“Equal justice under law is not merely a caption on the facade of the Supreme Court building, it is perhaps the most inspiring ideal of our society. It is one of the ends for which our entire legal system exists . . . it is fundamental that justice should be the same, in substance and availability, without regard to economic status.” ~ Lewis Powell, Jr.
Michele S. Stephan, Esquire is the founder of LEGAL ON YOUR OWN, P.A. Ms. Stephan a Florida Bar Licensed Attorney and a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Court Mediator.
Michele S. Stephan graduated from the University of South Florida, College of Humanities, in 1989. She graduated from Stetson University College of Law in 1996 and was admitted to the Florida Bar the same year. While attending Stetson University College of Law, Ms. Stephan was granted a Public Service Fellowship by the Florida Bar Foundation, developed a program to provide legal services to persons of modest means and volunteered time at pro-bono legal clinics. Ms. Stephan was awarded the Public Service Award in 1996.
Over the past 20 years, Ms. Stephan has successfully litigated matters involving personal injury, violation of nursing home/ALF resident’s rights, defective products, defective medical devices, Federal civil rights violations, international child abduction under the Hague Convention and international matters involving civil theft and fraud. She is admitted to practice in all of the Florida State Courts. In addition to her trial experience, Ms. Stephan has also handled appellate matters before the Second District Court of Appeals and is a Florida Supreme Court Certified .
Activities, Associations and Awards
Ms. Stephan has a longstanding commitment to helping people of modest means and indigent persons in need of legal services. She was awarded the 2015 Distinguished Community Service Award from the Sarasota County Bar Association for her work with the homeless in Sarasota County. She was awarded the 2015, 2014 and 2011 Service to the Community Award by Legal Aid of Manasota, was awarded the 2008 Member of the Year award from the Sarasota County Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers and was recognized by the Supreme Court of Florida in 2007 for outstanding pro-bono service. Ms. Stephan runs a weekly legal clinic at the Resurrection House day shelter rendering fundamental legal services to the homeless.
Ms. Stephan has also been committed to serving the legal profession and the community. Ms. Stephan is the current chair of the Alternate Dispute Resolution section of the Sarasota County Bar Association. She is a current board member and past president of the Sarasota County Chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, a past co-editor of the Sarasota County Bar Association legal newspaper “The Docket”, a Master Emeritus of the Judge John M. Scheb American Inn of Court, a member of the Manasota Trial Lawyers Board, a member of The Florida Justice Association and a member of both the Florida Bar and the Sarasota County Bar Association. In the community, Ms. Stephan serves as a board member of the Friends of the Selby Library, an organization which develops services, provides free programs, raises funds and advocates for library resources.