13th Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee’s 2020 award for “Outstanding Pro Bono Service by a Law Firm.” Firm founder Stephen Sessums has instilled the concept that we all give back to the community by performing civic work and pro bono work to those who are in need. It is through his leadership, guidance and example that the firm encourages us all to give back and participate in pro bono.

Jennifer A. Ficarrotta

SBCF Included in 2021 ‘Best Law Firms’ List by U.S. News – Best Lawyers

We are honored to be among the law firms that are included in the 2021 Edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms,” a recognition of professional excellence based on ratings from clients and peers. Ranked firms, presented in three tiers, are recognized on national and regional-based scales. Firms that received a tier designation reflect the “highest level of respect a firm can earn among other leading lawyers and clients from the same communities and practice areas.” SBCF received a “Tier 1” regional ranking. To be eligible for a ranking, a firm must first have a lawyer recognized in The Best Lawyers in America©, which recognizes 5 percent of lawyers practicing in the United States. Caroline Black Sikorske and Alex Caballero are named to the 2020 list. The 2021 “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on the highest lawyer and firm participation on record, incorporating 8.3 million evaluations of more than 110,000 individual leading lawyers from more than 22,000 firms. Congratulations to all of the firms that have been recognized.

Andrew D. Reder is SBCF Partner

We are very pleased to announce that Andrew D. Reder is now a partner in the firm!

Andrew is an experienced litigator who devotes 100% of his practice to Marital & Family Law. He regularly represents business owners, executives, lawyers, doctors, nurses, stay-at-home parents, and other individuals in a wide range of family law proceedings such as divorces, paternity actions, and post-judgment proceedings. His practice combines alternative dispute processes, such as mediation and collaborative divorce, with traditional litigation. Andrew is a former prosecutor for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit and successfully litigated numerous jury trials, non-jury trials and motions, including prosecuting domestic violence offenses. Previously, Andrew served as a staff attorney in the Sixth Judicial Circuit where he was responsible for advising four circuit court judges on various issues of Florida Law, conducting legal research, and drafting proposed Court orders, experience that provides valuable insight into the judicial decision-making process.

Andrew prides himself on his work ethic, accessibility, legal knowledge, and the personalized legal services he provides each client. Andrew holds a Martindale-Hubbell AV “Preeminent”® Peer Review Rating—the highest possible rating in both legal ability and ethical standards. He has been named to the 2020 lists of Florida Super Lawyers Rising Stars in Family Law and Lawyers of Distinction. He is a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, the Tampa Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society, the J. Clifford Cheatwood Inn of Court, and the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar. 2019, he was elected by his peers to the Executive Council of the Marital & Family Law Section of the Hillsborough County Bar Association.

Andrew earned his Juris Doctor degree with honors from Stetson University College of Law and his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with honors from Auburn University. Andrew and his family are proud Tampa natives with strong connections to the justice system and legal community. He lives in Tampa with his wife, Jessica, and their young children.

Andrew D. Reder - SBCF Partner

Andrew Reder Serves as HCBA Seminar Moderator

SBCF Attorney Andrew D. Reder recently served as the moderator for “Accountant’s Perspective on Financial Affidavits and Use of Financial Experts,” a Hillsborough County Bar Association legal education seminar. Andrew is an active member of the HCBA and was elected by his peers to the Executive Council of the Marital and Family Law Section of the HCBA for the 2019-2022 term. We appreciate Andrew’s continued involvement in the Bay Area legal community.

Andrew Reder Serves as Seminar Moderator

Congratulations to Tami Bradley on One Year With SBCF

Please join us in congratulating Paralegal Tami Bradley, who today is celebrating one year with the firm. Tami has been a family law and business litigation paralegal and legal assistant for more than six years. She is a Florida Notary Public and licensed realtor who has worked in residential sales since 2002 and worked in commercial sales in from 2018 until joining SBCF. She also is a volunteer Guardian Ad Litem in the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit and was named 2018 Guardian Ad Litem of the Year.

Tami Bradley Work Anniversary

Caroline Black Sikorske Celebrates 31-Year SBCF Work Anniversary

Please join us in congratulating SBCF Shareholder Caroline Black Sikorske, who this week celebrates 31 years with the firm. Caroline is named among the Top 10 2020 Florida Super Lawyers, attorneys who received the highest points during the Super Lawyers nomination, research and review process. She is admitted to the prestigious International Academy of Family Lawyers, a worldwide association of practicing attorneys who are recognized by their peers as experienced and skilled family law specialists in their respective countries. She is a diplomate of the American College of Family Trial Lawyers, a select group of 100 top U.S. family lawyers who practice sophisticated and complex family law matters. She has been included in The Best Lawyers in America© in family law since 2006. She is Florida Bar Board Certified in Marital and Family Law, is a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and is Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent® Peer-Review rated.

Caroline Black Sikorske

SBCF Honored With 13th Circuit Pro Bono Award

We are exceptionally proud to be honored with the 13th Judicial Circuit’s 2020 award for “Outstanding Pro Bono Service by a Law Firm.” Here are some excerpts from the award write-up:

“The firm’s founder, Stephen Sessums, instilled in the firm a dedication to pro bono involvement as a means to providing a rewarding and substantial impact on the community. In keeping with that tradition, the firm has been a consistent provider of pro bono in the community. In the past three years alone, Sessums Black has donated approximately 1,258 hours to Bay Area Legal Services.

“In 2019 alone, the firm provided over 335 hours to pro bono services. For example, firm attorney Jennifer Ficarrotta agreed to handle a pro bono custody case where the client could not find or keep counsel due to the opposing party’s threats of violence and bullying, including threats against counsel and the judiciary. Ms. Ficarrotta took on the case despite these challenges and her client ultimately prevailed. Other Sessums Black attorneys have devoted significant hours to pro bono causes, including representing children in foster care and serving as volunteer attorneys for Bay Area Legal Services.”

SBCF Partners Stephen Sessums, Caroline Black Sikorske, Alexander Caballero and Jennifer Ficarrotta attended the virtual awards presentation on behalf of the firm. Steve said, “It’s a great honor for us to receive the award. We accept it on behalf of not only the lawyers but the staff, who contribute as well. From the beginning, we have tried to create an environment in which public service of all kinds to the Bar and elsewhere has been a core value of the firm. We’re honored by this recognition.”

Click below to view the presentation ceremony on Facebook.

HCBA Pro Bono Awards Ceremony 2020

 

SBCF Celebrates Paralegals on National Paralegal Day

Today is National Paralegal Day and Paralegal Day in Florida, and we want to say a big thank you to our exceptional paralegal team: Michele C. Tawzer, Frank Steinbeck, Jr., Lorri Rowell and Tami L. Bradley. This day is an opportunity to recognize and appreciate the work of all paralegals in our state. We congratulate our paralegals for their hard work, professionalism and contributions to the Florida legal community. Learn more about the firm’s paralegals at sbcf-famlaw.com/paralegal-profiles.

National Paralegal Day 2020

Caroline Black Sikorske Attends AAML Florida Chapter Retreat

SBCF shareholder Caroline Black Sikorske and her husband, Jeff, recently attended the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers – AAML – Florida Chapter retreat and CLE in Savannah, Ga. Founded in 1962 to “promote the highest degree of professionalism and excellence” in family law, AAML members must be highly technically proficient in law, experienced, ethical and must commit to continued education to maintain excellence in family law. Fewer than 100 family law attorneys in Florida currently meet the stringent requirements needed to become an AAML member. We are proud that Caroline has been an AAML Florida member since 2002 and served as Florida Chapter president in 2012-13.

