South Florida Legal Guide Midyear 2014

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Guest Opinion Editor’s Note Publisher’s Note Family Lawyers Attracting Legal Talent and Growing the Firm Trends in Litigation Support Marketing the Law Firm The Escalating Consequences of Forgetting to Update a Physician Profile The Epidemic of Identity Theft Managing the New Cycle of Business Investment When the World Innovates But the Law Stands Still Prompt Damages Analysis The FTC Act and Data Breaches: FTC v. Wyndham Worldwide Corp. Advising Your Clients on Philanthropy Class of 2014 Professional Profiles 14th Anniversary Celebration


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TECHNOLOGY BC - AD AS LAWYERS, we generally have an inherent allergic reaction to technology. However, technology is here and has already drastically changed the way we practice law. What the future holds is another question altogether. During my year as The Florida Bar president-elect, I spent a lot of time meeting with an incredibly diverse group of our Bar members to discuss technology-related issues. These members can be categorized into three groups: 1. Lawyers who will never use technology and will fight it until their death. 2. Lawyers who recognize the effect of technology in our practice and are begrudgingly beginning to adapt to change. 3. Lawyers who embrace technology and recognize it as a tool they can use to enhance and improve their practice. Technology can be broken down into two basic time periods: “BC” (before computers) and “AD” (after devices). Some of us remember the days when a client would walk into our office with absolutely no earthly idea of how to solve their legal problem. For example, if a person had a “noncompete” dispute with her employer, she would not even know how to begin to determine whether she had a claim or if that claim was meritorious. We, of course, having received a legal education and having learned how to operate the magical “books,” knew how to look at the facts, analyze the law, and make a reasoned recommendation. This was the era “BC.” The “AD” era refers primarily to the Internet, which has changed and will continue to change everything about the way we practice law. Go back to that same client who has a noncompete dispute. Today, when she walks into your office, she has, in all likelihood, already searched the Internet using a handful of relevant search terms. She will be armed with information. Whether this information is good or bad, right or wrong,

is irrelevant. She has information and that means something to her. For our members who have not already searched their area of practice, I would encourage doing so. What you will find will be enlightening, and at the same time, terrifying. Some of the information people receive from the Internet is simply wrong. Other information is actually quite relevant and on-point. Nevertheless, this evolution in technology and the use of the Internet is only beginning. A few more relevant facts to consider: Do you realize that by the year 2020, the average desktop computer or its equivalent will process information at the same level as the human brain? The CEO of Google recently stated, “Today, every 48 hours, we create as much information as all of the information created from the beginning of time until the year 2003.” Amazingly, Google can predict a spike in the flu epidemic three days before the Centers for Disease Control. How? Well, the Centers for Disease Control receive their information from doctors. When doctors receive a spike in the number of people visiting their office, they report this to the CDC and the CDC reports it as a spike in the flu epidemic. What do we do before we see our doctor? We try to self-diagnose by going to the Internet. We Google terms like “sore throat,” “coughing,” and “sneezing.” We then go to our local grocery store and buy all of the over-the-counter products we can get our hands on. After a couple of days, if we don’t feel better, we go to the doctor. Thus, Google sees the spike three days before our government does. This column is the first of many columns that I intend to focus on technology. These columns are not meant to scare anyone. I am trying to educate as many people as I can about the drastic changes that are occurring right under our noses. Past-president Gwynne Young and recent Past-president Gene Pettis, with some contribution from me, had the foresight to

create Vision 2016. For those of you who have not followed this project, it consists of a threeyear analysis of four discrete areas: 1. Technology 2. Legal education 3. Multi-jurisdictional practice or admissions to the Bar 4. Access to justice and pro bono Technology is the one component that will be part of each and every one of these four areas. As we look at its effect on the legal practice, we will be looking at many different factors including how technology can actually make it easier to practice law with less hassle and aggravation. At the same time, when we are bombarded with digital information 24 hours a day, it can be distracting, annoying, and, at times, disruptive. I look forward to exploring these areas of technology with you for the next year. I thank you so much for allowing me the privilege of serving as your president. I am truly humbled and grateful. Gregory W. Coleman Florida Bar President 2014-2015 Critton Luttier Coleman LLP SOUTH FLORIDA LEGAL GUIDE MIDYEAR 2014




AND FAMILIES WHAT are the main ingredients that contribute to a South Florida law firm’s success through the years? Making a firm-wide commitment to business development and marketing strategies is certainly high on the list, along with the ability to recruit, retain and develop legal talent at all levels. But perhaps the most important element is the law firm’s culture. Is there a spirit of collegiality where attorneys work together on behalf of their clients? Is there a program of mentoring and coaching younger associates to build their skills and experience? Or does the firm have a high level of internal quarrels, disagreements over compensation or arguments about which client “belongs” to which attorney? After interviewing numerous attorneys through the decades, I believe there are many similarities between successful law firms and healthy families. In both cases, an environment of trust and support will lead to better outcomes than a hostile, backbiting or otherwise negative climate. Our Top Lawyers in Marital and Family Law who are profiled in this issue all emphasize the importance of communication in personal relationships. That includes speaking up for yourself, listening to others and being willing to make compromises. Just as parents need to put their children’s interests ahead of their own emotions – at least most of the time – leaders in a law firm should recognize the importance of subordinating



their personal desires and goals to the interests of the entire firm. Otherwise, the result may be a dissolution of the partnership – whether marital or professional. The feature articles in South Florida Legal Guide’s 2014 Midyear Edition explore these key topics for law firms, including developing effective strategies for marketing and business development as well as recruiting and developing a skilled legal workforce. Another feature covers recent trends in litigation support services with a focus on “hot topics” in today’s market. Our Midyear Edition also features our “Class of 2014” of Top Up and Comers who move into our Top Lawyers category. We hope you also enjoy reading the articles written by leading professionals on various aspects of law, finance and business in our Professional Forum, as well as in-depth Profiles of a select group of our top professionals. As South Florida Legal Guide moves into our 15th anniversary year, we would like to express our gratitude to our readers, contributors and advertisers of our professional publications. Thank you for your support!

Richard Westlund Editor

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THE CORRECT STRATEGY FACEBOOK, Twitter, YouTube? Is that what you are betting on to build your law firm’s practice? Do you really think someone will make a decision to hire your firm or services when they see your postings on Facebook among all the cute photos of pets, weddings, food dishes, political stupidity (my choice of words) and selfies? Will someone contract with you if they happen to see a 140-character tweet right after they read one from a DJ rapper, a pro athlete’s insulting rant or a socialite’s OMG moment when he or she orders sushi? More often than not, people tend to look for the latest style or fashion for marketing their services, rather than what makes the most sense in terms of strategic options. Social media is definitely less of a cash outlay than more traditional marketing vehicles, but it does require your time and attention. Ultimately, what should really matter is your return on investment. Spending one dollar on something that does not deliver a real value is a waste of money. Spending many dollars on things that do work and provide tangible returns is a smart strategy that pays off handsomely at the end of the day. Remember that effective marketing is all about reaching the right audience. Will the corporate counsel of a multinational with operations in South Florida have the time (or inclination) to follow you on Twitter? Will an experienced litigator turn to Facebook in search of the right expert witness for the next trial? The answer in both cases is probably “no.” Although social media can

support a professional’s marketing program, it usually doesn’t deliver the right audience or provide a good context for effective marketing. Therefore, South Florida attorneys, accountants and financial professionals should think carefully about their prospective clients and referral sources when planning a marketing or business development program. In that regard, many professionals would like to spend their days practicing their chosen profession. They have a passion for law, finance or accounting, and that “calling” motivates them to put in long hours on behalf of their clients. We should honor that personal dedication to a professional practice while also recognizing that it is not the end of the story. Successful individuals and firms must also demonstrate their ability to attract new clients, and manage their businesses. At the end of the day, a professional or a firm will be measured by its results, whether monetary or the impact it has on society. By making your marketing and business development program a priority, you can connect with potential clients and have a positive impact on your practice and society as a whole. Think carefully, and choose a strategy that will support your efforts in achieving the results you seek.

