PBCBA BAR BULLETINS pbcba_bulletin_january 2019 - Page 10

CDI C o r n e r Honoring Judge Nancy Perez (tribute continued from Cover Story) DENISE MUTAMBA with her no-nonsense courtroom management style. If you have practiced in front of Judge Perez, you know that she is a “straight shooter” who runs her courtroom efficiently and without tolerance for disrespect or disorganization. Although it is well known that when she was appointed by Governor Lawton Chiles, Judge Perez was the first Hispanic American judge in Palm Beach County and she served as an Assistant Public Defender for Palm Beach County immediately prior to her appointment to the bench, it is not well known that before serving as an Assistant Public Defender, Judge Perez championed the rights of migrant workers with the Migrant Farmworkers Division of Georgia Legal Services and as the Associate Director of the Association of Migrant Associations. Judge Perez’s passion to serve the migrant worker population is rooted in her first- hand knowledge and experience. Judge Perez was one of eleven children of Puerto Rican migrant farm workers. As a child, Judge Perez was put to work, picking tomatoes to help the family. Judge Perez’s father wanted more for his children and relocated the family to Ft. Myers where they enrolled in school. Judge Perez excelled in school and received scholarships to Edison Community College and Florida State University. In 1983, Judge Perez was admitted to the Florida Bar. In addition to her passion to serve the migrant worker population, she has always encouraged young lawyers to be the best versions of themselves. Veronika Warren, a partner with Wender & Warren, P.A., recalls how Judge Perez has impacted her legal career. Veronika’s path to obtain her Juris Doctor and to pass the Florida Bar exam was littered with roadblocks. After passing the bar in 2013, Veronika wanted to have her oath administered personally by a jurist she admired. She researched Judge Perez and determined she was perfect. Since that time, Veronika has argued before Judge Perez. She fondly recounts that after hearings, Judge Perez would willingly spend time with her to provide words of encouragement and constructive criticism. When asked why she admires Judge Perez, Veronika responded, “She never lost her humbleness and her connection to people. Everything she told me was because she wanted me to believe in myself. She saw that I needed a push and she took the time to do it. I love her dearly and I have immense respect for her. I don’t think she knows how grateful I am because I never told her.” As Judge Perez makes her exit, Palm Beach County will lose its First Hispanic American judge to serve our county. Former Magistrate Judge Sara Alijewicz has been elected to fill her seat. Although Ms. Alijewicz has an impressive resume and will be a great judge, Palm Beach County will miss Judge Perez and the manner in which she ran her courtroom. Judge Perez, thank you for twenty-seven years of service! Denise Mutamba is a Staff Attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, Inc., where she fights housing discrimination. She also represents the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit on the Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors. CLE Seminars Maximizing Fees through Cutting Edge Areas of Law January 25, PBCBA ******************* Wire Fraud January 30, PBCBA ******************* Save the Date CDI Luncheon Friday, April 5 Details To Follow PBCBA BAR BULLETIN 10 Emerging Trends in ADR and ODR February 11, PBCBA