Amanda Arnold Sansone was a finalist for the 2010 National Outstanding Young Lawyer Award. She is a former president of the Hillsborough County Bar Association’s Young Lawyers’ Division (HCBA YLD). She received her Bachelor of Arts from Amherst College in Massachusetts and her Juris Doctor from the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law. Amanda clerked for the Honorable Susan C. Bucklew, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida (2002–2004), and for the Honorable Charles R. Wilson, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (2004–2005). In 2005, she joined Carlton Fields, PA, in Tampa, Florida. Amanda’s practice is focused on commercial litigation.
Amanda initially became involved in the HCBA YLD because she was used to working in smaller environments as a law clerk and was seeking to become more involved in the Hillsborough County legal community. The HCBA YLD is for attorneys age 36 and under or with less than five years of practice experience. She began by volunteering for HCBA YLD committees and attending their events. In 2003, she ran unsuccessfully for an open Board seat; however, because of her active involvement in the HCBA YLD, she was appointed to an open seat on the Board by then President Lara Tibbals. The following year, Amanda ran again and won an elected position on the Board, where she remained until 2007 when she was elected President-Elect.
From 2008 to 2009, Amanda served the HCBA YLD as its President. Amanda says that because the HCBA has a high level of participation overall and the legal community in Hillsborough County is tight knit, she was fortunate to enjoy a high level of participation in YLD events during her tenure. Amanda focused her administration on expanding young lawyers’ awareness of pro bono opportunities and expanding the reach of the HCBA YLD itself. Under her leadership, the HCBA opened each of its quarterly luncheons with a speaker providing information on a local pro bono organization that needed assistance. Pamphlets from other pro bono organizations that needed assistance were provided at each luncheon, and one luncheon was dedicated entirely to the discussion of pro bono organizations and how young lawyers could help.
Amanda also started a “Breakfast at the Courthouse” event that has now become an annual tradition. The continental breakfast offered an opportunity for networking and fellowship among both young attorneys and judges. The YLD also has had (and continues to have) several signature events and projects tied to area youth. In furtherance of the HCBA YLD’s commitment to area youth, Amanda focused efforts during her tenure on training young attorneys to serve as attorneys at litem for youth in the juvenile division of the criminal justice system to stand in as temporary guardians for absent parents. Amanda herself continues to be a volunteer in the program.
Recognizing that lawyers in larger firms sometimes fare better in terms of networking and mentorship opportunities, the HCBA YLD made a concerted effort under Amanda’s leadership to provide more support for solo practitioners and others without big firm support, including government attorneys. These efforts included being very flexible in permitting nonmembers to attend events (especially happy hours), so that the cost would not be prohibitive for young lawyers interested in participating.
Amanda is married to William (Bill) Sansone and they have a three-year-old son named Charlie. She is expecting a girl (Adelaide) in May. Before having children, Amanda was an avid scuba diver and hopes to return to it one day. In her copious free time, Amanda is an active member of the Athena Society, a professional organization for women in Tampa, and is participating in the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Tampa program. Amanda also serves on one of the Florida Bar’s Grievance Committees. As a member of the Grievance Committee, Amanda helps to investigate complaints against attorneys and determine whether there is probable cause for the Florida Bar to prosecute. She is also actively involved with her firm’s summer associate program and serves as a mentor to younger lawyers within the firm. In 2010, she won the William Reece Smith Pro Bono Award, an annual award presented by her law firm to recognize outstanding pro bono service. Amanda has also been recognized repeatedly by Florida Super Lawyers as a “Rising Star” and by Florida Trend as a Legal Elite “Up and Comer.”
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About the ABA YLD National Outstanding Young Lawyer Award
Each year the Division recognizes ABA young lawyers that exhibit professional excellence; service to the profession and the bar; service to the community; and/or a reputation for or the advancement of legal ethics and professional responsibility. The nomination deadline is August 31 of each year. For more information visit www.americanbar.org/groups/young_lawyers/awards_scholarships.html.