Jacob Safdeye Publisher

“Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.” - Mark Twain






DORI FOSTER-MORALES has a well-rounded personal perspective on family and the law. She is married to Jimmy Morales, who is also an attorney, a former Miami-Dade County commissioner and current Miami Beach city manager. She has also raised two children, including a daughter with special needs, while building a successful career in family law. “I’ve got a high-energy personality,” says the co-founder of the Foster-Morales Sockel-Stone law firm in downtown Miami. “I try to maintain balance in my life, but don’t always achieve it.” Board certified in marital and family law, Foster-Morales believes in “bringing passion and skill to every one of our cases.” Her practice areas include divorce, children’s issues, paternity, and domestic violence matters. The six-attorney firm includes partner and long-time friend Bonnie Sockel-Stone, who is also a board certified lawyer in marital and family law. Marsha Elser, recognized nationally as a leading matrimonial lawyer, recently retired after partnering with Foster-Morales for more than 15 years. “All of us in the firm are counselors, first and foremost,” says

an environmental crimes unit here,” Foster-Morales says. “That was a catalyst for us.” As they relocated in 1993, Foster-Morales became pregnant with Nora, the couple’s first child, and President Clinton tapped Reno as his U.S. Attorney General. So, Foster-Morales joined the new state attorney, Katherine Fernandez Rundle, and began handling cases in the juvenile courts and prosecuting career criminals. “I tried 60 or 70 cases including double-jury trials without a co-counsel,” she says. “I learned quickly how to build a case and found that I loved being in court.” After five years as an assistant state attorney, Foster-Morales decided to shift gears. In 1996, Morales was elected to the MiamiDade County Commission, and their daughter Nora was diagnosed with autism. “I decided to move into the private sector and took a position with Marsha Elser,” she says. “My friends began sending me cases, and I’ve practiced family law ever since then. Meanwhile, Foster-Morales and her husband dedicated time to raising Nora, who is now a college student in Colorado, and their son

Dori Foster-Morales:

BALANCING FAMILY AND LAW Foster-Morales. “In family law, clients come in angry, hurt or depressed. They might be feeling weak and need support, or aggressive and need to be calmed. I provide my clients with guidance to help them get through a difficult time and move on to the next stage of their lives. Being able to see them make it successfully through the process is very gratifying.” DEEP ROOTS IN MIAMI

Raised in Miami Beach, Foster-Morales was a “middle child” with three siblings. “My dad, Harold Foster, was a dentist and he told me to be either a doctor or lawyer,” she says. “I didn’t like the sciences, so I decided on the law.” Her mother, Roberta Gallagher, a therapist in South Miami, gave Foster-Morales an early understanding of the importance of empathy and insights on the role of a counselor. After earning her undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Florida, she married her high school sweetheart, Jimmy Morales. They spent five years in Washington, D.C., and New York City, as Morales launched his practice in corporate and international law. Meanwhile, Foster-Morales began her career working for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in both locations. “The EPA provided a very stimulating legal environment, which helped hone my thinking and analytic skills,” she says. “It was a great education for me.” In the early 1990s, the two attorneys decided against careers in New York, in favor of returning to Miami. “We were visiting Miami attending the funeral for Jimmy’s godfather, when State Attorney Janet Reno came up to me and mentioned that she planned to open 10


Peter Jay (PJ) who is now in middle school. “Jimmy and I put in long hours at work,” she says. “To unwind, we often spend weekends at our house in the Keys, where we can take a deep breath, sit on the porch, talk to the neighbors, read books and go fishing.” She remains committed to fundraising for autism-related research, as well as other community causes, and has served on the United Way Capital Campaign, Mother’s Voices, Dade Cultural Alliance, the Angels of Mercy and LawyersAction, a political action committee focused on maintaining a fair and independent judiciary. A PERSONAL CONNECTION

In her law practice, Foster-Morales has handled several parental kidnapping cases, as well as a number of domestic violence matters. However, the majority of her work revolves around marital-related matters, including drafting pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements. “Today, our courts are also more likely to enforce pre-nuptial agreements rather than setting them aside,” she says. “Pre-nups are definitely becoming more common in two-income families, as well as in marriages where one party has a high net worth.” In recent years, Foster-Morales has also seen a rise in paternity lawsuits. “Society is far more accepting of people having a child out of wedlock than was the case a decade ago,” she adds. “But when the father leaves or doesn’t provide financial support, the mother lacks the legal protections afforded by marriage.” Other trends include a general reduction in the size of alimony awards, as well as equal timesharing responsibilities for both parents. She adds that the “tender years” doctrine, where young children were

deemed better off with their mothers, has been basically set aside. Active in many professional associations, Foster-Morales often speaks on issues affecting family lawyers and has appeared as a commentator on “The O’Reilly Factor” and “The TODAY Show.” In 2008, she was elected to The Florida Bar’s Board of Governors, and now co-chairs the Bar’s Special Committee on Diversity & Inclusion. Foster-Morales is also a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, a fellow of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, a fellow of The Florida Bar Foundation and American Bar Foundation, and a member of the Florida Family Law Inns of Court. Reflecting on the factors that lead to success in family law, Foster-Morales says the most important element for attorneys is feeling a personal sense of connection with each client. “The best advocacy occurs when you have that sense of involvement,” she says. “That’s what keeps you energized and focused on each case so you can dig in and do the best you possibly can on behalf of your clients.”



AFTER practicing marital and family law for more than 35 years, Cynthia L. Greene relishes the challenge of every new case. “This is an interesting and exciting field because you have to know about many other kinds of law,” says Greene, founder and managing partner of Greene Smith & Associates, P.A., in Coral Gables. “You need to know about civil procedures, torts, real estate, financial assets and different kinds of business. There’s never a dull moment because every case involves different people in different situations. I really enjoy what I do.” Known for her sharp wit and extensive knowledge of the law, Greene is board-certified in marital and family law, handling appellate as well as trial matters. This spring, she relocated the fourattorney firm from South Miami to a new office in Coral Gables. A founder at Baptist Hospital and a leader in her practice area, Greene is a former chair of the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar, and a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML). Greene traditionally delivers the final lecture at the annual two-day Family Law Certification Review Course co-sponsored by The Family Law Section of The Florida Bar and the Florida Chapter

After earning her juris doctorate at the University of Miami in 1979, Greene took the Bar exam and started looking for work. “They had just posted new job offerings on index cards on the bulletin board,” she says. “I wrote down three names of firms that were looking for law clerks, and went off to work.” With her interest in litigation and family law, Greene joined Melvyn B. Frumkes, a veteran Miami divorce lawyer, as a law clerk and soon became an associate. “He was the best lawyer I have ever seen,” she says. “He was totally prepared for every case and very thorough with his fact checking. He could read a page of a deposition and ask, ‘Why did she say this and not that?’ His recent death in April was a real loss to our Bar.” As a new attorney, Greene found that she enjoyed the research aspects of marital cases, as well as applying her trial skills in the courtroom. “I learned about things like handwriting analysis, accounting procedures and psychological tests and how to apply them to a divorce case,” she says. After ten years with Frumkes, she opened her own firm in 1989.

Cynthia L. Greene:

NEVER A DULL MOMENT of the AAML. Judging from comments from attendees, she is the reason the 1200-plus attorneys in attendance stay to the end. She has also written many books and articles on marital law topics, including The Family Law Trial Notebook and Family Law Case Summaries: 1989-1999. Greene enjoys caring for her three dogs and five cats, and spends much of her free time reading. Her favorites? Mysteries and biographies of historical leaders like Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. Greene is also a big fan of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and has watched every episode of the series. For kicks she attends the annual “Star Trek” convention in Las Vegas and enjoys talking to fellow fans and attending science lectures. She adds, “I also try to take one vacation a year in places far from Florida, like western Canada, anywhere in Europe and even Tahiti.” GROWING UP IN MIAMI BEACH

A native of South Florida, Greene and her sister and brother grew up in Miami Beach with a father who was an entrepreneur with an engineering background and a mother who was an renowned hair stylist. She attended Miami Beach Senior High in the same class as family law attorney Gerald Kornreich. She went off to study at the University of Maryland but hated the winters and transferred back home to the University of Miami. “I was a journalism major who liked to write,” she recalls. “The career aptitude tests I took in college indicated that I would be well suited to a career in law, and they were right. I love being an attorney.” 12



Today, Greene handles all aspects of marital law including divorces, modifications, prenuptials and postnuptials. She strives to stay on top of ongoing trends in family law, and religiously reads each week’s new appellate decisions. About a third of Greene’s practice involves appellate work, where she applies her research and writing talents to handling marital law appeals. Through the years, she has been involved in more than 400 reported appellate decisions. Recently, Greene handled a significant case in the state’s Second District Court of Appeal. Shortly before their wedding, the husband insisted that the wife sign a prenuptial agreement. His attorney prepared the document and the wife met – one time – with an attorney before flying to Las Vegas for the wedding preparations. The husband made some minor changes to the agreement, signed it and then brought the agreement to the wife who signed it at 1 a.m. the morning of the wedding. After learning about the signing, her attorney sent a letter stating the prenuptial agreement was not in her best interests because it included a waiver of alimony and had other restrictive provisions. The wife put the letter in a drawer and promptly forgot about it. “When the couple divorced eight years later, the trial judge barred the wife from challenging the agreement because she had received a letter from her lawyer, but did nothing about it,” Greene says. “ We argued that she didn’t have to sue her spouse during an intact marriage in order to preserve her rights just in case the marriage eventually ended in divorce, and the appellate court agreed with our argument.”