AAML FL Chapter Retreat

Michele Tawzer Celebrates 16-Year SBCF Work Anniversary

Congratulations to certified paralegal Michele Carpenter Tawzer, who last month celebrated 16 years with the firm. Michele is a Certified Paralegal through the National Association of Legal Assistants and a Florida Registered Paralegal through The Florida Bar. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of South Florida in 1999. She is an active member of the Tampa Bay Paralegal Association, Inc., whose mission includes setting the standard of excellence for the paralegal profession through its work on regulations, ethics and education. Michele has more than 25 years of family law litigation experience and devotes 100 percent of her practice to the area of marital and family law.

Michele Tawzer

Sterling Lovelady Presents to Tampa Bay Paralegal Association

SBCF attorney Sterling Lovelady made a virtual presentation on September 17 to the Tampa Bay Paralegal Association, Inc. titled “COVID-19: A Sword and Shield in Family Law Proceedings,” Sterling discussed the impact that COVID has had on our family law proceedings, what has changed and what we can learn from this experience. Sterling devotes 100 percent of his practice to marital and family law. (Screenshot credit: Frank Steinbeck, Jr.)

Sterling Lovelady Presents to TBPA

SBCF Partners are TBACP Members

SBCF partners Caroline Black Sikorske and Jennifer Ficarrotta are members of the Tampa Bay Academy of Collaborative Professionals, a group of independent attorneys, neutral financials and neutral facilitators who focus on and commit to collaborative divorce. All professionals accepted to TBACP are selected based on rigorous training and extensive experience beyond normal professional requirements. Attorneys must have been practicing primarily in marital and family law for a minimum of 10 years and all professionals must be individually approved by the TBACP Board of Directors and by a vote of the general membership. In addition to their individual profession’s requirements, all TBACP members must undergo specialized training in the collaborative process and the associated negotiation techniques and must be members in good standing of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals.

Tampa Bay Academy of Collaborative Professionals

Sterling Lovelady Serves 3rd Year as Crossroads For Florida Kids Attorney Ad Litem

SBCF attorney Sterling Lovelady is serving for the third year as an Attorney Ad Litem for Crossroads For Florida Kids. Attorneys who volunteer for Crossroads handle complex legal representation for disadvantaged children and young adults in Hillsborough County. The need is great. If you are interested in becoming a Crossroads For Florida Kids pro bono attorney and helping children in our community who need legal advocates, contact Executive Director Rosemary Armstrong at rosemary@crossroadsfloridakids.org or call her at 813-873-7490.

Sterling R. Lovelady

Frank Steinbeck Jr. Celebrates SBCF Work Anniversary

SBCF Paralegal Frank Steinbeck Jr. this week celebrates eight years with the firm. Frank is a Florida Registered Paralegal through The Florida Bar and is a Florida Notary Public. Frank had more than five years of civil litigation paralegal experience when he joined the firm in 2012. He is an active member and current Treasurer of the Tampa Bay Paralegal Association, Inc., which strives to set the standard for excellence for the paralegal profession through its work on regulations, ethics, and education. Frank holds an Associate of Arts degree from Pasco-Hernando State College and a Bachelor of Science degree in Legal Studies from South University, an ABA-Approved Paralegal Education Program. Happy work anniversary, Frank!

Frank Steinbeck Jr.

SBCF Thanks Firm Administrator Paul Kanjorski

We’d like to give a shout-out to SBCF Firm Administrator Paul Kanjorski, who helps keep the firm on track with a wealth of knowledge and expertise from his 20-plus years of experience. Paul has managed financial, bookkeeping, administrative and human resource functions in various corporate settings, including law firms and other professional services. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in History & Political Science from Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania. He also has been honored as the 2018 Member of the Year by the Suncoast Chapter of ALA.

During his first two-and-a-half years, Paul has advanced the firm’s forward-thinking mentality by partnering the latest technology with the firm’s already compassionate and professional law practice. These efforts were tried during COVID-19 in March when the firm overnight moved 75 percent of its operations to remote. The technology was tested and performed almost seamlessly, allowing the firm to continue to serve its clients without disruption. Paul’s efforts, along with the full support of the firm’s leadership, are laying the foundation for the next 15 years of SBCF Law. Thank you, Paul, for being a key part of the SBCF team.

Paul Kanjorski

Sterling Lovelady Celebrates SBCF Work Anniversary

Congratulations to Sterling Lovelady, who this week is celebrating three years of working with the firm as an attorney. Sterling first worked with us as an intern in 2016 and assumed his full-time position as an attorney in 2017. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Florida State University, where he played as an offensive lineman for Florida State Seminoles Football. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from Stetson University College of Law. Sterling is a member of The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division and the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar. He also serves as an Attorney Ad Litem—a volunteer attorney—for Crossroads For Florida Kids, a nonprofit organization that handles complex legal representation for disadvantaged children and young adults in Hillsborough County. Sterling devotes 100 percent of his practice to marital and family law.

Sterling R. Lovelady

SBCF Attorneys Maintain Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent® Rating

Sessums Black Caballero Ficarrotta attorneys Stephen Sessums, Caroline Black Sikorske, Alexander Caballero, Jennifer Ficarrotta and Andrew D. Reder are rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale Hubbell, the highest peer-rating standard. This rating signifies that a large number of each lawyer’s peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence for legal knowledge, communication skills and ethical standards. This honor is a reflection of an attorney’s skill, experience, integrity, and overall professional excellence. We are extremely proud that these SBCF attorneys have achieved and maintained this prestigious rating. Learn more at martindale.com/ratings-and-reviews.

SBCF Attorneys Maintain Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings

Alex Caballero Serves Third, Two-Year Term on HCBA Board of Directors

We are proud that SBCF Managing Partner Alexander Caballero recently was sworn in for his third, two-year term as a member of the Hillsborough County Bar Association Board of Directors. Congratulations to these newly installed HCBA leaders:  Paige Greenlee of Greenlee Law PLLC is serving as 2020-21 President. Other officers are President-elect Cory Person of Hill Ward Henderson, Immediate Past President Grace Yang of GrayRobinson, P.A., Secretary Scott O. Stigall of the City of Tampa Attorney’s Office and Treasurer Amanda Porupski of Cbiz Mhm LLC. Best wishes to all for an excellent Bar year.

Alex Caballero

SBCF Team Members Celebrate Work Anniversaries

Please join us in congratulating these SBCF team members, who recently had work anniversaries with the firm: Managing Partner Alexander Caballero and scheduling administrative assistant Nelva Aleman celebrated 21 years in June and Partner Jennifer Ficarrotta celebrated nine years in July.

  • Alex is board certified in Marital and Family Law by The Florida Bar and holds Matrimonial Law Arbitrator Certification by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. He is rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale Hubbell, is a fellow of the AAML and is listed in Best Lawyers in America. Recently, he was named to the 2020 lists of Top 100 Florida and Top 50 Tampa Bay Super Lawyers.
  • Nelva started working with us in 1988 and has rejoined the firm several times over the years. She also has served as Executive Director of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers – AAML – Florida Chapter, worked part-time at Shriners Hospitals for Children in Tampa and enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom. Nelva is an integral part of SBCF and we are extremely lucky to have her as part of the team.
  • Jennifer is board certified by The Florida Bar in Marital and Family Law and is rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell. She is an active member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the Tampa Bay Collaborative Divorce Group. She also has been named to the list of Florida Super Lawyers for the eighth consecutive year.

SBCF Work Anniversaries

SBCF Attorneys Included in 2020 Florida Super Lawyers ‘Top’ Lists

Each year, Super Lawyers recognizes the top lawyers in Florida via a patented multiphase selection process involving peer nomination, independent research and peer evaluation. The Florida lawyers who receive the highest point totals during this selection process are further recognized in Florida Super Lawyers Top Lists. We are extremely proud of Caroline Black Sikorske and Alexander Caballero, who are named to the lists of “Top 100: 2020 Florida Super Lawyers,” and “Top 50: 2020 Tampa Bay Super Lawyers.” In addition, Caroline is included on the lists of “Top 50: 2020 Women Florida Super Lawyers” and “Top 10: 2020 Florida Super Lawyers.” Congratulations to all of the attorneys statewide who are named to the Florida Super Lawyers “Top” lists.

