Adedication to the provision of legal services to the poor has been a hallmark of the career of Anthony C. Musto of Hallandale Beach, Florida, the recipient of the 2022 Jean Crowe Pro Bono Award.
“I’m thrilled by this honor,” said Musto. “It is special to me because it relates to a passion of mine and to something that is so important to our profession.”
Working with the Florida Statewide Guardian ad Litem Program, Musto has spent many hundreds of hours representing the best interests of children in termination of parental rights cases.
In addition, he has established statewide pro bono programs providing counsel to young people aging out of foster care and to human trafficking victims seeking sealing or expunction of criminal records for crimes committed while under the influence of traffickers.
Musto served for years as director of pro bono services at St. Thomas University School of Law, overseeing a program providing over 10,000 hours of student service annually.
He is a Past-President of the Board of Directors of Florida Legal Services, Inc., and former Director of The Florida Bar Foundation.
Musto oversaw the Broward County Attorney’s Office’s groundbreaking and innovative pro bono program, which was cited in a specially concurring opinion when the Florida Supreme Court adopted aspirational goals for pro bono service by Florida lawyers. The office was the first governmental agency to receive the ABA Pro Bono Publico Award and the first to receive the Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice’s Law Firm Commendation.
He coauthored an article providing a blueprint for other agencies to establish pro bono programs and authored a chapter on pro bono and public service in a book published by the ABA.
As a City Commissioner in Hallandale Beach, he was responsible for the approval of a policy allowing that city’s attorneys to handle pro bono matters.
In the past year, Musto has urged the Florida Supreme Court to adopt rule and policy changes to benefit the poor in their legal struggles. He represented the Florida Civil Legal Aid Association in a proceeding to determine the procedures for online proceedings and filings in the post-COVID era. He also represented The Florida Bar Public Interest Law Section in a case that determined how IOLTA funding will be utilized by The Florida Bar Foundation for the provision of legal services to the poor.
In presenting him with the 2021 Tobias Simon Pro Bono Service Award, the Florida Supreme Court’s highest pro bono award, Chief Justice Charles Canady said, “Anthony Musto’s dedication to pro bono work spans many years and extends beyond Florida to the United States. He continues to give back in every way possible.” The chief justice was quite correct.