Prenuptial and postnuptials can be very helpful in protecting a spouse’s rights, particularly in the short term, Greene says. “If you get divorced in a year, they can be very helpful in resolving things, but if the marriage lasts 20 years, things may have changed significantly. For example, how do you sort out assets that have grown significantly through the years. What if one spouse gets sick during the marriage and can’t work? That can affect the alimony situation. As I tell my clients, I can prepare an appropriate agreement for you now, but I don’t know what it will cost you to litigate it in 20 years. No one can predict the future.”



MITCHELL KARPF says one of the secrets of a strong marriage is communication. “You have to talk about how you are feeling, be considerate of your spouse and be willing to compromise,” he says. “A couple that never argues may be keeping their feelings bottled up until they explode.” Unfortunately, most of Karpf ’s clients are already headed for divorce when they contact him. A board certified marital and family law lawyer, Karpf is a partner at Young, Berman, Karpf & Gonzalez, P.A., which has offices in Weston and Miami. He is also a certified family law mediator. “Today, the courts have much less tolerance for parental fighting about the children in divorce cases,” he says. “Several years ago, a Miami judge told me that as attorneys we need to restructure the family, rather than destroy it, and her words really resonated with me.” In keeping with that philosophy, Karpf strives, whenever possible, to take a cooperative approach where both sides’ attorneys get together for discovery and try to settle the case in mediation before

50 percent divorce work. One of his early clients was Miguel Recarey, the CEO of International Medical Centers (IMC), who later fled the country to avoid criminal prosecution. Deciding to focus on marital and family law, Karpf joined Burton Young, one of Miami’s most seasoned lawyers in the field. “We hit it off and have worked together ever since then,” he says. “Burton gave me great training, as I would prepare cases for him. He was lead counsel at first, and in later years, I became first chair.” Today, Karpf ’s practice includes drafting prenuptial agreements, handling complex family law matters as well as alimony, child support and other child-related issues. In recent years, prenuptials have become more common for second and third marriages, he adds. “Someone who has been through the storms of a difficult divorce just doesn’t want to deal with that again,” he says. However, prenuptials can be a touchy subject. “Most couples get through it, forget about the prenup and move on with their lives,” he says. “But there were a couple of relationships that did not survive the prenup discussions.”

Mitchell Karpf:

HELPING TO RESTRUCTURE LIVES going to court. “I enjoy the trial work, but these days most cases settle,” he says. “In many cases, good attorneys can work out creative solutions to even the toughest problems.” For example, Karpf served as a mediator for a divorcing couple who agreed to move in and out of the family house, while the kids stayed there, a concept called “bird nesting.” He adds, “That approach won’t work for everyone, but it can be a very good solution in some cases.” BECOMING A LAWYER

Growing up in Miami, Karpf thought about becoming a doctor, but after taking several science classes he decided to take another direction. He studied accounting and business, earning a bachelor’s degree from Florida Atlantic University in 1979, and getting married. Karpf then went to work for Burroughs, selling mini-computers. He became one of the company’s top sales people, but decided to go to law school at the University of Miami. “My grandfather was a bailiff and law was a career I had thought about for some time,” he says. “I took classes at night while working in sales with my father-in-law.” Karpf and his wife Cheryl were also starting a family. “Our son Brian was born three weeks after I started law school, and our daughter Melissa was born just a few hours before I took my last test,” he says. A few years later, twins Brittany and Erica rounded out the Karpf family. After joining the Bar in 1985, Karpf joined a small law firm and began building a practice that was about 50 percent litigation and 14


In divorce cases, Karpf encourages his clients to see a therapist for professional emotional support. “Next to a death, divorce is one of the most traumatic experiences for adults and children,” he says. “I tell my clients that they need to love their children more than they are angry with each other. In addition, my clients need to talk through their emotional issues in order to get their self-confidence back.” When spouses in their 50s or 60s divorce, there can be a host of new worries, including health, dating and financial security in retirement. “I try to project what things will look like in the future, so they can make good decisions,” he says. Karpf says digital, social and mobile technology has raised new issues in marital relationships, such as “sexting” comments to another person or posting photos in Facebook or other social media. “It’s the new digital ‘lipstick on the collar’ and it’s evidence that winds up in court if the couples divorce,” Karpf adds. While Karpf believes strongly in mediation, he also goes to court to litigate more complex and difficult cases. He says one of the hardest issues to resolve amicably is when one of the parents is relocating to a new city or state. “There’s almost no way you do equal time sharing in that situation,” he says. “In many cases, you have to present the issues to the judge, who will make the decision.” PROFESSIONAL LEADERSHIP

Several years ago, Karpf was named secretary of the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association. In that role he started a

multi-year initiative called “Families Matter,” to look at how family law attorneys could make the dissolution of marriage process better for parents and children. That led to an ongoing discussion, including an ABA symposium in Baltimore. After serving as chair of the section, Karpf was honored in August 2012 with the “Friend of the Family Award” for his creation and devotion to the “Families Matter” platform. Karpf also served as president of the

First Family Law American Inn of Court. He is also a fellow of the American Academy Matrimonial Lawyers, and a fellow of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. A frequent speaker on a variety of family law topics, Karpf will chair the national continuing legal education (CLE) committee for the Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in 2015-16. On the personal side, the Karpfs will be celebrating their 35th anniversary this year.

They enjoy traveling, and spending time in their second home in the North Carolina mountains. Their son Brian is now an attorney and partner in Karpf ’s firm. Reflecting on his career, Karpf says. “To be a good family law attorney, you have to care about other people,” he says. “It’s a difficult area of the law, and we see good people at their worst. But I get a lot of satisfaction from knowing that I’ve helped my clients restructure and rebuild their lives.”



FOR the past three decades, Gerald “Jerry” Kornreich has been a powerful advocate for the children of South Florida, helping clients become better parents, enlisting attorneys to serve as guardians at litem and providing holiday meals and toys to families in need. “I love practicing family law, because you can do so much good for other people,” says Kornreich, managing partner at Kornreich & Associates, Miami. “I’m a litigator who has spent my whole life seeking to have peaceful results for family and children.” Board certified in marital and family law, Kornreich specializes in high-conflict cases, trying to keep families from being torn apart. He also handles paternity, prenuptial agreements, child support, custody and alimony matters. In virtually every situation, he tries to keep parents focused on the interests of their children. “Just as spouses need to communicate with each other, parents should listen to their kids and give them the time they need. “Unfortunately, many professionals are so busy all the time with work

who went to law school at that time were very engaged in politics, and making a difference in the world,” he says. After joining the Bar, Kornreich went into practice with a former judge in a storefront office on Hialeah’s “Main Street” (W. 49th Street). “Our office was a house on the street with a small desk for me, and we handled every type of case that walked into through the door,” Kornreich recalls. “I did criminal law, divorce work and all kinds of litigation. “ In the early 1980s, Kornreich was asked to represent children in cases handled by Juvenile Court Judge Ralph Ferguson. It was a key moment in Kornreich’s career, and he still recalls Ferguson’s philosophy: “Always remember it will be for the children. Always help the children.” Kornreich took that advice to heart and in 1984 he became the youngest attorney in Florida to be board certified in marital and family law. Back then the divorce process was largely adversarial and cases that couldn’t be settled easily had to be resolved in court. “I was one of the first marital lawyers who pushed for mediations in every case,”

Gerald Kornreich:

ALWAYS REMEMBER THE CHILDREN that they lose touch with their children. To save time, they just tell their kids what to do, rather than take a cooperative approach. When I have clients who are going through a divorce, I try to find helpful resources for the parents and educate them on how they can do a better job in the future.” AN INSPIRATIONAL MOTHER

