John Kozyak grew up on the Illinois side of
industrial St. Louis during the turbulence
of the civil rights movement. Though
landmark laws were being passed, it took
much more to change hearts and minds.
“An African-American person couldn’t
think of moving into my hometown without
fear of, at minimum, a lot of racial slurs
and non-acceptance,” remembers Kozyak,
a founding partner at Kozyak Tropin &
Throckmorton, a Miami bankruptcy and
complex commercial litigation firm. “I just
That’s a big reason why, years later, he
founded the Kozyak Minority Mentoring
Foundation for students at Florida law schools.
The foundation has matched more than
1,000 African-American students with judges
and lawyers. Last November, the foundation
hosted its ninth annual picnic for more than
3,500 students, mentors and guests.
BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY JOHN KOZYAK PAIRS MINORITY STUDENTS WITH LAW-INDUSTRY MENTORS BY MARC RAMIREZ
For his efforts, Kozyak’s honors have
included the ABA’s Spirit of Excellence
Award, Florida Bar’s Henry Latimer
Diversity Award, the ABA litigation
section’s diversity award, the Florida Bar
President’s Pro Bono Service Award and
the G. Kirk Haas Humanitarian Award.
In his busy corporate bankruptcy
practice, Kozyak’s area of focus lies in real
estate matters. Hospitality-related clients
have included Marriott International Inc.
and Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. He also
served as trustee and criminal-restitution
receiver in a huge South Florida Ponzi
scheme case involving Financial Federated.
Kozyak’s passion for mentoring began
about 15 years ago. Those efforts solidified
as the need for a more diversified pool
of legal job applicants became clear. He
came up with the idea of bringing minority
students and mentors together. Kozyak
says the program “isn’t a substitute for
learning their own skills and doing their own
hustling.” Mentors offer career guidance,
resume advice and introductions.
“I have very close relationships with
students I mentored 10 years ago,” he says.
“I grew up in a very segregated, hate-
filled environment. It was really a social
cause I couldn’t do anything about as a kid.
“Now I can.”
Wayne Hogan, a personal injury lawyer with
Terrell Hogan in Jacksonville, is well aware of
one major cause of crashes: driver distraction.
So when he heard last year about a
national effort to recruit lawyers to warn
teens about the dangers of inattentive
driving, he signed up.
End Distracted Driving’s Student
Awareness Initiative, sponsored by the
Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation,
came about after a 21-year-old college
student died after being hit by a
distracted driver in 2009.
Hogan, 65, speaks to Jacksonville-area
high schools several times a year, using
graphic terms and images to illustrate the
dangers of texting while driving. The focus
is on training students to have passengers
make phone calls for drivers and to avoid
using the phone while in the driver’s seat.
“They may be saving not only their own
THE JACKSONVILLE ATTORNEY WORKS TO KEEP TEENS FOCUSED ON THE ROAD BY MARC RAMIREZ
WAYNE HOGAN: DRIVEN TO ACTION
lives but those of the others,” Hogan says.
“We’re all out there on the roads.”
The program is one of two major
community efforts that Hogan supports.
The other: Florida State University’s
Summer for Undergraduates program,
which brings students, mostly minorities, to
campus for a monthlong dose of legal life.
Hogan himself has more than 40 years
of legal experience, including 26 verdicts
against defective-product makers. He
represented the plaintiffs in Florida’s first
asbestos-related illness case that resulted
in punitive damages. He was also on the
legal team that settled with cigarette
makers in the ’90s on behalf of the state of
Florida, which wanted reimbursement for
the Medicaid-related health care costs of
treating smokers. The team earned a $17
billion settlement, which included removing
all billboard advertising of cigarettes.
In 2000, Hogan and his wife, Patricia,
designated part of a $2 million gift to FSU
to endow the Summer for Undergraduates
program; another $1 million in 2003 to
maintain funding for 60 students annually.
“Periodically, I hear from students
who’ve completed the program and
gone on to law school,” says Hogan.
“There’s nothing more rewarding than the
warm feeling of knowing you’ve made a