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College of Law

Florida State University


2006 Press Releases

David and Debby Fonvielle Pledge Continued Support of Public Defender Service Award

Oct 01, 2006

Oct 2006TALLAHASSEE—David and Debby Fonvielle have made a $275,000 testamentary gift in addition to a $40,000 cash commitment to provide continued support of the David and Debby Fonvielle Public Defender Service Award they created in 2003. The award is given to Florida State College of Law graduates who are serving as public defenders in the Office of the Public Defender for the Second Judicial Circuit of Florida. It was originally established to continue for four consecutive years, and the Fonvielles are committed to continually funding the program during their lifetimes, after which their testamentary gift will provide permanent funding.

Through the Public Defender Service Award, the Fonvielles hope to encourage more students to pursue a career in public service, recruit students to the College of Law who are interested in pursuing a career in public interest law, specifically as a public defender, and reward those law school graduates who have completed at least one year of service with the Office of the Public Defender for the Second Judicial Circuit of Florida.

“The David and Debby Fonvielle Public Defender Service Award has been terrific for our office; we are amazed at the generosity of the Fonvielles,” said Leon County Public Defender Nancy Daniels, a 1977 College of Law graduate. “Their gifts to our attorneys have helped us tremendously with recruitment and retention of staff, and we are very grateful for their support.”

David Fonvielle worked as a public defender for the Second Judicial Circuit immediately after graduating from law school in 1972. He has been in private practice since 1974. His firm, Fonvielle, Lewis, Foote & Messer Attorneys at Law, is limited to handling cases involving significant personal injury and wrongful death claims.

“We appreciate the foundation for the practice of law that is provided through Dean Weidner’s initiatives and the College of Law,” said David Fonvielle. “I value what the Office of the Public Defender does on a day-to-day basis. That environment is where I learned to listen to my clients, be organized while carrying huge caseloads and trial schedules, and learned how to work with a staff of people. Working as a public defender gave me the courtroom exposure and experience that paved the way for my career as a trial lawyer.” 

October 2006