Born in Brooklyn, Kornreich grew up on Miami Beach, where he enjoyed watching courtroom shows like “Perry Mason” and learning important lessons in life from his mother Sayde Swire. A Czechoslovakian who fled to the U.S. from Germany to escape the Holocaust, she became an active volunteer in South Florida while raising Kornreich and his two brothers David and Leonard. “Despite her hardships, she was always teaching that giving of oneself is the highest calling,” Kornreich said. “She has been an inspiration to all who have met her.” Sayde Swire’s strong family values and quest for justice also rang a chord with David Kornreich, who became a board-certified labor law attorney and long-time partner at Fisher & Philips before passing away in April. While Kornreich’s wife Chinya is not an attorney, his daughter Amber is a student at Florida International University College of Law, and may decide to join her father’s firm in the future. Kornreich earned his law degree in 1974 at the University of Miami, where he participated in a summer international law program with University of Exeter Law School in England. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from American University. “A lot of us 16


says Kornreich. “Alternative dispute resolution usually produces better results for the parents and their children.” Today, Kornreich is a proponent of having two mediation sessions, beginning with a preliminary meeting in the first four to six weeks of the case. “The purpose is to lower the emotions and get both parties to sit down and talk,” he says. “It’s had a beneficial effect in every one of my cases.” A second mediation can then occur further down the road in an attempt to settle the outstanding issues and avoid a costly trial. “I love going to court, and I’ve tried as many cases as anyone, but each year I’ve noticed fewer trials, because there are more effective ways to resolve marital issues,” he says. “People understand that with mediation they have more control over their own lives.” Looking at trends in family law, Kornreich expects Florida to legalize same-sex marriages in the next few years, following the lead of other states. “That will be a big help to same-sex couples who currently have legal and financial issues related to ownership of property and other assets,” he says. “It will also lead to an increase in divorce cases as well.” One of Kornreich’s proudest accomplishments was handling the appeal of a gay father in the 2009 “two moms and two dads” case involving two same-sex couples. One of the mothers wanted to raise a child with her partner, and one of the gay fathers agreed to help her conceive. After the baby boy was born, the mom and her partner moved to California with a devastating emotional impact on the two dads who wanted to stay involved in the child’s life. Kornreich represented the dad pro bono, and in the end the case was resolved with a settlement that resulted in the little boy having three legal parents, plus a step-dad.


Throughout his career, Kornreich has gone above and beyond the “call of duty” in helping to protect children who may be abandoned or the victim of domestic abuse. In conjunction with the Dade County Bar Association’s Put Something Back pro bono program and the First Family Law American Inn of Court, Kornreich in 1998 launched an influential campaign on behalf of those children. More than 100 lawyers volunteers were recruited to act as guardians ad litem in domestic violence cases where a child has filed an action for protection against a parent or caretaker. The next year, Edith Osman, then president of The Florida Bar, recognized Kornreich’s efforts by appointing him vice-chair of The

Florida Bar Commission on the Legal Needs of Children. In 2001, Kornreich received the Tobias Simon Pro Bono Service Award for his efforts. “Gerald Kornreich’s contributions are truly remarkable,” said Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles T. Wells during a special ceremony. “There’s an overriding theme to his pro bono efforts that can be summed up in one word: children.” Today, Kornreich continues to chair the “View from the Bench: seminar for pro bono family cases and has recruited more than 3,500 individuals for the guardian at litem program. He also helped establish and has chaired the Court Care program, a project jointly sponsored by the Miami-Dade County court system and the YWCA of Greater

Miami that provides daycare services in four Miami-Dade courthouses. Kornreich’s dedication to giving back to the community extends well beyond the courtroom. He personally also takes part in four major volunteer events a year, including a “turkey day” feeding the homeless at Camillus House; providing holiday presents for children at Lotus House, a shelter for battered persons; and organizing a Thanksgiving family meal program and a December holiday toy drive through the First Family Law American Inn of Court. Summing up his lifelong approach to life, Kornreich says, “I believe we are here to help other people. A family law attorney can do just that by helping parents and children get off to a positive start on the next stage in their lives.”



WHEN millions of dollars are on the line in a divorce case, Stuart R. Manoff knows how to build a compelling case for his clients. “I enjoy handling complex financial matters and working closely with forensic accountants to uncover any concealed bank accounts or other assets,” says Manoff, principal of Stuart R. Manoff & Associates in West Palm Beach. Since it usually takes considerable time for a person to achieve a high income and accumulate wealth, Manoff says many of his clients involved in complex, high-end divorces are in their 40s, 50s or 60s with adult children. “In handling higher-asset cases, it’s usually the finances – not the children – that are the contentious issues in a divorce,” he adds. In those cases, Manoff draws on his knowledge of finance, accounting and tax to explain key issues to the court. “Family courts are charged with first identifying marital and non-marital assets, valuing them, and then distributing them,” he says. “However, the

the primary custodial parent, which was often more of a label than anything else, Manoff says. Moving to a system of “shared parental responsibility” with time-sharing has defused a lot of the emotional strife that had become synonymous with marital and family law. A board-certified marital and family law attorney for 20 years, and a practicing attorney for nearly 30 years, Manoff has handled a number of high-profile cases, including representing the interests of “Baby Emily” in a 1994-1995 custody case between the child’s adoptive parents and birth father. The Florida Supreme Court ultimately ruled in favor of the Plantation couple who had adopted and raised the 3-year-old girl. DECIDING ON FAMILY LAW

Manoff was born in New Jersey. He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Maryland, College Park, before attending law school at the University of Miami. Although his father, Yale,

Stuart Manoff:

HANDLING HIGH-STAKES MATTERS valuing of those assets can be subject to multiple interpretations, and it’s very important to be able to explain your reasoning.” Manoff adds that Final Judgments for Dissolution of Marriage now require extensive findings of fact, particularly with regard to alimony. “The court now has to identify and discuss all the statutory alimony factors,” he says. “Otherwise, the appellate court may reverse and remand the judgment. Therefore, today, a family law attorney has to be a technocrat in presenting the facts that the court will rely on in making the final ruling.” In general, alimony awards have decreased in recent years, since maintaining a spouse’s “standard of living” is just one of the factors that the courts will consider, according to Manoff. “In Palm Beach County, we would often see large alimony awards where an impecunious spouse would spend tens of thousands of dollars a month on luxuries,” he adds. “Today, many judges take that spending into consideration when awarding alimony and find that after a divorce, a spouse isn’t necessarily entitled to every luxury he or she had enjoyed during the marriage.” Looking at long-term trends in family law, Manoff says prenuptial agreements are on the rise, reflecting the increase in second and third marriages, as well as two-income families. “People are generally more open and comfortable in having these conversations now,” he says. “Prenuptial agreements are not just for the ultra-wealthy anymore.” Another positive change in family law is the Legislature’s ability to mitigate the issue of child custody, which has been a traditional “hot button” in divorce cases. Parents would argue about who would be 18


hoped Manoff would join his law practice in New Jersey, Manoff decided to stay in South Florida. In January 1985, Manoff was sworn into the Florida Bar and he soon thereafter joined a small Miami firm doing insurance defense work. “I didn’t enjoy it, and decided to open my own practice in Boca Raton a few months later,” he says. “I’ve been in Palm Beach County ever since then and I’ve never looked back.” After building a general practice that included personal injury, real estate, contracts and commercial litigation, Manoff found himself taking on more marital related matters. “I didn’t choose family law – it chose me,” he says. “It was also a time of strong population growth throughout Palm Beach County, and many new residents did not have established attorney relationships.” Manoff spent seven years building his practice, eventually adding a partner to handle non-family law matters for the firm. In 1992, he joined longtime West Palm Beach family law attorney Joel Weissman, and practiced there for five years before opening his own firm again. While he spends his days helping guide others through the family court arena, Manoff himself is no stranger to the family court and shared parental responsibility on a personal level. He was married for ten years, before divorcing in 2006. “I have a son who’s going off to college this summer and a younger daughter,” he says. “We have taken a cooperative approach to parenting and that has really paid off for our children.” Along with “being a good dad,” Manoff enjoys boating and landscaping his home. “My therapy is trimming the plants in the

back yard, and my kids get a kick out of seeing me up on a ladder sawing off palm fronds.” A PUSH FOR CIVILITY

On the professional side, one of Manoff ’s personal goals is increasing the level of civility in the courts. “I believe you can be an effective litigator without taking off the gloves and attacking the other attorney,” he says. “In one controversial case that was aggressively litigated, the judge complimented me for being polite to the witnesses and maintaining an

appropriate level of decorum. I took that as a high compliment, especially since we won that case.” Recently, Manoff was among the founders of The Susan Greenberg Family Law American Inns of Court of the Palm Beaches, a local chapter of a national organization whose goal is to promote civility and education in the legal profession. Manoff also took part in Bench Bar,” the annual session of the judges and attorneys of Palm Beach County who get together to discuss the current state of the legal practice,

and how to make it better,” he says. “This year, we had a great session that was very educational, and helped build camaraderie.” In keeping with that spirit, Manoff believes attorneys should be good listeners as well as effective speakers. “You have to resist the normal tendency to interrupt someone else and state your position,” he says. “Be a good listener and you’ll learn far more than if you’re talking all the time. That’s one of the keys to being an effective negotiator and advocate for your client in any field of law.”



