Shanthy Balachanthiran has spent a majority of her career assisting low-income taxpayers in the community.

As the tax clinic director for Florida Rural Legal Services’ new Low Income Taxpayer Clinic, Balachanthiran supervises the Tax Clinic services at all eight Florida Rural Legal Services offices across the state of Florida. Under her leadership, the Tax Clinic met and exceeded its annual quota for client retention and services in just the first quarter of 2019 alone.

In addition to leading the Tax Clinic as a supervising associate and tax law expert, Balachanthiran also serves as general counsel in the practice areas of family law, individual rights, consumer rights, education law, business, housing, and probate.

But that’s not all that keeps her busy. Balachanthiran provides free legal counseling at the Self Help Center in the Lee County Justice Center as well at Law in the Mall, among other community commitments.

She’s picked up a thing or two about business from managing her own practice, The Balachanthiran Law Firm, PLLC, since 2016. The Fort Myers native’s parents always inspired her to succeed.

“My approach to business and my profession has been heavily influenced by my parents’ work ethic and philanthropy,” she says. “My father and mother immigrated to the U.S. with a few hundred dollars. They were forced to leave Sri Lanka, a country ravaged by decades-long civil war, where education was and is not free. Upon their arrival, they faced a language barrier, and lacking any formal education, worked labor jobs to make ends meet.”

Even a childhood diagnosis of dyslexia couldn’t stop Balachanthiran from creating a bright future of her own. After graduating from Fort Myers High School as IB valedictorian with the highest GPA in Lee County that year, Balachanthiran achieved degrees from Pennslyvania State University, Harvard University, and the University of California Davis School of Law.

Balachanthiran has since created a clinical internship program for local university and law students and plans to teach Administrative Law: Policy and Procedure at Florida Gulf Coast University in the spring of 2020 to complement the clinical program.

Balachanthiran and her husband, Pravveen, live in Fort Myers near her family. She has two “fur babies,” Britto and Vino.