• Special to The Professional

Kathleen Smith Honored with 2022 Champion of Professionalism Award

On September 8, 2022, The Honorable Kathleen A. Smith, Public Defender for the 20th Judicial Circuit, was awarded the “2022 Champion of Professionalism” award hosted and presented by Ms. Ita M. Neymotin, Regional Counsel, Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel, Second District Court of Appeal. In 2019, Ms. Neymotin created this award to recognize an individual who has shown exemplary professionalism and ethical qualities in their work environment and in their interactions with the other members of the legal profession, as well as community partners. In attendance were distinguished speakers and guests including elected officials.

Pictured left to right: Kathleen Fitzgeorge, Chief Assistant Public Defender, Twentieth Judicial Circuit; Ita M. Neymotin, Regional Counsel for the Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel, Second District Court of Appeal; The Honorable Kathleen A. Smith, Public Defender, Twentieth Judicial Circuit; The Honorable Howard 'Rex' Dimmig, Public Defender, Tenth Judicial Circuit; and The Honorable Julianne M. Holt, Public Defender, Thirteenth Judicial Circuit

During the award ceremony the speakers had wonderful things to say about The Honorable Kathleen A. Smith. Ita M. Neymotin introduced the Honorable Kathleen A. Smith as the recipient of the “2022 Champion of Professionalism” award. Ms. Neymotin went on to outline Ms. Smith’s distinguished qualifications over the years such as her work with indigent clients living with mental illness.

Ms. Neymotin congratulated the Honorable Kathleen Smith on being the “2022 Champion of Professionalism” award recipient. The Honorable Howard 'Rex' Dimmig, Public Defender, Tenth Judicial Circuit, stated that Ms. Smith is a true professional and is very dedicated to serving the public, especially the people who cannot speak for themselves. Mr. Dimmig discussed how professionalism is worth fighting for and how Ms. Smith continues to be an example of the fight for professionalism. Mr. Dimmig stated he cannot think of anyone else who is more deserving of this award.

The Honorable Julianne M. Holt, Public Defender, Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, second recipient of the “Champion of Professionalism” award in 2020, stated that Ms. Kathleen Smith has been an integral part of the professionalism process and that the reputation of an agency starts with professionalism. Ms. Holt offered her congratulations to the Honorable Kathleen A. Smith on receiving the “2022 Champion of Professionalism” award.

Ms. Kathleen Fitzgeorge, Chief Assistant Public Defender, Twentieth Judicial Circuit, said it was an honor to be present and to be able to share in the Honorable Kathleen Smith's receiving the award for “Champion of Professionalism”. Ms. Fitzgeorge mentioned that the way Ms. Smith conducts her work is inspirational. Ms. Smith is a true leader and is compassionate about the law and serving others. It was and is a true pleasure to work with the Honorable Kathleen Smith.

The Honorable Kathleen A. Smith, Public Defender, Twentieth Judicial Circuit, was taken by surprise stating she didn't expect this. Ms. Smith was very humbled by this award and thanked Ms. lta M. Neymotin for bestowing this honor upon her. Ms. Smith went on to say that Ms. Neymotin has been a great partner and innovator in professionalism and the judicial system. Honorable Kathleen A. Smith thanked everyone in attendance and expressed how much she loves her job and treasures the friendships and memories that she has made. Further she stated that she will continue to work hard.

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