ROBERT J. MERLIN believes that divorce shouldn’t be an angry and expensive adversarial process. Instead, the Coral Gables attorney is a staunch advocate for taking a collaborative approach to resolve the key issues and reach an amicable settlement. “I am passionate about successfully resolving my clients’ cases in a way that positions them favorably for the future,” said Merlin, who is board certified in marital and family law. “Rather than prolong a conflict that uses up their financial and emotional resources, many people want to move forward with their individual lives, establish effective co-parenting relationships, and preserve as many of their assets as possible.” Since the 1990s, Merlin has built a successful practice in the areas of divorce, time-sharing, child support, alimony, paternity, pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements, and same sex and unmarried couple partnership agreements. As an attorney and certified family mediator, Merlin helps couples negotiate a settlement of their differences. “I believe that clients benefit most when disputes are resolved

30 years of marriage, Merlin and his wife Michelle have raised three children, Elysa, an international tax attorney in Miami, Rachel, a marriage and family therapist in South Florida, and Craig, an assistant golf pro and manager at Deering Bay Country Club. A sports fan who enjoys the Miami Heat, Merlin has served on the board of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation since the 1980s and is past president of Jewish Community Services. He enjoys golf, bicycling and the arts. “I grew up as a University of Miami football fan, and I still go to the Hurricanes’ football games, but I am also a Gator fan, since I have two degrees from the University of Florida” he says. A PIONEER IN COLLABORATIVE LAW

In the early 2000s, Merlin began studying a relatively new alternative dispute resolution process for divorce cases called Collaborative Law. Introduced approximately 25 years ago by Minnesota attorney Stu Webb, the Collaborative Law process has

Robert Merlin:

ADVANCING THE COLLABORATIVE APPROACH without court intervention,” Merlin says. “ Since more than 90 percent of dissolution of marriage actions settle before trial, the real question is what method will be most effective in resolving all of the issues.” AN ACCOUNTING BACKGROUND

A native of South Florida, Merlin began thinking at an early age about a professional career in medicine, accounting or law. He went to the University of Florida, where he earned an undergraduate degree in accounting before obtaining his law degree in 1978. “Accounting turned out to be an excellent preparation for law school,” he says. “It helped build my critical thinking skills as well as an ability to understand the numbers.” In his last year in law school, Merlin traveled abroad to study international law at Cambridge University and The Institute of Law of the Polish Academy of Science. While Merlin knew he wanted to be an attorney, he didn’t plan on going into family law. “I would advise law students not to rule out any of the practice fields,” he adds. “You might be surprised where your career takes you.” After joining the Bar, Merlin went to work for Myers, Kaplan, Levinson, Kenin & Richards in Miami, handling commercial litigation, and then joined veteran attorney Richard Milstein, his former high school teacher. After handling a family case, Merlin decided to gain more experience in that field and went to work with veteran Miami family law attorney Burton Young. He then opened his own office in 1991. “Initially, I did some commercial litigation and foreclosures, but I decided to do family law exclusively and that’s what I’ve done since 1994,” he says. Meanwhile, Merlin married and started a family. Now celebrating 20


gradually built momentum across the country. “Today, there is clearly a move away from contested litigation in divorce cases,” Merlin says. “Most clients are aware of the negative effect that fighting in court has on their children, and they also want to have more control over shaping the outcome. People don’t want to spend money unnecessarily, so they are looking for alternative ways to resolve their issues.” In Collaborative Law, the two parties and their lawyers make a commitment to work together within the framework of a written agreement. The goal is to encourage both parties and their collaborative lawyers to focus on problem solving rather than positioning themselves for a future battle in the courtroom. One or two mental health professionals are used to address the emotional aspects of the divorce and in some cases, the parties hire a neutral accounting professional to help sort out the financial issues. “Attorneys who have been trained in Collaborative Law also model that type of cooperative behavior for the clients,” Merlin says. “Seeing the attorneys getting along and not attacking each other can lower the clients’ heated emotions.” As part of the Collaborative Law agreement, a party that decides to terminate the process and file a lawsuit must hire a new lawyer to start over in court. “That’s a strong incentive for all parties to continue to work together even when difficult issues arise,” Merlin says. To date, Merlin has handled more than 40 Collaborative Law cases, and all were resolved outside the courtroom; however, one client did have to go to court after the case settled when her husband later refused to comply with the settlement agreement. Although

he continued to litigate cases for his clients during the 2000s, Merlin was an “early adopter” of the Collaborative Law process, which allowed him to help settle divorces in a more peaceful manner. He began taking training courses, and soon started to teach other attorneys about the process. He has held seminars and written articles about Collaborative Law, lobbied for support from the state Legislature, and is currently helping a small group of collaborative professionals “get the process off the ground” in Boca Raton. This spring, Merlin decided not to take any new litigation cases. From 2008 to 2013, Merlin served as president of the Collaborative Family Law Institute in Miami and received the Stu Webb Distinguished Service Award in 2012. A member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, he also recently received the President’s Award from the Florida Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts. Throughout the years, Merlin said he has found that many Florida attorneys are uncomfortable with the Collaborative Law concept. “In addition to having to learn something new, they fear the process will break down and they will lose a client,” he says. “The other concern is that attorneys will earn less money – the same objection that was made to mediation years ago. The reality is that this is a faster process than litigation, so fees can be collected sooner with fewer collection issues. Most importantly, clients are happier with the process and more likely to make referrals in the future. That’s a far better outcome for everyone.”






WHEN Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC merged with Fowler White Boggs P.A., in March, the combined firm became one of the 100 largest in the United States with nearly 530 attorneys and government relations professionals. “Fortunately, our firms shared a similar culture in terms of quality of client service and the manner in which we deal with each other,” says Richard A. Morgan, comanaging shareholder, Fort Lauderdale & Miami, for Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney/ Fowler White Boggs. “These synergies benefit both the firm and our clients in terms of greater efficiencies, added value, and expanded capabilities, particularly in South Florida. At the most fundamental level, we can now provide a far broader 22


Florida law firms have embarked on a variety of growth strategies, including opening new offices, attracting lateral partners and focusing on internal professional development. Here are several examples of how South Florida firms are positioning themselves for the future.



range of legal services to a larger client base.” Based in Tampa, Fowler White Boggs was founded in 1943 and had offices in Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville and Tallahassee. Now, the Pittsburgh-based firm – which will be branded as Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC after a year’s transition period – has nearly 30 lawyers in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, more than doubling its pre-merger size. “We expanded our litigation practice,” says Morgan. “The merger has also added local talent in government relations, labor and employment, financial institutions, real estate and land use, and health care, among other specialty areas for which both firms are well known.” In an improving national economy, South

Shutts & Bowen recently opened its eighth Florida office in Sarasota, and is adding new attorneys as well. “We now have approximately 250 attorneys, including 150 in South Florida, and we offer expanded legal services in several areas, including intellectual property and health care,” says Joseph D. Bolton, managing partner of Miami’s oldest law firm. “Throughout our 104-year history, we have always emphasized growth from within as well as selectively recruiting top lateral candidates.” In attracting laterals, Bolton says the most important elements are having the right platform to build a new partner’s practice. “Collegiality and salary are also important in assuring a good fit for both the attorney and the firm.” Every year, Shutts & Bowen elevates several associates to partners, as part of its internal development program. “Our associates learn from a group practice area, and we make sure they are exposed to different assignments and projects,” Bolton adds. “Talented attorneys are in short supply in every field, and we pay a great deal of attention to growth within our firm.” To the north, Broad and Cassel added

seven attorneys to its West Palm Beach office in the past year, says Patricia Lebow, office founder and managing partner. “In addition to commercial litigators, we added Nichole Geary, a healthcare attorney, so that our Florida practice group for health care now extends from Miami to Tallahassee,” says Lebow. “We are definitely a full-service office.” Other new attorneys include Holly O’Neill, who is double board certified in elder law and estate and trusts, and Mark Osherow, a prominent litigator who is also board certified in business litigation. “We are building on our core group of attorneys, and are very excited about the growth opportunities here,” says Lebow. “The economy has rebounded and we’re seeing more commercial and real estate transactions as well as litigation in healthcare, intellectual property and general civil matters. We are always on the lookout for talented professionals to bring into our firm.” AN ENTREPRENEURIAL APPROACH