2020 Super Lawyers "Top" Lists

Alex Caballero Continues Service on Florida Bar Professional Ethics Committee

We are pleased to announce that SBCF Managing Partner Alexander Caballero has been appointed by Florida Bar President-Elect Dori Foster-Morales to continue serving on The Florida Bar Professional Ethics Committee. The committee is charged with answering ethics inquiries from members of the Bar concerning attorneys’ proposed conduct, and it publishes formal advisory opinions to guide Bar members in interpreting and applying the ethics Congratulations, Alex, and thank you for your volunteer service to The Florida Bar and the statewide legal community.

Alex Caballero Professional Ethics Committee

Alex Caballero Starts Third HCBA Board Term

Congratulations to the Hillsborough County Bar Association and HCBA YLD 2020-21 boards of directors and officers, who were installed virtually on June 4. SBCF Managing Partner Alexander Caballero was sworn in for his third, two-year term as a member of the HCBA Board of Directors. Best wishes to our friends and colleagues who were installed in their leadership positions and thank you for your service to our local legal community.

HCBA June 4 Virtual Swearing In Ceremony

SBCF Attorneys Named to 2020 Florida SuperLawyers Lists

Congratulations to Caroline Black Sikorske, Alexander Caballero and Jennifer Ficarrotta, who have been named to the list of 2020 Florida Super Lawyers in the family law practice area and to Andrew D. Reder, who has been named to the list of Florida Rising Stars in family law.

Every year, Super Lawyers selects attorneys from throughout the United States from all firm sizes and more than 70 practice areas. Super Lawyers uses a patented, multiphase selection process that includes nominations, evaluation of candidates by the research department and peer evaluation by practice area. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. The objective of Super Lawyers is to create a “credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of outstanding attorneys that can be used as a resource for attorneys and consumers searching for legal counsel.”

2020 Florida Super Lawyers Lists

SBCF COVID-19 Statement

For the health and safety of our employees and clients, Sessums Black Caballero Ficarrotta is adhering to the standards set forth in the White House Guidelines for Opening Up America Again.

Opening America Again

Andrew Reder Article Published in Family Law Section Commentator

Congratulations to SBCF attorney Andrew D. Reder on the publication of his article in a recent issue of the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar’s Family Law Commentator. Andrew’s article, “Third Party Considerations in Contempt & Enforcement Proceedings” discusses ways that certain contempt and enforcement proceedings require decisive action against third parties. Read the full article online.

Andrew D. Reder

Jennifer Ficarrotta Facilitates Grading for Marital & Family Law Board Certification Exams

SBCF partner Jennifer Ficarrotta serves as vice-chair of the nine-member Florida Bar Marital & Family Law Board Certification Committee, which reviews credentials for board certification applicants in that practice area, implements its standards, and administers and grades the Marital & Family Law certification exams. The committee has been grading the examinations that applicants took on March 13. Board certification evaluates attorneys’ special knowledge, skills and proficiency in various areas of law and professionalism and ethics in practice. Board-certified lawyers are evaluated for professionalism and tested for expertise. Jennifer earned Florida Bar Marital & Family Law board certification in 2015. Currently, only 273 attorneys are Florida Bar board-certified in Marital & Family Law.

Jennifer A. Ficarrotta

Alex Caballero is AAML Institute Presenter

SBCF Managing Partner Alexander Caballero was among the presenters at the prestigious 42nd Annual AAML Institute hosted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) Florida Chapter. The two-day Institute is a premier continuing legal education opportunity and the presenters are among the top in their fields offering advanced education for family law attorneys. On May 1, Alex presented “A 20/20 Perspective on Alimony and Child Support” with CPA Anthony Phillips.

Alex Caballero

Frank Steinbeck Jr. is TBPA Treasurer, Board Member

Congratulations to SBCF paralegal Frank Steinbeck, Jr., who is serving a four-year term as treasurer and as a board member for the Tampa Bay Paralegal Association, Inc. The TBPA’s mission is to set the standard for excellence for the paralegal profession through its work on regulations, ethics and education. Frank has been a Florida Registered Paralegal through The Florida Bar since 2012. He also is a member of the Knights of Columbus in New Port Richey. Frank joined SBCF in 2012 with more than five years of civil litigation experience. He now devotes 100 percent of his practice to marital and family law.

Frank Steinbeck Jr.

Sterling and Allison Lovelady Finalize Adoption of Their Son

Congratulations to SBCF attorney Sterling Lovelady and his wife, Allison, who are celebrating the adoption of their first child. Sterling and Allison finalized the adoption of their little boy, Zane Cole, on May 6—Zane’s second birthday. Zane has been a part of the Lovelady family since he was a few months old and now it’s official.

Lovelady Family Finalizes Adoption

Caroline Black Sikorske Presents at AAML Institute

SBCF partner Caroline Black Sikorske was a presenter on May 1 at the 42nd Annual AAML Institute hosted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) Florida Chapter. The Institute is a premier continuing legal education opportunity and the presenters are among the top in their fields offering advanced education for family law attorneys. Caroline spoke on “Mediation and the Art of Negotiation: How to Create Options that Lead to Closure” with attorneys Tami Sbar and Ky Koch. Congratulations to the AAML staff, who did a great job of hosting the Institute virtually.

Caroline Black Sikorske

Attorney Sam Branda is Engaged

We’re happy to announce that SBCF attorney Samantha Branda is engaged. Sam’s boyfriend, Jordan Koko, proposed on May 2—which would have been Kentucky Derby Day—and we are very excited for the happy couple.

Sam moved to the Tampa Bay area in January 2020 from her hometown of Naples, where she was practicing law since she was admitted to The Florida Bar in 2012. Sam previously was an associate attorney for the Marshall Law Office and was an Assistant Public Defender for the 20th Judicial Circuit. She earned her J.D. degree from NSU Shepard Broad College of Law and her B.A. degree in creative writing from Florida State University. In Naples, she was active in the Collier County Bar Association and the Collier County Women’s Bar Association and volunteered for Legal Aid. She is a new member of the Hillsborough County Bar Association and plans to be involved locally in more organizations.

Sam Branda Engagement

SBCF Attorneys Maintain Florida Bar Board Certification

We are very proud that SBCF attorneys Caroline Black Sikorske, Alexander Caballero and Jennifer Ficarrotta are among only 273 lawyers statewide who are board-certified by The Florida Bar in marital and family law. All have maintained board certification since earning the designation in their respective years: Caroline (1995), Alex (2004) and Jennifer (2015).

Board certification recognizes attorneys’ special knowledge, skills and proficiency in various areas of law and professionalism and ethics in practice. Certification is The Florida Bar’s highest level of evaluation of the competency and experience of attorneys in the 27 areas of law approved for certification by the Supreme Court of Florida. Learn more about Florida Bar marital and family law board certification.

Florida Bar Board Certification

SBCF Attorneys are Tampa Bay Academy of Collaborative Professionals Members

Several SBCF attorneys are members of the Tampa Bay Academy of Collaborative Professionals, a nonprofit association of independent attorneys, neutral financials and neutral facilitators with a focus on collaborative divorce. Professionals who are selected have training and experience beyond normal professional requirements and must undergo specialized training in the collaborative process. Caroline Black Sikorske, Alex Caballero and Jennifer Ficarrota hold membership in TBACP. Instead of a traditional court-based divorce, collaborative divorce typically takes less time, costs less money and limits the children’s exposure to the stress of divorce.

