Welcome to the Association of Retired Attorneys of Sarasota (ARAS). Founded in 1983, our association promotes the advancement of the administration of justice in Sarasota County. To this end, many of our members participate in various pro bono projects in addition to our monthly membership meetings which host prominent speakers on current legal and other challenging topics.


ARAS currently supports 10 pro bono projects, each led by an ARAS member as follows:


1.         LAW DAY IN THE SCHOOLS:  Every year, usually in early May, our members join with members of the Sarasota bar to attend programs in local grade schools to observe and critique trial presentations by students who present and try a prescribed set of facts. The teachers and students are usually very well prepared and anxious to perform for the active and retired attorneys who observe and comment at the trial’s conclusion.  Lead – HAROLD ZABIN


2.         GUARDIAN AD LITEM VOLUNTEER:  Several of our members participate in the 12th Circuit Guardian Ad Litem program.  Volunteers are trained and after a background check are assigned to a child or children by the court.  Generally the children have been removed from their home due to adverse circumstances.  State social workers develop a corrective plan for the parents. The GAL monitors the children to assure their safety and that their needs are being met and they have an opportunity for normalcy.  Our participating members have found this to be very rewarding.  Lead – JIM CASE


3.         LEGAL AID EMERITUS ATTORNEYS:  Several of our members have worked extensively and very successfully as an emeritus attorney aiding low income people seeking legal assistance. David Morrill had been particularly active in resisting mortgage foreclosure efforts.  Additional emeritus attorneys are needed and thanks to David’s efforts that status is available to qualified retired attorneys. Lead – LESLIE CURLEY


4.         MEDIATION:  The Twelfth Judicial Circuit of Florida conducts a Citizen Dispute Settlement Program which attempts to resolve both disputes and filed court cases through mediation.  Volunteer mediators are trained and certified through the State Judicial District to provide a neutral and impartial mediator at no cost to work with both sides or parties to facilitate a mutually acceptable agreement.  ARAS is working with the Mediation Service Coordinator of the District to provide interested participants to the program and assist in their training and coordination of cases.  Lead - MONICA CUNNINGHAM


5.         BOOKER HIGH SCHOOL LAW ACADEMY:  The Association has worked at the Booker Law Academy since the inception of the Academy. One of the many functions performed there brings members of our Association to the school to enrich the program by speaking to the students about their experiences, clients and interesting cases. The speakers are always well received and often asked back to speak the following year. As a result of these talks, the horizons of the students are expanded. Lead- STEVE STURM


6.         BOOKER HIGH SCHOOL LAW ACADEMY:  Remember Prosser on Torts when you were in law school?  Our members teach substantive, first year law classes to the sophomores including intentional torts, negligence, contracts, family law, discrimination laws, Good Samaritan laws, agency etc. Cases are discussed, outlined, summarized, analyzed and debated. Logics problems are also analyzed and discussed. Lead- STEVE STURM


7.         BOOKER HIGH SCHOOL LAW ACADEMY:  Our members mentor those members of the Academy who seek such assistance. There is no set curriculum and the one-on-one discussions during the students’ lunch period can vary from personal problems to school issues, class questions or just playing games. The student determines the direction of each meeting and gains both information and friendship.  Lead - Ivan Rubin


8.         BOOKER HIGH SCHOOL LAW ACADEMY:  Three years ago the Law Academy began its Tornado Trials program which is a diversionary process in which our students act as prosecuting and defense attorneys as well as court clerks, bailiffs and jurors to try the sentencing phase of students who have admitted to a range of violations of school rules. It is enlightening to watch from week to week as the student participants learn and gain confidence. Leads – STEVE STURM, JIM CASE


9.         BOOKER HIGH SCHOOL LAW ACADEMY: In order to attract the most brilliant students to the law program, the teacher in charge visits many middle schools in the area to seek participants who have the ability and motivation to succeed. To assist the teacher in this goal, our members partner with the teacher and visit the schools, explaining to the prospective law students what it means to practice law. Lead- IVAN RUBIN


10.       BOOKER HIGH SCHOOL LAW ACADEMY: In addition to the Tornado Trials, students within the law academy are offered the opportunity to engage in intramural mock trials. While this program is run by a practicing Sarasota attorney, our members are available to assist in teaching, explaining and directing the students seeking to hone their legal skills. Lead – LESLIE CURLEY

If you are interested in working with any of these projects please contact the listed project leader or Stephen Sturm, ARAS President. As an ARAS volunteer you will benefit the community with your experience and expertise. And in return you will know the reward and satisfaction that derives from community service.