McDonald Hopkins LLC is growing its South Florida presence and has even bigger plans for the future, says Raquel A. Rodriguez, member of the national firm’s Miami office. Since the beginning of 2013,

Joseph Bolton



the firm has recruited five new attorneys in South Florida and now has 13 in West Palm Beach and seven in Miami. “We have an entrepreneurial growth strategy,” says Rodriguez. “We believe in bringing in skilled attorneys who are aligned with the values of our firm. We would not hire a million-dollar producer who didn’t fit into our culture.” For younger

associates, Rodriguez says the firm looks for attorneys who have demonstrated a solid work ethic and the ability to get along with their colleagues at prior firms.” The firm’s recent hires include Robin Kaplan, whose practice focuses on complex criminal and regulatory defense litigation involving white collar and antitrust matters, and Marc Auerbach, who joins the 24


firm’s national healthcare team, advising physician groups, non-profits, and life sciences companies. “We are planning for another spurt of growth in Miami and are in the process of tripling our square footage so we can accommodate the additional attorneys and PATRICIA CAMINO AND MARIA GARCIA

staff,” says Rodriguez. “While South Florida has a deep talent pool in fields like corporate transactions and tax law, it’s hard to find attorneys with experience in biotechnology.” To grow its internal talent, McDonald Hopkins has a formal program that includes a mentor for every associate, and a professional development “scorecard” that covers a variety of experiences. “We also

provide in-house continuing legal education (CLE) courses for our attorneys,” she adds. Overall, McDonald Hopkins has doubled in size in the past decade and now has nearly 150 attorneys. “We ship work back and forth, especially in the areas of real estate, litigation, appellate work and government relations,” says Rodriguez. SUPPORTING INTERNATIONAL GROWTH

To support its “New Globalism” business model, Zumpano Patricios & Winker (ZP&W) recently named Maria D. Garcia and Patricia Camino as cochairs of the firm’s international satellite offices committee. The two attorneys, who have been with the Coral Gables firm for approximately three years, will serve as the liaisons for the firm’s 16 international Satellite Offices in 14 countries, ranging from Europe, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Asia. These international Satellite Offices complement the firm’s Miami, Chicago, and Salt Lake City offices. “Maria and Patricia each bring a unique perspective to the model and will help the firm further strengthen and enhance our international footprint,” says Joe Zumpano, president and managing shareholder. In addition to facilitating communication and cross-selling, Garcia and Camino are responsible for administration and oversight of the firm’s international Satellite Office model, which has now been in operation for over a decade. The two are also responsible for seeking out additional countries for expansion. “As a mother and attorney, I appreciate ZP&W’s commitment to developing women lawyers as leaders in the firm,” says Garcia, whose practice focuses on healthcare, and international matters, as well as business litigation. “Miami is a natural center for international law, and we strive to build strong relationships with our friends and partners around the world.” Camino, who focuses on international law and commercial litigation, adds, “ZP&W’s model provides a cooperative forum that empowers our clients and I look forward to contributing to our firm’s progress and development.”



Raquel Rodriguez

When recruiting new associates or experienced laterals, economic issues are generally less important than opportunities to gain experience and grow their fields of practice, says John H. Genovese, partner, Genovese Joblove & Battista in Miami. “Associates have focused more and more on the experience and culture,” he says. “It’s not just which firm has the highest starting pay or associate salary. We have hired top candidates in the past few years based on the responsibilities they will be getting in a collegial firm environment.” Noting that GJB recently added an experienced litigator, Genovese said lateral partners look for a firm that will provide them with support and a fair

level of compensation. “I also think that the issue of the firm’s stability is also important in a marketplace that has seen layoffs, departing partners and depressed compensation in recent years.” Genovese says the firm strives to give young lawyers immediate responsibilities that will help them with professional development. “It is not unusual for our younger associates to be in matters where opposing counsel is a partner,” he says. “The key, of course, is responsibility commensurate with ability and appropriate supervision.” At Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, Morgan has a similar perspective. “All other things being equal, salaries will not govern,” he says. “Young associates want to work on interesting cases with a supportive team. We get our people involved from day one, and we get them in front of clients as soon as possible. We believe that when you listen to the client’s story, you get a better understanding of SOUTH FLORIDA LEGAL GUIDE MIDYEAR 2014


your role and the client’s goals.” Morgan’s firm has a formal mentoring program for its associates. “We want to give them support and guidance, and be sure they feel part of our team,” he adds. “This also helps young associates build self confidence, as well as the skills they will need later in their careers.” Looking at the talent pool for lateral hires, Morgan says it can be hard to find experienced litigators with extensive experience in the courtroom because of the overall decline in trials in the past decade. He adds, “We are always looking for attorneys who have been in trials and have a solid book of business.” GROWTH THROUGH MERGERS

Last October, Carlton Fields and Jorden Burt announced a merger that resulted in a larger firm with new practice areas. Today, Carlton Fields Jorden Burt has about 370 attorneys with offices in five states and the District of Columbia.

“The fit between our law firms is natural and powerful,” says Gary L. Sasso, president and CEO, Carlton Fields Jorden Burt in Tampa. “We significantly expanded our national class action defense practice and our insurance industry practice, including regulatory, securities, and product development. We also expanded our intellectual property, labor and employment, and corporate practices.” Sasso adds that the merger also deepened the firm’s experience and enhanced its ability to serve clients in sophisticated matters across the country. “The merger provided an opportunity to match strength with strength, putting together highly capable professionals who like and respect each other,” he adds. In Palm Beach Gardens, Theodore J. Leopold, founder of Leopold Law, joined the national firm Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, PLLC in January. “This merger positions our THEODORE LEOPOLD

firm as one of the largest and most diverse plaintiff firms in Florida and the country,” says Leopold. “This is a partnership built on a shared vision to fighting injustice for plaintiffs through innovative litigation strategy and effective trial work.” The two firms had worked together on several cases, including Love v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., the regional class action gender discrimination complaint lodged against the giant retailer in 2012. Now, Cohen Milstein has seven attorneys in its Florida office in Palm Beach Gardens and five other locations nationwide, with a total of 85 attorneys. The Florida office practice areas include product liability, commercial litigation, consumer class actions, mass torts, managed care abuse, medical malpractice and major catastrophic injury, as well as new litigation sectors. As Leopold says, “We expect future growth in our Florida office thanks to our expanded capabilities and dedication to serving our clients.”

John Genovese



Trends in


GOVERNMENT enforcement of financial regulations, a rise in fraud cases and legal battles over construction projects and intellectual property rights are among key trends in litigation support, according to several South Florida professionals. “Our firm is involved in global asset tracing, Ponzi scheme investigations and other forensic matters,” says Rudy Pittaluga, principal, Deloitte Advisory Services LLP in Miami. “We’ve also seen an increase in merger and acquisition activity, which has led to engagements involving the purchase price provisions of the agreements.” Fraud remains high on everyone’s list, says Alan Fiske, managing director, Fiske and Company,

Plantation. “With new automated accounting software and tax preparation programs, and financial information that is easily accessed from email and the web, fraudsters are more empowered and tech savvy than ever,” says Fiske Since Florida is a top location for various governmental agencies investigating financial violations such as identity theft, health care fraud, insurance fraud, Ponzi schemes and securities fraud, its no wonder there has been an increase in these types of cases here, adds José I. Marrero, partner, MRW Consulting Group LLP, in Fort Lauderdale. Here is a closer look at some of the growth sectors in litigation support as of mid 2014.



Stanley Foodman


U.S. regulatory authorities are using U.S. tax code and banking regulations to prosecute international criminals. “Based on the cases I’ve been involved as an expert witness, a U.S. person who commits a criminal act in another country could be prosecuted if the funds for the activity pass through the U.S. banking system,” says Stanley I. Foodman, CEO of Foodman CPAs & Advisors in Miami. Foodman was recently engaged in a tax case that involved a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the UK Anti-Bribery Act.