Tampa Bay Academy of Collaborative Professionals

SBCF Partners Will Present at AAML Institute

SBCF partners Caroline Black Sikorske and Alex Caballero will be presenters at the 42nd Annual AAML Institute hosted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers – AAML – Florida Chapter. The April 30-May 1 Institute is a premier continuing legal education opportunity and the presenters are among the top in their fields offering advanced education for family law attorneys. Caroline will present “Mediation and the Art of Negotiation: How to Create Options that Lead to Closure” with attorneys Tami Sbar and Ky Koch. Alex is presenting “A 20/20 Perspective on Alimony and Child Support” with CPA Anthony Phillips. Congratulations to Caroline and Alex for being selected to participate in this prestigious CLE event.

42nd Annual AAML Institute

Andrew D. Reder Earns Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating

Congratulations to SBCF attorney Andrew D. Reder, who has earned a Martindale-Hubbell® “AV Preeminent®” Peer Review Rating. In its peer-review process, Martindale-Hubbell conducts a thorough review of attorneys who wish to receive a Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating through a secure online survey where a lawyer’s ethical standards and legal ability in a specific area of practice are assessed by his or her peers. AV Preeminent® is the highest Martindale-Hubbell peer-rating standard and is given to attorneys who are ranked at the highest level of professional excellence for their legal expertise, communication skills and ethical standards by their peers. Approximately 10 percent of attorneys have earned the AV Preeminent® rating. Learn more at martindale.com/ratings-and-reviews.

Andrew Reder Earns Martindale=Hubbell AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating

SBCF COVID-19 Statement

Given the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations regarding social distancing during the COVID-19 outbreak, SBCF is taking every precaution to ensure that our office and employees adhere to recommended health and safety guidelines. Starting on Monday, March 23, the firm’s associate attorneys and paralegals will work remotely, and the remainder of the staff will reduce in-office hours whenever possible. Our business hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and calls to the office will be answered during normal work hours. The SBCF team has the capability to continue to represent our clients in an effective manner during this time. Each of us is available by email, and our contact information is online at sbcf-famlaw.com/contact-us. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we focus our efforts on maintaining a safe work environment for our employees, our clients and their families.

SBCF Logo

Samantha Branda Joins SBCF as Associate Attorney

Please join us in welcoming attorney Samantha “Sam” Branda to the SBCF team. Sam moved to the Tampa Bay area in January 2020 from her hometown of Naples, where she has been practicing law since she was admitted to The Florida Bar in 2012. Sam previously was an associate attorney for the Marshall Law Office and was an Assistant Public Defender for the 20th Judicial Circuit. She earned her J.D. degree from NSU Shepard Broad College of Law and her B.A. degree in creative writing from Florida State University. In Naples, she was active in the Collier County Bar Association and the Collier County Women’s Bar Association and volunteered for Legal Aid. She is a new member of the Hillsborough County Bar Association and plans to be involved locally in more organizations. Welcome aboard, Sam!

Samantha Branda

 

Jennifer Ficarrotta is Vice-chair of Marital & Family Law Board Certification Committee

SBCF partner Jennifer Ficarrotta serves as vice-chair of the nine-member Florida Bar Marital & Family Law Board Certification Committee, which reviews credentials for board certification applicants in that practice area, implements its standards, and administers and grades the Marital & Family Law certification exams. Board certification evaluates attorneys’ special knowledge, skills and proficiency in various areas of law and professionalism and ethics in practice. Board-certified lawyers are evaluated for professionalism and tested for expertise. Jennifer earned Florida Bar Marital & Family Law board certification in 2015; SBCF partners Caroline Black Sikorske and Alex Caballero also are board-certified. We are proud of Jennifer’s involvement in this important role for The Florida Bar.

Jennifer Ficarrotta/Vice-Chair of Certification Committee

SBCF Seeks Administrative Assistant for Client Relations

Sessums Black Caballero Ficarrotta is seeking a professional, friendly and outgoing assistant to provide client service via telephone by handling new client telephone screening, performing client intake questionnaire(s) and completing new client paperwork; performing client conflicts checks; scheduling; and entering client information into database. Candidate will be proficient in all Office 365 products, including Outlook, Word, and Excel. Candidate will act as primary back-up to office receptionist and perform other general office duties as directed and delegated by the Firm Administrator. Candidate will possess professional phone etiquette skills and will adhere to the firm’s confidentiality agreement. General office experience required; legal office experience a plus. The ideal candidate will be enthusiastic, cheerful and have a strong drive and work ethic as well as a professional appearance. This is a professional law firm environment where client communication skills are essential to the firm’s practice. Position has the opportunity to become full-time, depending on the skills and performance of the successful candidate. All candidates are subject to pre-employment screening and background check. Local candidates only. Salary commensurate with experience. For consideration, send resume to recruiting@sbcf-famlaw.com.

Now Hiring - Administrative Assistant

Alex Caballero Participates on Judicial Elections Panel

SBCF Managing Partner Alex Caballero recently took part in a panel discussion on judicial elections and appointments with Dr. Susan A. MacManus and attorney Erin Aebel. Alex serves on the Judicial Nomination Commission for the Second District Court of Appeal and is a former Thirteenth Judicial Circuit JNC commissioner and chair. The event was held at Wright’s Gourmet House and was hosted by Coffee with the Candidates. L-R: Stacy Yates, Erin Aebel, Dr. Susan MacManus and Alex Caballero.

Alex Caballero Judicial Panel

Caroline Black Sikorske Named to 2020 List of ‘Lawdragon 500 Leading Family Lawyers’

We are proud to announce that SBCF Partner Caroline Black Sikorske is among the lawyers who have been named to the 2020 list of “Lawdragon 500 Leading Family Lawyers.” The Lawdragon editorial team selected lawyers in its “Family 500” through submissions, journalistic research and editorial vetting from a board of the lawyers’ peers. Congratulations to Caroline on being included among these lawyers of distinction.

Lawdragon 500 Leading Family Lawyers 2020

Andrew Reder Selected to Speak on Ethics in Family Law

SBCF attorney Andrew D. Reder has been selected to speak on Ethics in Family Law: Allegations of Domestic Abuse at the “Florida Family Law & Ethics for Paralegals” seminar on March 31 at the Courtyard by Marriott Tampa Westshore/Airport. His presentation will address the duties of attorneys who represent the accuser or the accused in divorce cases that include domestic violence allegations. The seminar is hosted by HalfMoon Education Inc. and is approved for 7.0 CLE hours (3.0 Ethics) for Florida Registered Paralegals. Information and registration are available at this link.

Andrew gained substantial experience in the courtroom as a successful prosecutor for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit. As a prosecutor in Hillsborough County, Andrew successfully litigated numerous jury trials, non-jury trials, and motions, including prosecuting domestic violence offenses. Prior to that, Andrew was a staff attorney in the Sixth Judicial Circuit (Pinellas County) where he clerked for four circuit court judges. Andrew is a member of the Hillsborough County Bar Association, the Marital and Family Law Sections of The Florida Bar and the HCBA, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, the Tampa Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society and the J. Clifford Cheatwood Inn of Court. Andrew was recently elected by his peers to the Executive Council of the Marital and Family Law Section of the HCBA for the 2019-2022 term.

Andrew Reder to Present on Ethics in Family Law

SBCF is BALS Sustaining Law Firm for 9th Consecutive Year

Did you know? Bay Area Legal Services is dedicated to providing free civil legal services to low-income residents and nonprofits throughout the Tampa Bay area. The organization helps foster children find permanency in stable, loving homes; protects families from domestic violence and child abuse; and helps veterans and seniors fight foreclosure and retain their homes. Every year, BALS attorneys, paralegals and support staff assist thousands of individuals, families and community groups. Support for Bay Area Legal Services promotes access to justice—and SBCF is proud to be a BALS Sustaining Law Firm for the ninth consecutive year. Law firm support helps give BALS the ability to sustain and grow their programs and continue the important work they do in our communities.

