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Professional Engagement

Clarissa has been engaged with legal activities and education in Brevard throughout her entire career. 

She previously served as the elected President of the Brevard County Bar Association after holding all other Board leadership positions and receiving the Board Member of the Year Award.  She has chaired a number of BCBA committees and events:  Continuing Legal Education, Judicial Poll, Lawyer Referral Service, Scholarship, Budget and Finance, the Circuit High School Mock Trial Competition, Professionalism Luncheon, Professional Awards, and Law Related Education.

In 2001-2002 she collaborated with Circuit Judge Lisa Davidson and Florida Supreme Court Justice Fred Lewis to organize and present the Justice Teaching In-Service Training Event for Brevard County Social Studies Teachers entitled "Up Close and Personal in the Legal System:  Building Confidence Through Interactive Legal Education."

Clarissa was an active member of the BCBA Family Law Network for 11 years.  She has attended the Bar Leadership Conference in Tallahassee and was nominated by the BCBA Board to receive the Florida Bar Medal of Honor for her work in legal education.

In addition to her local Bar activities, Clarissa was admitted to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida for 18 years.  She has served on a number of Florida Bar committees, including the Law Related Education Committee, the Family Law Adoption Sub-Committee, the Family Law Rules and Forms Sub-Committee, and the Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee for the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit.  She has also enjoyed participation in the Trial Lawyers, Appellate Practice & Advocacy, Family Law, Business Law, and Real Property, Probate & Trust Sections of The Florida Bar.

For three years she served on The Florida Bar's Grievance Committee for the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit investigating and evaluating complaints of attorney misconduct.  She served as Chair of that committee and in 2013 was awarded The Florida Bar's Meritorious Service Award for her contributions.

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Other Law-Related Activities & Awards

For three years Clarissa was an inaugural Board Member of The Robert L. Donaldson, Sr. Academy of Law and Public Safety on the Palm Bay High School campus; she drafted the initial governing By-Laws for this organization.  She subsequently served a three-year term on the Florida Institute of Technology Advisory Board for Pre-Law Studies.

In addition to being a high school mock trial coach, Clarissa has enjoyed a number of other opportunities to teach and work directly with youth.  For five years she served on a panel of instructors at the Juvenile Alternative Services Program Law Information Class, which featured a "scared-straight" curriculum designed to deter youth from activities and choices leading into the criminal justice system.  She has volunteered with the State Attorney's Office Teen Court program and been a Career Days speaker at Melbourne High School, Palm Bay High School, Stone Middle School, and Westshore Junior/Senior High School.  For two years she also served as the Justice Teaching Program Team Leader at Delaura Junior High School.

Clarissa has twice been the recipient of the "Guardian of the Constitution" Citizenship Award for Contributions to Law-Related Education and has received the "PAY Star" Award for Outstanding Contributions to Juvenile Services, the Florida Law Related Education Justice Award, and the Youthful Offender Deterrent Project Award for Dedicated Service.

She has enjoyed terms as a Pupil, Barrister, and Team Mentor in the Vassar B. Carlton American Inn of Court.  During that time she co-drafted materials for an Inn presentation entitled "The Taking and Defending of Depositions," which was voted Best Presentation of the Year by the membership.

Clarissa was a founding committee member and Board Member of the Brevard Bar Foundation from 2003 to 2008, serving as Secretary, President-Elect, and President of that charitable organization.

During five years of the time that Clarissa's private practice was focused predominantly in family law, she enjoyed membership in the Collaborative Association of Brevard and in the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts.

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Learning and Teaching

The eight years of Clarissa's childhood spent as a member of a U.S. Air Force family coupled with her mother's passion for teaching American history instilled in her strong patriotism and love of country.  She was greatly honored to be invited to attend the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama; she is a graduate of the 51st Annual National Security Forum and remains in that N.S.F. Alumni Organization.

Clarissa enjoys teaching as much as learning.  During seven years of her career she was a periodic instructor at the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit's Pro Se Divorce Seminar.  She also was a volunteer instructor at The Women's Center class on Legal Aspects of Divorce and Separation for four years. 

She has been a keynote speaker at the Brevard Paralegal Association's Annual Installation Banquet on the topic of Legal and Ethical Issues Related to Child Testimony in Civil and Criminal Proceedings; a guest legal commentator on the WMEL Saturday Law Review program; and a Law Studies guest speaker at Orlando College.  

Clarissa has also been an adjunct professor teaching Florida Partnerships & Corporations at the University of Central Florida and an adjunct professor teaching Family Law at Brevard Community College, now Eastern Florida State College.

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