“We see law enforcement agencies from different countries cooperating to a greater extent than ever before,” he says. Foodman adds that individuals concerned about the seizure of assets, criminal prosecution or potential tax liabilities should seek legal advice from an experienced attorney. “It is important to understand both the criminal and civil aspects of international tax matters,” he says. Foodman says his office has seen a rise in its embezzlement investigations practice, including cases in which employees of financial institutions were complicit in

the embezzlement. “While internal fraud is a complex issue that involves human failings, it’s essential to have a strong system of checks and balances,” he says. “Even though that can slow down the flow of a transaction, it’s important to have an effective compliance structure in place.” At Deloitte, Pittaluga’s litigation support team has been involved with a number of anti-money laundering (AML) and Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) matters. “In some cases, we are brought in to help prevent problems, while in others we are reacting to situations where clients have been subject to investigation,” he says. Attorneys representing the victims of Ponzi schemes or other types of financial fraud should call in a forensic accounting team as early in the case as possible in order to identify, track and locate concealed assets, according to several South Florida litigation support professionals. “The sooner a team gets involved, the hotter the trail of assets,” says Pittaluga. “The longer the delay, the colder the trail and the process becomes more expensive for the parties.” Marrero has seen an increase in federal and state task force activity in regards to Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs) and Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs). In turn, those investigations often lead to the seizures of assets. “Our practice has included assessing the propriety of the government’s procedures relative to the seizures as well as supply chain analyses to show that the seized proceeds were not derived from illegal sources,” says Marrero. He adds that litigation support needs to go beyond just doing a forensic analyses of the “numbers” to include forensic accounting, investigative financial analysis, assessments of the government’s policies and procedures, and investigative field work. Today, law enforcement authorities are seeking to identify “trade-based” money laundering, which is the movement of alleged illegal proceeds through commercial transactions in an attempt to hide the true nature and source of the funds. “These types of investigations appear to be a growing trend,” says Marrero. “Task force agents continue to seize funds for alleged structuring violations even when there is no illegal activity being charged – just the belief that there may be an illegal activity. In heavily regulated industries a welldocumented AML program and regular AML audits can help prevent unwarranted seizures and forfeitures, adds Marrero. MRW Consulting Group provided litigation support and forensic analysis of

Jose Marrero

selected transactions involving the purchase and refining of precious metals, following a federal warrant that authorized the seizure of millions of dollars in assets. “We were able to demonstrate that the company had implemented an AML program and documented that that the company’s precious metals were actually mined and exported to the United States,” he says. As a result, the company’s attorneys were able obtain a return of all monies seized. OTHER TYPES OF CASES

Matthew E. Druckman, director, Cherry Bekaert LLP in Coral Gables, reports a significant increase in real estate cases in the past year, including construction and property management disputes related to changes in ownership. “We have been involved in litigation in a lost profits case where the plaintiff had a favorable lease that the new owner didn’t like,” he says. “When the property suffered physical damage, including roof leaks and mold, the landlord delayed the remediation, and the business ultimately had to close its doors.”

Cherry Bekaert is also handling latent defect cases in new construction, Druckman adds. “A thorough due diligence process is necessary when turning rentals into condos,” he says. “Those undiscovered defects could become a big issue for condo associations resulting in expensive assessments for remediation or for capital improvements.” Other types of litigation involving condominium associations include insurance claims for property damage or the misuse of insurance funds that were provided to cover repairs after a hurricane, fire or other damage. In addition to real estate matters, Druckman’s litigation support team is handling a rising number of business valuation disputes, as well as cases involving usurpation of business opportunities, intellectual property (IP) and other commercial matters. Fiske’s team has also been engaged in IP cases, as well as legal malpractice matters. “We feel IP cases will increase in the future because of the growth of the bio-medical/ tech industry in South Florida,” he says. “Clients are also realizing the value in hiring an industry expert to work alongside the financial/damages expert, especially in areas such as “big pharma,” biofuel technology and other intellectual property cases.” Divorce litigation has rebounded from its 2008-2011 lows in direct relation to the rebound in the real estate and stock markets, says Marty K. Williams, litigation support services principal, Fiske and Company. As couples now have assets they can liquidate and divide, they feel more comfortable in dissolving their marriages and living separately, he says. South Florida’s litigation support professionals have also been engaged in international commercial disputes. “We have also been asked to serve as expert witnesses in international arbitration

matters,” says Pittaluga, noting that Miami hosted the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA) Congress in April, bringing arbitration professionals here from around the world. In keeping with that international trend, Deloitte’s professionals have been involved in litigation originating in Brazil, the Dominican Republic and Mexico in matters relating to valuations, lost profits and damages. “We were also involved in a case involving gold mining in South America, and were able to draw upon the expertise of our colleagues in Canada and South Africa,” says Pittaluga. WORKING WITH SUPPORT PROFESSIONALS

When it comes to working with litigation support professionals as consultants, get them involved early in the case - before or after filing a complaint, says Fiske. That way the litigation support team can provide input into drafting the complaint or in shaping discovery, adds Fiske. “In a recent case involving a shareholder dispute in the aircraft industry, we did an analysis of damages early on and the case settled favorably for the plaintiff before the complaint was even filed.” Foodman suggests that attorneys take a careful look at the differences between consulting professionals who would not testify in court, and expert witnesses who

Matthew Druckman



Marty Williams

would appear before a judge or jury. In his experience, a consulting expert’s work product is shielded by attorney-client privilege., “That’s not the case with a testifying expert,” he adds. “So in some matters it may be more effective to engage both types of litigation support professionals.” Druckman says one trend that is gaining momentum across the country – although not yet in South Florida – is for law firms to hire in-house forensic accountants. That allows the in-house specialist to become part of the case team, communicating with outside consultants and experts, and advising attorneys without having to disclose all the discovery. As part of the pre-trial preparation, Williams says attorneys should have a strategy in place to validate the assumptions of professionals who calculate lost profits and related financial assumptions, such as discount rates. “Whether plaintiff or defendant, bringing in an industry expert to work in tandem with the financial expert can make the difference between success or failure,” he says.



Rudy Pittaluga

For example, a professional in new product development can assist the financial expert as to whether forecasted market penetration figures for a pharmaceutical are realistic or not. “In another recent case, an experienced construction professional quickly provided the groundwork for evaluating the construction-related expenses,” says Fiske. When expert witnesses present competing theories of valuation, Druckman says attorneys should work with their support professionals to understand the other side’s assumptions. “That’s the best way to reconcile two sets of numbers based on the same information,” he adds. “Then you can describe and explain why your assumptions are better than the other experts.” Finally, Druckman suggests that attorneys should be sure to engage expert witnesses who can explain complex issues in the courtroom. “That means bringing in a professional who can teach the court about the key points of the case and walk the trier of facts through each step to reach the conclusion.”

Alan Fiske


TODAY, there are multiple options for marketing law firms, including print, digital, outdoor and social media, along with traditional face-to-face strategies. But careful planning is essential for firms and their attorneys to develop the right approach, according to South Florida marketing and public relations professionals. “Effective marketing for law firms is all about the fundamentals,” says Don Silver, COO, Boardroom Communications in Plantation. “Staying relevant, staying on the radar of those who count, giving back, treating people right, helping people solve problems and find solutions

and doing great work never goes out of style. No amount of PR, advertising or networking will work if you are not taking care of the basics. People do business with people they like, respect and can count on.” Tadd Schwartz, founder and president of Schwartz Media Strategies in Miami, says one of the biggest marketing mistakes a law firm can make is undertaking a program without a long-term view and a defined set of strategic goals. “Publicity won’t move the needle if it doesn’t incorporate the right message and in turn support the brand,” he says. “Neither will marketing.”




Law firms and attorneys need to make a commitment to their marketing efforts and establish realistic goals, metrics and priorities before implementing specific strategies, says Jeanne A. Becker, senior vice president, Wragg & Casas Public Relations in Miami. “Marketing tactics take time and money, and are not for a law firm that is not committed to a long-term program.” Becker says the best starting point is developing a marketing plan that includes business development, client retention, branding, public relations, social media, blogging, website development, direct marketing and print and online strategies. Silver adds that marketing programs take time to deliver results. “With outreach efforts, don’t focus on getting new business right away,” he says. “Don’t take your eye off the ball and stay focused on your work. About 70 to 80 percent of new matters will come from existing clients and contacts. Not keeping close touch or providing good service and value will hurt your practice. No amount of new business will cure dissatisfied clients or churn.” Marketing strategies are most effective when they are customized and tailored to the specific needs of law firms and attorneys, says Michelle Martinez Reyes, regional marketing and business development manager, Hunton & Williams in Miami, and chair of the South Florida City Group for the Legal Marketing Association’s Southeastern Chapter. “Strategies that tend to be most effective in today’s market are those that are innovative, adaptable and are focused on the needs of a firm’s clients and defined target audience within a key industry and sector,” she says. “Firms that are progressive enough to monitor and use their customer feedback, (and even employee input), for improvement and competitive advantage, tend to be the leaders.”