Bay Area Legal Services

SBCF Sponsors Clearwater Bar Association Event

SBCF is proud to be a law firm sponsor for the Clearwater Bar Association’s 81st Oyster Roast, a preeminent Bar social event in the Tampa Bay area since 1939. More than 600 attorneys, judges, sponsors and guests attend this great legal-community event. This year’s Oyster Roast will be at Florin Roebig in Palm Harbor on Saturday, March 28, 5 – 9 PM. Registration and details are available at this link. We hope to see you there.

Clearwater Bar Association

Alex Caballero Presents; Attorneys, Paralegals Attend Family Law Review Course

Here are some great photos of SBCF Managing Partner Alex Caballero presenting on “Practice & Procedure” at the 2020 Marital & Family Law Review Course on Friday, Jan. 31. Attorneys Steve Sessums, Caroline Black Sikorske, Jennifer Ficarrotta, Andrew D. Reder and Sterling Lovelady and paralegals Michele Tawzer and Lorri Rowell attended the sold-out event at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando. The review course is one of the largest CLE events in the Southeast and more than 1,700 were in the audience. Congratulations to Alex on being among the faculty members for this prestigious event.

Photo credit: AAML – Florida

Alex Caballero Presents at Family Law Review Course Alex Caballero Presents at Family Law Review Course

SBCF Partners are Members of Tampa Bay Academy of Collaborative Professionals

SBCF partners Caroline Black Sikorske, Alex Caballero and Jennifer Ficarrotta are members of the Tampa Bay Academy of Collaborative Professionals, a group of independent attorneys, neutral financials and neutral facilitators who focus on and commit to collaborative divorce. All professionals accepted to TBACP are selected based on rigorous training and extensive experience beyond normal professional requirements. Attorneys must have been practicing primarily in the area of marital and family law for a minimum of 10 years and all professionals must be individually approved by the TBACP Board of Directors and by a vote of the general membership. In addition to their individual profession’s requirements, all TBACP members must undergo specialized training in the collaborative process and the associated negotiation techniques and must be members in good standing of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. Kudos to our SBCF partners for being members of this respected organization.

TBACP

SBCF Attorneys Attend HCBA Holiday Open House

Sessums Black Caballero Ficarrotta attorneys Alex Caballero, Andrew Reder and Sterling Lovelady attended the Hillsborough County Bar Association Holiday Open House on Dec. 5. Guests were encouraged to bring unwrapped toys to be donated to charity and the event included a silent auction to support the Hillsborough County Bar Foundation and its outreach grants. SBCF Managing Partner Alex Caballero, a Director of the Hillsborough County Bar Association, is pictured here with Judge Catherine Catlin at the event.

Photo from HCBA Holiday Open House

Tami Bradley Joins SBCF as Paralegal

Sessums Black Caballero Ficarrotta is proud to announce that Paralegal Tami Bradley has joined the firm. Tami has been a family law and business litigation paralegal and legal assistant for more than five years. She previously worked as a paralegal for the Law Offices of J. Kevin Carey, P.A. Tami is a Florida Notary Public and licensed realtor. She has worked in residential sales since 2002 and in commercial sales in from 2018 until joining SBCF. She also is a volunteer Guardian Ad Litem in the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit and was named 2018 Guardian Ad Litem of the Year. Please join us in welcoming Tami to the SBCF team.

Paralegal Tami Bradley

Jennifer Hopper Celebrates Two-Year SBCF Work Anniversary

Congratulations to SBCF Administrative Assistant Jennifer Hopper, who last week celebrated her two-year work anniversary with the firm. Jennifer previously worked at ByDesign Technologies in Tampa as a Client Support Specialist. Happy work anniversary, Jennifer!

Jennifer Hopper Work Anniversary

Alex Caballero Appointed to 2nd DCA Judicial Nominating Commission

We are extremely proud to announce that Governor Ron DeSantis has appointed SBCF Managing Partner Alexander Caballero to the Second District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission for a term ending July 1, 2022. Governor DeSantis appointed Alex from a list of nominees submitted by The Florida Bar. Previously, Governor Rick Scott appointed Alex to two consecutive terms on the Thirteenth Circuit Judicial Nomination Committee—August 2012 to March 2017 and March 2017 to July 2020—and to a term as Chair from August 2017 to August 2018. Please join us in congratulating Alex on this significant honor.

Alex Caballero Appointed to 2nd DCA JNC

SBCF Partners Attend AAML National 2019 Annual Meeting

Alexander Caballero and Caroline Black Sikorske attended the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers National 2019 Annual Meeting last week in Chicago. Alex, who is on the national AAML Continuing Legal Education Committee, served as a CLE coordinator on Friday, Nov. 8. He introduced several great custodial-issues presentations by speakers who are among the best of the best in their fields from across the United States. The presentations were:

• “The Intersection of Mental Health and Custodial Issues” by Arnie T. Shienvold, Ph.D., Dawn R. Smith, Esq., and Andrea Plash, Esq.
• “The Intersection of Addiction and Custodial Issues” by Larry J. Braunstein, Esq., Jonathan Gould, Ph.D., and Jim Turnage; and
• “The Intersection of Alienation and Custodial Issues” by the Honorable Emily Miskel, Sol Rappaport, Ph.D., and Donald G. Tye, Esq.

The AAML’s mission is to provide leadership that promotes the highest degree of professionalism and excellence in the practice of family law. Alex and Caroline are AAML Fellows, a select group of 1,650 family lawyers who generally are recognized by judges and attorneys as preeminent family law practitioners with a high level of knowledge, skill and integrity.

AAML 2019 National Photo 1

 

Caroline Black Sikorske Celebrates 30-Year SBCF Anniversary

Please join us in congratulating Shareholder Caroline Black Sikorske, who on Nov. 1 celebrated 30 years with Sessums Black Caballero Ficarrotta. After graduating with her Juris Doctor degree from Stetson University College of Law in 1984, Caroline was an Assistant State Attorney for Hillsborough County before devoting her practice 100 percent to marital and family law in 1989. Caroline is admitted to the prestigious International Academy of Family Lawyers, a worldwide association of practicing attorneys who are recognized by their peers as experienced and skilled family law specialists in their respective countries. She is a diplomate of the American College of Family Trial Lawyers, a select group of 100 top U.S. family lawyers who practice sophisticated and complex family law matters. Caroline was named among the Top 10 2018 Florida Super Lawyers, attorneys who received the highest points during the Super Lawyers nomination, research, and review process. She has been included in The Best Lawyers in America© in family law since 2006. She is Florida Bar Board Certified in Marital and Family Law, is a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and is Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent® Peer-Review rated. Congratulations, Caroline, and best wishes on your work anniversary!

Caroline Black Sikorske 30 Year SBCF Anniversary

SBCF Seeks an Associate Attorney

Sessums Black Caballero Ficarrotta is hiring an associate attorney. Please send resumes to recruiting@sbcf-famlaw.com. All resumes and responses are confidential. The salary is competitive and benefits are commensurate with experience. One or more years of experience. Litigation experience preferred. Candidates must be organized, highly motivated, and have strong academic backgrounds.

SBCF is Hiring

Alex Caballero is Presenter for HCBA Marital and Family Law CLE

Managing Partner Alex Caballero served as a co-presenter with attorney Richard Mockler for  “Advanced Strategies & Procedures for Litigating Claims for Attorneys’ Fees & Costs,”  a two-hour Marital and Family Law CLE hosted by the Hillsborough County Bar Association on October 23 at the Chester H. Ferguson Law Center. SBCF attorney Andrew D. Reder introduced the speakers. Topics include discovery and privilege issues, proving need and ability to pay, Rule 4-1.5 factors, defending against claims for fees and costs, and reserving jurisdiction. The event had an excellent turnout and participants earned 2.5 CLE credits including 2.5 for Ethics. Thank you to HCBA for hosting the CLE and to all who attended.

