Family Law Section of The Florida Bar Announces Key 2022-2023 Award Recipients

Family Law Section of The Florida Bar Announces Key 2022-2023 Award Recipients

During the Family Law Section’s annual Membership Awards and Installation Presentation, held on June 21st at The Boca Raton and attended by nearly 200 Family Law Section members from across the state, the Section’s outgoing Chair, Magistrate Philip S. Wartenberg of Tampa, announced the recipients of several prestigious Section awards.

The Chair’s Award of Extraordinary Service was presented to Kristin R. Kirkner, in recognition of her outstanding service, unwavering dedication, and continued commitment to the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar. Most notably, Kirkner chaired the 2023 Marital & Family Law Review Course, which saw record-breaking attendance at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando. Kirkner was additionally a keynote speaker at the Section’s all-day seminar on financial issues held in Miramar Beach in February 2023, where she presented on the topic of “Military Issues.”  Kirkner is Managing Partner at Kirkner Family Law Group, P.A.

The Alberto Romero “Making a Difference” Award was presented to David L. Manz, in recognition of his dedication in making a difference for Florida’s children and families through tireless service to the disadvantaged and underserved members of our community. Manz is with The Manz Law firm in Marathon.

The Chair’s Keeper of the Flame Award was presented to Robin J. Scher, in recognition of her extraordinary and selfless service to the Family Law Section. Scher is with The Law Offices of Robin J. Scher, P.A. in North Palm Beach.

The Jorge M. Cestero Distinguished Member Service Award was presented to Sonja A. Jean, for her years of dedication, devotion to improving the Section on all fronts, and for her never-ending desire to be at the top of our profession. Notably, Ms. Jean served as a co-chair of the Section’s biennial Leadership Retreat held in August 2022. Jean is a Partner at Davis Smith & Jean, LLC. in Coral Gables.

The Honorable Raymond T. McNeal Professionalism Award was presented to Hon. Barbara C. Goiran, for her passionate service to the Executive Council of the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar, performed with exemplary professionalism and courtesy towards those with whom she served. Hon. Goiran is a general magistrate in the family law division of the Sixth Judicial Circuit in Dade City, Pasco County, Florida.

The Section’s Trailblazer Award was presented to Philip J Schipani, in recognition of his valued leadership in service of the Family Law Section. Schipani is a Partner at Schipani, Norman & McLain, P.A. in Sarasota.

The 2023 Executive Council Service Awards were presented to David L. Hirschberg, Sonja A. Jean, and Bonnie Sockel-Stone, in recognition of and with appreciation for their dedication, commitment, and enthusiasm they demonstrated throughout their service on the Executive Council at the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar. Hirschberg is a partner at the law firm of Gladstone, Weissman, Hirschberg & Schneider, P.A. in Boca Raton; Jean is a Partner at Davis Smith & Jean, LLC in Coral Gables; and Sockel-Stone is the Managing Partner at Sockel-Stone Family Law in Miami.

The Membership Awards and Installation Presentation also marked the ‘passing of the gavel’ from outgoing Chair Wartenberg to incoming Chair Sarah E. Kay of Tampa, who was presented with the Section’s traditional crystal gavel to signify the commencement of her term as Chair.  Ms. Kay’s term will continue through June 2024, to coincide with the Bar’s 2023-2024 cycle. The Section will celebrate its 50th anniversary during the 2023-2024 Bar cycle, to be capped off with an anniversary gala to be held in conjunction with the Section’s Fall meetings taking place in August 2023 at the Naples Ritz-Carlton Resort, Naples.

The Family Law Section of The Florida Bar is located at 651 E. Jefferson Street, Tallahassee, FL. For more information, call (850) 561-5624, visit, or like/follow on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn.