The Appellate Practice Section is proud to bestow its highest honor, the James C. Adkins Award, to Anthony C. Musto. Professor of Law at St. Thomas University, Tony Musto is, and has always been, a champion and leader of our Section. Normally, the term “always” is a hyperbole — no one has been a leader of a Section from the very beginning to the present. No one except for Professor Musto. Tony was a champion for the Appellate Practice Section before it existed, as he was an original proponent for its formation and one of three appellate practitioners who argued decades ago to The Florida Bar Board of Governors to approve the addition of this Section as a full Section of The Florida Bar. His argument — as usual — was persuasive: The Florida Bar approved the motion, and Tony became the Chair-Elect of the very first APS Board. Following his year as Chair, Tony remained very active in the Section, serving on the Board as Past Chair every single year since. Let’s repeat that: Tony Musto has been an active, voting member of the APS Board every single year since its formation. Every. Single. Year.
Tony’s work for the Section, the Bar, and appellate practice extends far beyond his service to the Board. A long-standing professor of Evidence, Tony has ensured that the youngest of our members have opportunities to collaborate with our Bar often before their careers even begin. Tony has pursued professionalism and excellence at every turn of his career, and has argued writs that most appellate practitioners can only dream of. Perhaps nothing speaks as highly of his character and influence as his continuing efforts for troubled youth throughout Florida. His work in juvenile law lead him to Chair the Juvenile Law Section (the Amazing Mr. Musto has chaired four different Sections of the Bar — and two Rule Committees!) For our Section, Tony saw the intersection of appellate practice and Pro Bono as a great opportunity and served as the first APS Pro Bono Chair.
A visionary. A leader. A consummate professional. And, always, our friend. The Appellate Practice Section is honored to bestow the Adkins Award to Professor Musto, and thanks him for his long and ongoing service to our Section and our Bar.
The John R. Hamilton Pro Bono Award
It is with great pleasure that the Appellate Practice Section of The Florida Bar presents this year’s John R. Hamilton Pro Bono Award to Stephen R. Senn. Board certified in appellate practice by The Florida Bar since 2000, Mr. Senn maintains a thriving practice in state and federal courts as well as administrative venues. He has a depth of experience in matters ranging from commercial to employment to class action and constitutional claims. He brings that wealth of knowledge to his pro bono work — an aspect of his practice that has endured throughout his entire career. In that work, Mr. Senn has represented countless clients who could not afford legal assistance, helping them navigate the appellate process to fight for their homes, their families, and their livelihoods.
In addition to his own commitment to pro bono service, Mr. Senn encourages others to share his dedication to justice through inspiring and effective leadership. He is a Past President of the Board of Directors of Florida Rural Legal Services and the Florida Equal Justice Center, and he has served on the Board of Directors of The Florida Bar Foundation since 2012, with his most recent role as First Vice President of the Foundation. Last year, he received the Foundation President’s Award for Excellence, and in 2006, 2011, and 2018, he received The Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award.
It is the Section’s great honor to recognize this true warrior for justice, Stephen R. Senn, with this year’s John R. Hamilton Pro Bono Award.