Alex Caballero and Richard Mockler

Andrew RederPresenter Alex CaballeroHCBA CLE Event

Andrew Reder Volunteers for Read to Dream Initiative

Kudos to SBCF attorney Andrew D. Reder for his recent participation in the John Germany Young Readers “Read to Dream” Initiative by reading to children at Broward Elementary School. He has participated several times in the program, which regularly places caring and engaged volunteers—readers and mentors—in positive group reading sessions with at-risk and underserved children. The Read to Dream initiative coordinates with the Hillsborough County Public School System and Friends of the Library. For more information about contributing to or volunteering, please contact Lorie Tonti, Manager of Learning Experiences, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library at 813-273-3638 or TontiL@hillsboroughcounty.org.

Andrew Reder Read to Dream

Caroline Black Sikorske Admitted to International Academy of Family Lawyers

Congratulations to SBCF Shareholder Caroline Black Sikorske, who recently was admitted to the prestigious International Academy of Family Lawyers, a worldwide association of practicing attorneys who are recognized by their peers as experienced and skilled family law specialists in their respective countries. The organization was formed in 1986 to improve the practice of law and administration of justice in divorce and family law throughout the world. Caroline said, “I have found more and more that my cases have global issues and my connection to international lawyers on these issues has been incredibly interesting and rewarding. The law around the world is so different yet so much alike.”

International Academy of Family Lawyers

Sarah Kay Announces Launch of Kay Family Law PLLC

It is a time of change here at Sessums Black Caballero Ficarrotta, P.A. After being part of the SBCF family for 13 years, Sarah E. Kay, an associate at our firm and an excellent lawyer, has decided to start her own law firm, Kay Family Law PLLC, effective December 21, 2019. Sarah’s last day at SBCF is December 20. We are proud of Sarah’s desire to start her own firm and expand her family law practice to include the matters affecting families of special needs children, including special education law.  We wish her the best.

Attorney Sarah Kay

SBCF Sponsors Special Needs Children and Family Law CLE

Sessums Black Caballero Ficarrotta is proud to have been a sponsor for a very special continuing legal education event last weekend in Tampa. The Florida Bar Family Law Section’s “Special Needs Children and Family Law” CLE focused on educating family lawyers and the judiciary on issues regularly faced by families with “differently-abled” members. Speakers included a special education attorney, an education and family advocate, mental health and medical professionals, a guardianship attorney, Florida Bar board-certified specialists in family law, parents of children with special needs and others experienced in working with families of special needs children. Congratulations to SBCF attorney Sarah Kay, who was one of the three program chairs who facilitated an outstanding event.

Alex Caballero Will Present at Marital and Family Law Review Course

Congratulations to SBCF Managing Partner Alexander Caballero, who has been invited to be a presenter on Practice and Procedure at the 2020 Marital and Family Law Review Course hosted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers  – Florida Chapter and the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar. The continuing legal education event is scheduled for Jan. 31–Feb. 1, 2020, in Orlando. With more than 1,600 attendees, it is one of the largest CLE events in the Southeast. Alex served on The Florida Bar Marital and Family Law Board Certification Committee from 2012 to 2018, which prohibited him from being a review course presenter, and we are proud that he will be speaking for the second time at this preeminent CLE event. Alex is Florida Bar board certified in Marital and Family Law, is a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, is named to the 2019 lists of Top 100 Florida and Top 50 Tampa Bay Super Lawyers and is rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale Hubbell.

Jennifer Ficarrotta Participates in CBA Debate

Sessums Black Caballero Ficarrotta Shareholder Jennifer Ficarrotta recently participated in “The Six: A Great Debate,” a panel discussion among six marital and family lawyers about the pros and cons of collaborative divorce versus litigation. The Clearwater Bar Association’s Collaborative Law and Family Law sections hosted the debate. Jennifer is board certified in Marital and Family Law by The Florida Bar, is Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated and is an active member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the Tampa Bay Collaborative Divorce Group.

Jennifer Ficarrotta - Clearwater Bar Debate

Sarah Kay Attends FLAFCC – OSCA Annual Conference

Last week, SBCF Attorney Sarah Kay attended the 15th Annual Conference of the Florida Chapter – Association of Family & Conciliation Courts and Office of The State Courts Administrator (FLAFCC and OSCA) in Orlando. The conference is the result of ongoing collaboration between family law attorneys, mental health professionals, court administrators, the judiciary, and guardians ad litem to provide educational and networking opportunities for professionals who regularly work with parties within the family court system. The goals are to reduce conflict and promote conciliation. Sarah is board certified by The Florida Bar in Marital and Family Law and is a Certified Family Law Mediator through the Florida Supreme Court.

Sarah Kay at FLAFCC OSCA 2019 Conference

Sterling Lovelady Serves as Attorney Ad Litem

We’d like to give a shout-out to SBCF attorney Sterling Lovelady, who is serving for the second year as an Attorney Ad Litem—a volunteer attorney—for Crossroads For Florida Kids, a nonprofit organization that handles complex legal representation for disadvantaged children and young adults in Hillsborough County. Sterling earned his Bachelors of Science in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Florida State University, where he played as an offensive lineman for FSU Seminoles football. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from Stetson University College of Law. Sterling is an active member of The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division and the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar and devotes 100 percent of his practice to marital and family law.

Sterling Lovelady Guardian Ad Litem

Andrew Reder is Cheatwood Inn of Court Member

We are pleased to announce that attorney Andrew D. Reder has been accepted for membership in the J. Clifford Cheatwood American Inn of Court, a local association of lawyers, judges and other legal professionals from all experience levels and backgrounds who share a passion for professional excellence. American Inns of Court are designed to improve the skills, professionalism and legal ethics of attorneys and members of the judiciary. The Inns help lawyers become more effective and ethical advocates through mentoring in their communities. J. Clifford Cheatwood was a former Chief Judge for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit and is one of the Inn’s founding members.

Andrew D. Reder

Frank Steinbeck Jr. Celebrates SBCF Work Anniversary

Congratulations to SBCF paralegal Frank Steinbeck, Jr., who this month is celebrating seven years with the firm. Frank earned an Associate of Arts degree from Pasco-Hernando State College in 2012 and a Bachelor of Science degree in Legal Studies through South University Tampa P.A. Program, an ABA-Approved Paralegal Education Program, in 2014. He is a Florida Registered Paralegal through The Florida Bar. Frank, we appreciate all that you do for Sessums Black Caballero Ficarrotta and are proud that you are part of the team.

Frank Steinbeck Jr. Work Anniversary

 

Sarah Kay is AFS Intercultural Programs Volunteer

Did you know that SBCF attorney Sarah E. Kay was an exchange student in Ecuador her senior year in high school? That life-changing experience has inspired Sarah to be a long-term volunteer with her international exchange student organization, AFS Intercultural Programs. AFS promotes intercultural understandings and cultivates global citizenship through offering programs in more than 80 countries worldwide. AFS is a largely volunteer-driven organization with more than 4,400 volunteers in the U.S. and more than 50,000 throughout the globe. Since first volunteer roughly 19 years ago, Sarah has held a variety of roles in AFS Massachusetts and Florida. Her favorite, by far, has been serving as a host mother. Thank you, Sarah, for making a difference.

Attorney Sarah E. Kay

Caroline Black Sikorske Included in Best Lawyers in America 2020

Congratulations to Sessums Black Caballero Ficarrotta Shareholder Caroline Black Sikorske, who has been selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2020 in the field of family law, her 14th consecutive year to be included. Caroline is board certified by The Florida Bar in Marital and Family Law, is a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, and is a diplomate of the American College of Family Trial Lawyers, a select group of 100 top U.S. family lawyers who practice sophisticated and complex family law matters. She was named to the list of Top 10 2018 Florida Super Lawyers, attorneys who received the highest points during the Super Lawyers nomination, research and review process. Learn more about Caroline’s family law practice at this link.

