Founding Trustee and Chair
“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.” – Seneca
Ira Leesfield, founder and managing partner of the Miami-based personal injury law firm, Leesfield Scolaro, P.A., is a board-certified trial lawyer with decades of experience and a proven record of success representing less fortunate injured Floridians and clients throughout the United States. For over 40 years, he has guided his law firm to national prominence in civil litigation law. Mr. Leesfield holds record personal injury verdicts and settlements in numerous jurisdictions, which have earned him national recognition as one of America’s top trial lawyers.
Throughout the years, Ira has served in key positions for countless organizations and has received numerous distinguished honors and awards.
During his legal career, he has been recognized for prosecuting cases that benefit the public interest. He was the first Floridian to receive the “American ORT Jurisprudence Award” for a lifetime dedication to his profession. In 2001, the Anti-Defamation League bestowed its “Jurisprudence Award to him for demonstrating the ideals of the Anti-Defamation League through his commitment to the field of law and his efforts in improving the quality of life, bringing together people of all races, religions and ethnic backgrounds to join the fight against bigotry and discrimination.
Throughout the years, Ira has served in key positions for countless organizations and has received numerous distinguished honors and awards. He was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve at two key posts from 1992 – 2000: the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports and the Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets. His accomplishments as an attorney and his involvement in public service have brought him recognition from many of the country’s most respected leaders and organizations.
Mr. Leesfield was awarded the Florida Association of Women Lawyers (Miami-Dade Chapter) Philanthropist Award, recognizing his long-standing commitment to support aspiring female law students through scholarship grants. This award follows a long line of other state, local and national recognitions. The Melvin M. Belli Society awarded him the Belli Award as an outstanding advocate and then elected him President in 2008. In 2010, he was honored by the AJC Global Jewish Advocacy (Miami-Dade and Broward) with the prestigious Judge Learned Hand Award as a tribute for his values and standards of excellence, and his commitment to fight for the rights of the individual and the importance of democratic values in an orderly society. Special recognition was given by President Clinton, U.S. Senators, Members of Congress, as well as Florida’s Former Governor Bob Graham. Other honors given Leesfield include:
- Big Brothers Big Sisters “Miracle Maker Award”
- Anti-Defamation League’s “Jurisprudence Award”
- ORT America’s Jurisprudence Award”
- Melvin Belli Society’s “Belli Award”
- Florida Justice Association (formerly known as Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers)
“Al J. Cone Lifetime Achievement Award”
- Florida Justice Association “2003 Crystal Eagle Award”
- Fatherhood Task Force of South Florida “Citation of Honor Award.”
In 1990, he established the Leesfield Family Foundation focusing on women’s and children’s issues, youth activities and education. His support of Lotus House providing shelter to homeless women and children is well recognized along with support to other community organizations, such as, Kristi Houxe, Voices for Children, the Melissa Institute, Overtown Youth Center, Fatherhood Task Force, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Amigos for Kids, Children’s Home Society, Project Yes and Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, among others. He serves as honorary board member for the Melissa Institute.
“I put a heavy emphasis on scholarships,” he says, “because that’s what helped me the most growing up.” The Foundation is primarily supported through funding from the Leesfield Family with intermittent donations from other sources.
Mr. Leesfield is actively involved with the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative. He was amongst the earliest supporters for building the Clinton Presidential Library.
“To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” – R. W. Emerson
Cynthia Leesfield earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Florida, followed by her Master of Social Work degree from Barry University. While at the University of Florida, she organized many community fund raisers and worked with the migrant labor community on projects to provide shoes,
She has remained an active voice in both the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiatives, following her years of service to Senator Hillary Clinton in both her Senatorial and Presidential campaignsclothing and housing in both Marion and Alachua Counties. After obtaining her MSW from Barry University, she entered private practice, having finished a teaching tour at McGlannan School for learning disabilities. Cynthia also taught elementary school in Texas and North Florida before settling in Miami in 1972 where her community involvement expanded.
During the Clinton Administration, Cynthia was selected as a point person by the White House Chief of Staff to organize the first Summit of the Americas held in Miami in 1994, in which 34 nations across North and South America participated. She has served for the past six years on the Executive Committee of Baptist Health South Florida, and the South Miami Hospital Development Committee for the past 25 years. Her service to the community includes work for the Miami Jewish Health Systems and numerous other organizations throughout South Florida.
In 2013, Cynthia co-chaired the Clinton Foundation’s highly successful Miami fund raiser event. She has remained an active voice in both the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiatives, following her years of service to Senator Hillary Clinton in both her Senatorial and Presidential campaigns. Cynthia is a close friend of the Clinton family and works with her daughter Jennifer, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton on causes of mutual interest.
“It takes a village to raise a child” – African proverb
After earning her Bachelor of Arts degree from Lynn University in 1997, Jennifer worked as an event coordinator at the White House during President Clinton’s first term. In 2001, she joined Leesfield Scolaro, P.A., as Director of Public Relations, managing all of the firm’s marketing projects and coordinating its special events. In 2006, largely as a result of her passion for issues involving women and children,
Jennifer is especially committed to support for the Children’s Home Society and Voices for Children, organizations which work to better the health, educational and social needs of children in foster care.as well as for education and healthcare, she assumed the role of Chair of the Leesfield Family Foundation.
While attending the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York City as a delegate in 2012 and 2013, Jennifer was recognized as one of America’s leading next generation of civic and governmental leaders.
During the Fall of 2012, Jennifer initiated the national relief request for the victims of Hurricane Sandy by facilitating contributions to Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, The Children’s Aid Society, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies and UJA-Federation of New York.
Jennifer is especially committed to support for the Children’s Home Society and Voices for Children, organizations which work to better the health, educational and social needs of children in foster care. Most recently, through Jennifer’s efforts, LFF expanded its support of the Humane Society of Greater Miami and Jewish Community Services of South Florida. LFF also sponsored Gulliver School’s signature event, Night of Mystique, which raises money for the school’s capital campaign and scholarship fund.
She, in turn, has instilled the family’s philanthropic values in her own son, Michael, since he was a very young boy. Now, a young adult, Michael focuses his philanthropic efforts on children and animal rescue causes.
For more information on LFF, contact Jennifer Leesfield.