VITA Program Earns Honor from American Bar Association

Orlando, Fla. – The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) at the Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law has been recognized with the National Achievement Award from the American Bar Association Law Student Division. The award was announced on Aug. 6 at the ABA Annual Meeting in Toronto. It is the fifth consecutive year that Barry Law’s VITA program earned the honor.

Barry Law’s VITA program provides free tax help for low- to moderate-income citizens and assists them in completing their tax returns. Students who volunteered in the program completed more than 600 returns this year. The program provided tax assistance at six locations in Central Florida: the Barry Law School campus, the VA Medical Center, Walt Disney World, Barry University’s site on Alafaya Trail, and two locations for the Orlando Neighborhood Improvement Corporation.

In a letter recommending Barry Law’s VITA program for the award, Gene Brown, a senior tax specialist with the Internal Revenue Service, wrote, “We at the IRS are privileged to call Barry University Law School our distinguished partner. Not only has Barry University Law School continued to be our premier site, they have provided significant leadership to our community.”

Barry Law’s VITA program was launched in 2006 and was recognized that year with the ABA Law Student Division’s VITA Rookie Site Award. The program has been honored with the National Achievement Award every year since.

“The award from the ABA is a tremendous recognition for all the students who worked so hard to provide tax services for the elderly, our veterans, and other underserved members of our community,” said Leticia M. Diaz, dean of the Barry Law School. “The VITA program exemplifies the school’s mission and we are honored and humbled to continue to provide this service to our community.”