Caroline Black Sikorske Best Lawyers 2020

SBCF Supports St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital

Sessums Black Caballero Ficarrotta participated again this year in the Christmas in July office challenge, a month-long, community-wide fundraiser by the St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital Foundation to encourage businesses, civic organizations and individuals to collect toys for the kids of St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. We’re proud to say we were the week-three winner of the#CIJOfficeChallenge and on July 26, partner Jennifer Ficarrotta and paralegal Frank Steinbeck, Jr. delivered 412 toys to the hospital. This year, the Christmas In July office challenge raised a record $130,000 in monetary donations and toys. The need is great. You can help through sponsorships, hosting toy drives or donating directly to St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. Please call the foundation at (813) 872-0979 for more information.

Christmas in July 2019

Sarah Kay, Sterling Lovelady Celebrate Work Anniversaries

Please join us in celebrating work anniversaries for Sessums Black Caballero Ficarrotta attorneys Sarah Kay (13 years) and Sterling Lovelady (two years). Sarah worked in several administrative and support roles at SBCF while earning her law degree. She is now a board-certified attorney in Marital and Family Law by The Florida Bar and is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator. Sterling joined SBCF first as a paralegal while awaiting his bar exam results and is now an attorney who devotes 100 percent of his practice to family law. Happy work anniversaries, Sarah and Sterling!

Kay, Lovelady Work Anniversaries

Jennifer Ficarrotta Honored for Florida Bar Grievance Committee Service

Congratulations and thank you to SBCF attorney Jennifer Ficarrotta, who served on The Florida Bar Grievance Committee 13C from Nov. 1, 2015, through Oct. 31, 2018. She is pictured here with a certificate “in recognition and appreciation of meritorious service to the public and the legal profession in Florida.” Jennifer chaired the committee in 2017-2018. Each of Florida’s 20 judicial circuits has at least one grievance committee. The committees review complaints against lawyers and decide if there is probable cause to believe a lawyer violated Florida Supreme Court professional conduct rules and whether discipline against the lawyer is warranted.

Jennifer Ficarrotta Grievance Committee Service

Alex Caballero Attends HCBA Board Retreat

The Hillsborough County Bar Association 2019-20 Board Officers & Directors Retreat took place July 26 and 27 in Sarasota. SBCF Managing Partner Alex Caballero and other directors are pictured here with HCBA Immediate Past President John Schifino. The HCBA is one of the largest voluntary bar associations in Florida with a membership close to 4,000 attorneys, judges and legal professionals.

Alex Caballero/HCBA Board Retreat

Jennifer Ficarrotta Celebrates Eight Years With the Firm

Congratulations to SBCF partner Jennifer Ficarrotta, who on July 20 celebrated her eighth anniversary of working with the firm. Jennifer is board certified by The Florida Bar in Marital and Family Law and is rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell. She is an accomplished litigator who also is trained in Interdisciplinary Collaborative Law and is an active member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the Tampa Bay Collaborative Divorce Group. She has been named to the list of Florida Super Lawyers for the seventh consecutive year and devotes 100 percent of her practice to marital and family law. We are honored to have Jennifer as part of the SBCF team!

Jennifer Ficarrotta Work Anniversary

Caroline Black Sikorske Serves as Athena Society Member

Kudos to SBCF shareholder Caroline Black Sikorske for being part of the Athena Society of Tampa, an organization of Tampa professionals who have demonstrated leadership in the community and committed themselves to promoting equality and opportunity for women. The society promotes equality through the removal of artificial boundaries to success and by fostering leadership through collaboration and education. Learn more at www.athena-society.com.

Caroline Black Sikorske Athena Society

Alex Caballero Serves on Florida Bar Professional Ethics Committee

Congratulations to SBCF Managing Partner Alex Caballero, who is serving a three-year term on The Florida Bar Professional Ethics Committee. The committee is charged with answering ethics inquiries from members of the Bar concerning attorneys’ proposed conduct, and it publishes formal advisory opinions to guide Bar members in interpreting and applying the ethics rules. Thank you, Alex, for your volunteer service to the legal community.

Alex Caballero Professional Ethics Committee

Sarah Kay Honored With Family Law Section Award

The SBCF team is extremely proud of attorney Sarah E. Kay, who has been honored for the third time by the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar with its Above and Beyond Award. The inscription reads, “For exceeding all expectations with your tireless dedication and hard work to benefit the Family Law Section.” Sarah has been a Family Law Section member since 2010 and an Executive Council member since 2015. She has served in leadership roles and as a member of numerous Family Law Section committees including Continuing Legal Education, Certification Review Course, Finance, Family Law Rules and Forms, and Technology. Congratulations, Sarah, and thank you for your hard work and dedication!

Sarah Kay Above and Beyond Award

Jennifer Ficarrotta Serves as Certification Committee Vice-Chair

We are proud to announce that SBCF partner Jennifer A. Ficarrotta has been appointed to a three-year term as Vice-Chair of The Florida Bar Marital & Family Law Board Certification Committee. The nine-member committee reviews credentials for Marital & Family Law certification applicants, implements the area’s standards, and administers and grades certification examinations. Board certification evaluates attorneys’ special knowledge, skills and proficiency in various areas of law and professionalism and ethics in practice. Board certified lawyers are evaluated for professionalism and tested for expertise. Jennifer earned Florida Bar Marital & Family Law board certification in 2015.

Jennifer Ficarrotta Certification Committee Vice Chair

Alex Caballero is SBCF Managing Partner

Congratulations and best wishes to Sessums Black Caballero Ficarrotta Shareholder Alex Caballero, who on July 1 succeeded Caroline Black Sikorske as Managing Partner of the firm. Alex is a former lead trial attorney for the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office. He is board certified in Marital and Family Law by The Florida Bar, is a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, is listed in The Best Lawyers in America, is named to the 2019 lists of Top 100 Florida and Top 50 Tampa Bay Super Lawyers, and is rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale Hubbell. Caroline remains with the firm as a Shareholder and is pleased to pass the Managing Partner title on to Alex.

Alex Caballero

Sarah Kay Co-Chairs Trial Advocacy Workshop

Kudos to Sessums Black Caballero Ficarrotta attorney Sarah E. Kay, who is serving as Co-Chair of the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar’s 2019 Trial Advocacy Workshop. The July 25 – 28 continuing legal education seminar allows family law attorneys to hone their trial skills as they prepare and present a case. Sarah is a member of the Family Law Section’s Executive Council. She is board certified by The Florida Bar in Marital and Family Law and is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator.

Sarah Kay Co-Chairs Trial Advocacy Workshop

Andrew Reder Celebrates Four-Year SBCF Work Anniversary

Please join us in congratulating Sessums Black Caballero Ficarrotta attorney Andrew D. Reder on his four-year work anniversary with the firm. Before he joined us in 2015, Andrew worked with the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office where he tried numerous jury and non-jury trials and prosecuted domestic violence-related offenses. Prior to that, Andrew served as a Sixth Judicial Circuit staff attorney in and for Pasco County. He is a Stetson University College of Law alumnus.

Andrew Reder Work Anniversary

Nelva Aleman Celebrates 20-Year SBCF Work Anniversary

We are pleased to announce that today is the 20-year work anniversary for SBCF scheduling administrative assistant Nelva Aleman. Nelva started working with us in 1988 and has rejoined the firm several times over the years. She also has served as Executive Director of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers – AAML – Florida Chapter, worked part-time at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Tampa and enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom. Nelva is an integral part of Sessums Black Caballero Ficarrotta and we are extremely lucky to have her as part of the team. Congratulations, Nelva, and thank you for all that you do for the firm.

