F O R E W O R D
by Angela Cahill
I began working for Eddie Stephens in March of 2015. I was hired as a second paralegal in his rapidly growing Family Law Department at Ward Damon. My caseload grew tenfold at that time and, frankly, I didn’t know if I was going to make it, as Eddie has an overwhelmingly busy family law practice and only a brave few can survive this crazy-fast pace. He is sought by many as a result of his ability to handle high-conflict family law litigation.
It was obvious very early on that this new boss of mine was something special. Not only did he have a knack for the law, but Eddie also had a very special way about him when it came to the dynamics of people. His people-skills coupled with his extensive knowledge of Florida Family Law make him a worthy adversary in the courtroom. Eddie shines in the courtroom and has a level of comfort and ease that I have never seen in my 37 years in the legal field. As a matter of fact, his entire team that he has put together in his family law practice at Ward Damon are really phenomenal professionals and outstanding human beings.
The first time I went to trial with him, he said to me, “Let’s see if we can make some magic.” I’ll never forget that. That client had her day in court and it was majick. Now, almost five years later, I have had the privilege of “making magic” with this fantastic boss and his team on many occasions and for many clients and even a few charitable causes. He’s a wonderful advocate for his clients, co-workers, family, our community and many causes, and truly cares about people and righting the wrongs. That special way he has with putting his clients at ease, sensing their special needs and trauma, advocating for them with wisdom, strength, compassion and an eye on the big picture is a thing of beauty and grace.
Eddie, keep shining your bright light! You make the world, and especially the world of family law, a much better place! It is my privilege to work with you and your team.
Family Law Paralegal
Ward Damon, PL
I N T R O D U C T I O N
by Bari L. Goldstein, Esquire
I first met Eddie Stephens when I transitioned my labor and employment law practice to the law firm of Ward Damon, where he also works. I had the good fortune of being stationed a couple of offices down from Eddie and right smack in the middle of his Family Law Team — a fast-paced group of talented, hard-working and unique individuals. Of course, I had heard a lot about all of the good work he does in the community and about his experience as a stellar family law attorney –
I already knew he was the kind of attorney that you would want by your side in battle.
Very quickly, it felt like I had known him forever.
During my first week at Ward Damon, Eddie knocked on my door and asked me to go to lunch. For me, it’s the little things in life that mean the most and a colleague going out of his way and taking the time to invite me to lunch during my first week at work will stay with me. During lunch, I learned much about Eddie – his love for his family, his community, and the law. And, I understood immediately why Eddie is that type of person who would ask a new colleague to lunch.
After getting to know Eddie, it was without hesitation that I nominated him for the 2019 Harriett Goldstein award, an award given out by a nonprofit organization very close to my heart, Families First of Palm Beach County.
For 30 years, Families First of Palm Beach County has been preventing child abuse, ensuring that children are born healthy – physically and emotionally – and ending cycles of abuse and dysfunction.
For our community, this means raising productive citizens and reducing taxpayer costs for incarceration, foster care, school failure and mental health hospitalization. The Agency’s successes are substantial – more than 44,500 children and their families have received a hand up; 100 percent of babies born to HIV positive moms in the program are born healthy; 100 percent of families receiving Healthy Families services have not abused their children and are able to keep them in safe, loving homes; and, the growing number of grandparents raising grandchildren can navigate services they need to handle their new, often-overwhelming duties. And, Families First provides these services in a groundbreaking manner – building on families’ strengths, not dwelling on their failures; providing services in the families’ homes, not in sterile offices; and including families in the decision-making process regarding what services they need. It is one of the most highly respected organizations serving children and families in Palm Beach County, achieving national accreditation for its financial and operational soundness and its use of evidence-based programs with high records of success.
I have had the honor and privilege of serving on the Families First Board for over 10 years and I was thrilled that the Agency decided to award Eddie the Harriett Goldstein award at its annual Children’s Day luncheon this past October. Each year, Families First recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the most-challenged children and families in Palm Beach County with the Harriet Goldstein Award; the award is named in honor of a long-standing board member who was a dedicated social worker and advocate for children and families.
Eddie was honored for his extensive community service and the fact that he takes time out from his role as a busy attorney to give back to his community. The Families First Board recognized that Eddie was the perfect example of what a community can accomplish when members of that community care about making a difference.
On behalf of the Board of Directors and Staff of Families First of Palm Beach County, I am extremely grateful that Eddie is donating any proceeds from the 2020 Edition of Stephens’ Squibs to Families First of Palm Beach County. For more information about the organization, please take a moment and visit https://www.familiesfirstpbc.org/.
In closing, I once had a boss who always said, “Sometimes you do things simply because you can and simply because it needs doing.” To me, this statement embodies Eddie Stephens – he does the good work that he does because he can and because it needs doing, he doesn’t do it for fanfare or accolades. With that being said, I am honored to write this introduction on behalf of Eddie’s 2020 Stephens’ Squibs as I am lucky to have him as my colleague, but even prouder to call him my friend. Our community is blessed to have him in our community; this world needs more people like Eddie Stephens.
Bari Goldstein, a labor and employment partner at Ward Damon, received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Miami School of Law and her Bachelor of Accounting with a second major in personnel management from Florida International University. Her law practice focuses on preventative labor and employment defense work and she represents and counsels private, not-for-profit and public sector employers on varied regulatory, administrative and litigation issues that affect all aspects of the employment relationship. She is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) by the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI), a Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and a qualified EEO investigator.
Ms. Goldstein, the Chair of the Families First Human Resources Committee, supports and volunteers for a number of other local civic and charitable organizations and currently serves on the Corporate Board of Directors for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County and is an active alumna of Leadership Palm Beach County (Class of 2010). She grew up in Miami and moved to Palm Beach County in 2002, where she currently resides with her son, Jake.