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

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