After 20 years in private practice as a commercial and business litigator, in August 2016 Laura Varela became the Private Sector Career Counselor at St. Thomas University School of Law. She advises students and alumni on all private sector career opportunities and judicial clerkships. Ms. Varela also assists alumni in transitioning into lateral or vertical career moves. A proud Gator, Ms. Varela received both her J.D. and undergraduate degrees from the University of Florida. She is active in several local voluntary bar associations, including the Broward County Bar Association (BCBA), Broward County Women’s Lawyers Association (BCWLA), and is a longtime member of the Stephen R. Booher American Inn of Court. Ms. Varela is admitted to practice in Florida, all federal courts in Florida and several federal courts throughout the country, including the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
Caryn Goldenberg Carvo, Esq. is a sole practitioner and shareholder of the law firm of Caryn Goldenberg Carvo, P.A. in Fort Lauderdale which she founded in 1997. She has a general litigation practice with a concentration in the area of commercial litigation, condominium/homeowner and family law matters. She graduated from the American University School of International Service in 1972 and received her law degree from St. John’s University School of Law in 1976. Following law school she worked as a prosecutor in Brooklyn, New York and then went into private practice with Shea & Gould in New York City. In 1989 she relocated to Florida, where she worked with Greenberg, Traurig and then Stein, Rosenberg and Winikoff, P.A. prior to forming her own firm. Caryn has been a practicing litigator since 1976. She is a qualified arbitrator and has arbitrated numerous cases on appointment from the Broward County Judiciary. She is a Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator since 2016 and a Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator since 2018. She has been an officer and a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Women Lawyers and served as Chair of its Centennial Celebration. She has previously served as a President of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers and the Broward County Women Lawyers’ Association. She chaired the Broward County Women’s Chamber of Commerce before and after its merger with the Greater Ft. Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce. She served on the Board of Directors of the Ft. Lauderdale Chamber for 6 years, performing as legal counsel for the organization for 2 of those years. In 2003 she was recognized by the Greater Ft. Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce in their Annual Salute to Business Awards. Caryn served as a Judicial Hearing Officer for the Broward County Consumer Affairs Division from 1992 through 2010 and has been active in The Florida Bar, serving as the Chair of the Long Range Planning Committee, Chair of the Family Law Section Long Range Planning Committee and as a member of the Lawyer Referral Service Committee. Since 2014 through the present, Caryn serves on the Diversity and Inclusion Standing Committee of The Florida Bar. Caryn has served as a member and a Chairperson of The Florida Bar 17th Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee Locally, she chaired the Broward County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service Committee and its Member Benefits Committee. Presently, she serves as a member of the Broward Bar Association Bench Bar Committee and has served on the Clerk Bar Committee and other committees as well.
Judge Stacy Ross was born and raised in Broward County, Florida. She graduated from the University of Florida and obtained her law degree from Nova Southeastern University. She began her public service in law school as she graduated with pro bono service honors.
Prior to taking the bench, Judge Ross was an Assistant State Attorney for the 17th Judicial Circuit. She was a Felony Trial Court Supervisor and gained extensive trial experience, trying capital sexual battery and murder cases.
In 2005, Judge Ross was appointed to the County Court for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit and served in both the criminal and civil divisions. In 2013, Judge Ross was elevated to the circuit court and currently presides in the juvenile delinquency division. Here, Judge Ross implemented Broward County’s “Girls Court Initiative.” In 2015, she presented her Girls Court model at the National Conference for Family Court and Juvenile Court Judges. Judge Ross also served as faculty for the National Judicial Institute on Domestic Child Sex Trafficking and Teen Dating Violence. In 2015, she testified in Washington, D.C. at a Congressional briefing regarding the trafficking of girls. In 2019, Judge Ross established a therapeutic court, known as RISE (Restoring Independence, Strength, Empowerment) Court which is designed to address the unique needs of children who are survivors of human trafficking.
Judge Ross has served on several bar and charitable organizations. She is currently on the advisory boards of both the PACE Center for Girls and the Broward County Women Lawyers’ Association. She served as the vice chair of the Florida Bar’s Judicial Nominating Procedures Committee and as the Judicial Representative for both the Broward County Bar Association and their Young Lawyers Section. Judge Ross was previously elected by her peers as the 17th Circuit’s Representative for the Florida Conference of County Court Judges.
Judge Ross has received numerous community awards. She accepted the National Conference of Women’s Bar Association Public Service Award on behalf of the Broward County Women Lawyers’ Association for her participation in the “Books and Breakfast” program. Judge Ross was also the recipient of the Florida Conference of County Judges’ Presidential Service Award; recognized as Miami Dolphins Cancer Survivor Honoree and Broward County Bar’s Women Leader. In 2019, Judge Ross awarded “Jurist of the Year” from the Florida Association of Women Lawyers.
Amanda was raised in West Palm Beach, Florida and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Advertising & Public Relations from the University of Central Florida. She went on to earn her Juris Doctor from the University of Miami, School of Law, where she was an active member of the Immigration Clinic. In collaboration with other immigrant advocacy groups, Amanda helped lead an initiative to provide pro bono legal assistance to undocumented immigrant children throughout Florida seeking temporary immigration status. In addition to her involvement with the Broward County Women Lawyer’s Association, Amanda is a member of the Broward County Bar Association and regularly volunteers with and supports various children-focused charities in Broward County.