Nelva Aleman Work Anniversary

Jennifer Ficarrotta Named to Florida Super Lawyers List for 7th Consecutive Year

Please join us in congratulating Sessums Black Caballero Ficarrotta partner Jennifer Ficarrotta, who has been named to the list of Florida Super Lawyers for the seventh consecutive year. Super Lawyers uses a patented, multiphase selection process that includes nominations, evaluation of candidates by the research department and peer evaluation by practice area. Jennifer is board certified in Marital and Family Law by The Florida Bar and is rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale Hubbell. She devotes 100 percent of her practice to Family Law.

Jennifer Ficarrotta Super Lawyers 2019

Alex Caballero Sworn In to HCBA Board of Directors

We are very proud of Sessums Black Caballero Ficarrotta partner Alex Caballero, who recently was sworn in for another term on the Hillsborough County Bar Association board of directors. Congratulations to incoming HCBA President Grace Yang and YLD President Jeff Wilcox and to all of the newly installed 2019-2020 HCBA and YLD officers and directors. Thank you for your volunteer service to the Tampa legal community.

Alex Caballero HCBA Board of Directors

Caroline Black Sikorske Attends Annual AAML Florida Retreat

Sessums Black Caballero Ficarrotta managing partner Caroline Black Sikorske and her husband, Jeff Sikorske, attended the June 6 – 9 Annual Retreat of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Florida Chapter. Florida family law attorneys and their families gathered at the Casa Marina Hotel in Key West and enjoyed water sports, boating, sightseeing and a Keys-style dinner on the beach. Attorneys who attended the retreat also participated in a continuing legal education seminar.

AAML Florida Retreat 1AAML Retreat 2AAML Retreat 3

Alex Caballero Celebrates 20-Year SBCF Work Anniversary

Please join us in congratulating Sessums Black Caballero Ficarrotta Partner Alex Caballero, who on June 7, 2019, celebrated his 20-year work anniversary with the firm. After earning a Juris Doctor degree with high honors from Florida State University College of Law, Alex joined the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office where he became a Lead Trial Attorney. During his five-year tenure as an Assistant State Attorney, Alex tried numerous jury trials, including prosecuting in the Felony Domestic Violence Specialty Division. When he joined SBCF in 1999, he began devoting his practice 100% to marital and family law. Alex is board certified in Marital and Family Law by The Florida Bar and holds Matrimonial Law Arbitrator Certification by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. He is rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale Hubbell, is a fellow of the AAML and is listed in Best Lawyers in America. Recently, he was named to the 2019 lists of Top 100 Florida and Top 50 Tampa Bay Super Lawyers.

Alex Caballero 20-Year Work Anniversary

SBCF Attorneys Named to List of 2019 Florida Super Lawyers

Congratulations to Alexander Caballero, Jennifer Ficarrotta and Caroline Black Sikorske, who have been named to the list of 2019 Florida Super Lawyers in the family law practice area and to Sarah Kay, who has been named for the seventh consecutive year to the list of Florida Rising Stars in family law.

Every year Super Lawyers selects attorneys from throughout the United States from all firm sizes and more than 70 practice areas. Super Lawyers uses a patented, multiphase selection process that includes nominations, evaluation of candidates by the research department and peer evaluation by practice area. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. The objective of Super Lawyers is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

2019 Florida Super Lawyers Lists

Andrew Reder Elected to HCBA Marital & Family Law Section Executive Council

Congratulations to Sessums Black Caballero Ficarrotta attorney Andrew D. Reder, who recently was elected to be a member of the Hillsborough County Bar Association’s 2019-20 Marital and Family Law Section Executive Council. We also would like to give a big shout-out to the other members who were elected to the council: Paul Maney, Kristi McCart, Jennifer Meister, Ellie Probasco, Angelica DelosReyes Roselló and Debbie Thomson. Thank you for your involvement in the section and for your volunteer service on behalf of HCBA.

Andrew D. Reder

Alex Caballero Serves on AAML National Test Committee

Sessums Black Caballero Ficarrotta Partner Alexander Caballero recently was in Philadelphia with members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers National Test Committee to review, update and finalize the exam for applicants applying to be Fellows of the AAML. The AAML’s mission is to provide leadership that promotes the highest degree of professionalism and excellence in the practice of family law. Comprised of the top 1,600 matrimonial attorneys in the United States, AAML Fellows are recognized by judges and attorneys as preeminent family law practitioners, possessing a high level of knowledge, skill, and integrity and earning reputations for professionalism, competence and integrity.

AAML National Test Committee

Members of the AAML National Test Commmittee

Alex Caballero and Charles Meyer of Philadelphia

Sarah Kay Honored by HAWL for Pro Bono Service

Congratulations to Sessums Black Caballero Ficarrotta attorney Sarah E. Kay, who was awarded the Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers 2019 Pro Bono Award on May 15 during HAWL’s Annual Scholarship and Awards Luncheon. Sarah is the Immediate Past President of HAWL. We also would like to congratulate the other HAWL members who were honored during the event. Thank you all for making a difference in the Tampa Bay community!

Sarah is pictured here with HAWL Past President Katherine Yanes and with SBCF attorney Andrew Reder.

Sarah Kay Receives HAWL Pro Bono Award Sarah Kay and Andrew Reder Sarah Kay 2019 HAWL Pro Bono Award

Frank Steinbeck Jr. Named to TBPA Board of Directors

Congratulations to Sessums Black Caballero Ficarrotta paralegal Frank Steinbeck Jr. on being named to the Tampa Bay Paralegal Association Board of Directors, and for serving as the Chairman of the Association’s Charity/Community Service Committee. Frank has been working with the firm for more than six years. He is a Florida Registered Paralegal through The Florida Bar.

Frank Steinbeck Jr.

SBCF Supports HCBA Foundation Law & Liberty Dinner

Sessums Black Caballero Ficarrotta is proud to have been a sponsor for the Hillsborough County Bar Association Foundation‘s May 2 Law & Liberty Dinner. Proceeds from this annual event have helped the foundation provide local legal-related charities with more than $825,000 in support and grants. SBCF managing partner Caroline Black Sikorske is a member of the foundation board. This year’s dinner featured Emmy Award-winning actor, author, director and producer Henry Winkler. Pictured here are SBCF attorney Sarah Kay; attorney Sterling Lovelady and his wife, Allison Rose Lovelady; and firm administrator Paul Kanjorski and his wife, Shannon. Congratulations to Hillsborough County Bar Association and the foundation on another successful dinner!

Sarah KaySterling and Allison Lovelady Paul and Shannon Kanjorski

SBCF Supports St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital Foundation Heroes Ball

The annual St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital Foundation Heroes Ball raised more than $600,000, and Sessums Black Caballero Ficarrotta is proud to have been a sponsor of the event and the Patron Party recognizing the most generous donors. This year, the Foundation honored community hero Dr. Kiran Patel, a distinguished cardiologist and philanthropist. Funds raised this year allow St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital to be one of two hospitals in the United States to use real-time, virtual reality software for mapping and performing the most complicated pediatric cardiac surgeries. The Foundation is already hard at work planning the Annual Fashion Show and the 2020 Heroes Ball. A special thank you to SBCF Shareholder Jennifer Ficarrotta for her term on the committee, fundraising, and co-chairing the Patron Party. As you can see, the Ball was a great success, but Jennifer had to say good-bye to the Labradoodle puppy who assisted in raising donations during the live auction game of donor wars. 

2019 Heroes Ball2019 Heroes Ball2019 Heroes Ball

Caroline Black Sikorske Attends ACFTL Annual Conference

Sessums Black Caballero Ficarrotta Managing Partner Caroline Black Sikorske attended the annual conference of the American College of Family Trial Lawyers, held in Charleston, S.C. last weekend. Caroline is a diplomate of the ACFTL—a select group of 100 top U.S. family lawyers who practice sophisticated and complex family law matters.

ACFTL