The American Bar Association (ABA) Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel (LAMP) selected Ms. Cynthia Catalan-Rodriguez, Region Legal Service Office Southeast (RLSO), as the 2017 Distinguished Service Individual Award winner for the Navy.
The LAMP Award highlights the exceptional support of the military legal assistance effort. Catalan-Rodriguez, a civilian supervising legal assistance attorney, is responsible for training and mentoring judge advocates, paralegals, and legal clerks assigned to the legal assistance department and providing legal services to individual clients. She attended the University of Florida where she received both her Bachelor and Juris Doctorate degrees.
"I am so honored to receive the ABA LAMP Distinguished Service Award and feel humbled to receive recognition for work that I feel privileged to do," said Catalan-Rodriguez. "I can't imagine a more worthy population to serve than those who are making (or have made) tremendous personal sacrifices to protect our country. I sincerely feel that the civilian and military men and women with whom I work deserve their name on the certificate alongside mine. Particularly, our Senior Paralegal, Ms. Robin Griswold who has the responsibility of overseeing the successful execution of processes and policies. Those processes could not have been successfully implemented without continual feedback from all members of the Mayport Legal Assistance Team and the willingness of the RLSO Southeast leadership to consider proposed changes. I am thankful for receiving the award--but I can't conceive of a more fulfilling lawyer position than one which allows me to be a part of a young lawyer's professional development; and gives me the opportunity to potentially have an effect beyond a particular client"
Catalan-Rodriguez was recognized for setting the standard for the execution of the legal assistance mission across the RLSO Southeast area of responsibility. Catalan-Rodriguez was responsible for the provision of legal services and advice to clients aboard Naval Station Mayport and 70 tenant commands. She also developed and trained a team of 15 junior judge advocates, paralegals, and legal clerks, and served as subject matter expert for cases across the 12 states and two countries serviced by RLSO Southeast. While superbly executing her day to day mission, Catalan-Rodriguez went above and beyond in her consistent innovation, proactive identification and correction of problems within legal assistance policy, process, and interpretation of the law, and steadfast integration and communication with civilian legal communities.
"Ms. Catalan's contributions to RLSO Southeast can't be understated," said Capt. Patrick J. Gibbons, commanding officer, RLSO Southeast. "She's a phenomenal mentor to our new legal assistance attorneys, and the support she provides to service members, families, and retirees here in the Southeast is superlative. Day in and day out, she proves the value of the legal assistance civilian subject matter expert concept. We're grateful that the LAMP Committee recognized her contributions."
RLSO Southeast supports the operational readiness of Department of the Navy assets in the Southeastern United States by providing responsive, timely and accurate legal guidance, support services and training in the areas of military justice, legal assistance and administrative law.