Through an effective public relations campaign, the attorney was mentioned in national media, wrote an op-ed article for a daily newspaper and led a panel on gaming at HistoryMiami. “Taking one area of an attorney’s practice and developing an integrating campaign on different platforms can be very successful,” she says. “Firms and attorneys can look for an industry niche or defined area of practice that lends itself to marketing.” Traditional print media plays a key role in the marketing mix for professional services firms seeking to build awareness, support the brand and reach out to prospective clients. “Print can be an excellent platform for thought leadership, as well as building a firm’s public image,” says Reyes. “Print media can be used for advertising,


For many firms and attorneys, building a position as an industry expert or thought leader has been a highly successful strategy. “Bylined articles, getting attorneys quoted as sources in targeted publications, speaking opportunities, award nominations and the promotion of completed transactions, verdicts and settlements are effective in creating and maintaining focus on the attorney’s particular practice areas,” says Becker. Lori Rabinowitz, founder and president, Marca, in Fort Lauderdale, cites the example of a South Florida attorney who focused his marketing program on becoming a thought leader in gaming.



Lori Rabinowitz

advertorials, tombstones, branding campaigns or a variety of editorial pieces and author placements. It is the traditional vehicle for connecting with clients, prospects and the community at-large.” Because the traditional media market is shrinking, earned editorial content in publications that reach prospective clients is now at a premium, says Becker. “Firms need to be in the business of breaking news, creating stories and shaping the conversation around their areas of focus,” Becker says. “Today’s savvy firms are focusing on earned editorial coverage, social media, targeted advertising and their own editorial content to offset the effects of a shrinking media landscape while connecting with their audiences via several access points.”

Don Silver


Blogging can be an effective strategy for attorneys and law firms seeking to position themselves as leaders in their practice areas, says several marketing professionals. In turn, that original content – as well as press releases, videos and firm activities can be promoted through social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. “I’m a big fan of blogging,” says Rabinowitz. “You don’t need a budget for it, and it’s a good way for attorneys who are not comfortable with face-to-face marketing to reach out to individuals. It can also pay big dividends in your branding.” Becker says blogs can complement public relations efforts to show the attorney’s knowledge and build credibility. Law firms using effective search engine optimization (SEO) techniques can use also key words from their blogs to ensure that online searches are productive. However, different approaches to blogging and social media are necessary,

Jeanne Becker

depending on whether a firm focuses on a business (B2B) or consumer (B2C) market, according to Silver. “For B2B law firm clients, blogs serve as the mother ship to feed social media,” he says. “For these firms, LinkedIn and Twitter are most appropriate. With B2C firms, we typically make use of all major social media. We also make extensive use of tags and links to relevant pages on the firm’s website.” As for social media campaigns, Becker says that Twitter is great for branding, pushing out information and creating buy-in but is too consumer oriented for corporate law firms. LinkedIn is effective for building networks/referrals and pushing out information, but is only as good as the time invested to constantly communicate with your network. Videos can be expensive and time consuming, are limited in use and may not be worth doing, she adds. While blogging and social media campaigns can help increase engagement with target audiences and improving search engine rankings, law firms need to commit

time and resources for these marketing tools to pay off. “It’s essential to post regularly on topics that will interest others,” Silver says. “You also have to engage your contacts by commenting on what they post, possibly take the conversation off-line to build on the relationship. Like traditional networking, it is important to respect the other person’s time.” Sharing interesting articles, firm news, photos, videos and occasional entertaining posts will help keep you in the game, Silver adds. Conversely, posting too often and making it all about the firm will be a turnoff to the audience. Noting that favorable media coverage should be shared via social media portals and digital marketing pieces, Schwartz said one of his law firm clients has used blogging to brand itself as an authority on real estate and business matters. The firm has blogs on commercial mortgages, homebuilders, and inbound investment and trends driving the Miami economy. “The blogs provide original content from




Michelle Martinez Reyes

attorneys, which is leveraged via the firm’s social media platforms, special events, and our ongoing public relations campaign,” he adds. FOCUS ON NETWORKING

While digital and social media continue to grow in importance, face-to-face networking activities remain the “bread and butter” marketing channel for many South Florida attorneys. For example, Rabinowitz suggest inviting clients or potential clients to a law firm presentation on a “hot topic” related to specific practice areas. “Just getting in front of the right people is invaluable,” she adds. Reyes says a traditional approach to



face-to-face networking involves getting involved in business, civic or charitable organizations. She adds, “The key is to pick and choose organizations that would be a natural fit and participate in forums that would be most valuable to you and your clients.” Silver agrees with the importance of becoming involved in organizations and causes that law firms and their attorneys really care about or enjoy. He recommends focusing on no more than three organizations, and suggests studying them in advance to determine which are most likely to provide a mutually beneficial experience. “With charities, don’t simply write

a check,” he adds. “Get involved on a committee, join a board, attend meetings and events and spread the good word. This is true with any organization where you get involved. Let others see you in action volunteering your time and achieving results for the cause.” Becker says that intimate face-to-face networking activities with groups of 15-20 people are effective for many types of practices. Examples include hosting legal briefings for clients and prospects, scheduling breakfasts with accountants and consultants, to promote referrals or hosting proprietary educational seminars tied to practice areas that can be promoted to key audiences and the public.

“Attending business networking groups can be effective provided you attend often, the members are high quality and ultimately lead to referrals,” she says. “Client contacts, prospects and the names of referral sources should be collected into a firm-wide database used for future communications such as client alerts, blog notifications, announcements and holiday cards.” Silver adds that many South Florida attorneys have been successful in generating new business by being involved in American Bar Association, The Florida Bar and other national, state and local professional associations. Participating in pro bono programs and initiatives can also create a positive impression and build an attorney’s reputation, Silver adds. “Volunteer service is one way to become known in your field, so consider making a commitment to a meaningful cause.” MEASURE THE RESULTS

Whatever marketing strategies are implemented, firms and attorneys should track the results and measure the return on investment (ROI). That’s the best way to determine which strategies are most effective, so internal resources can be deployed in the right direction. “There’s no one-size-fits-all method for measuring results,” says Schwartz. “The best way to determine whether your campaign is working is to evaluate whether your underlying messages are penetrating your target audiences and resonating on a consistent basis.” For example, a dedicated phone number or email address can be used as a tracking mechanism for advertising or public relations campaigns. In any case, firms should set measurable business goals and then gauge whether the marketing program is advancing those goals, Schwartz says. Here are some ways that firms can track their results: • Has there been an increase in casework across the firm’s growth areas? • Has there been an uptick in traffic on the firm’s website? • Are publications that reach the target audience running your byline or feature articles? • Are existing clients and referral sources taking note of your articles or other marketing and publicity efforts? • Are your email newsletters and other messages being opened by recipients? • Are individuals subscribing to your blog, following you on Twitter or connecting with you via LinkedIn? • Is anyone responding to your posts on Facebook or LinkedIn or to your videos on YouTube?

When it comes to web marketing, Silver says analytics programs can track not only the number of visitors, but also the time spent on the site, most-viewed pages and number of forms filled in requesting information. “If you are tracking your Google rankings, the more targeted and relevant content you are posting to your site, blog and social media, the greater your ranking should be,” he adds. For certain practice areas, billboards and TV ads provide law firms with excellent tracking mechanisms for measurement, says Becker. “They are proven business generators for personal injury and criminal law firms, but they are not effective for corporate, transactional or defense firms,” she adds. Reyes notes that professional services firms can most readily measure ROI in areas involving public relations and related business development opportunities. “Relationship marketing can be tracked and measured over the course of multiple impressions and activities,” she says. “Referral sources from key networks can also be tracked to see what’s producing results.”

response, the social media site changed its headings to “experience” and “skills and endorsements,” a benefit to attorneys. Whether planning a social media campaign, hosting in-person seminars or supporting a worthy cause, attorneys and law firms can use the power of the media as a solid foundation for their marketing activities, according to the region’s professionals. As they say, a byline or a feature article in a print publication offers instant credibility, builds the brand, and supports social and digital media marketing campaigns – a winning formula for South Florida law firms and their attorneys.


In South Florida’s competitive environment, law firms and attorneys need to make marketing and business development an ongoing priority, according to Reyes. “Team up with business development and marketing professionals who are connected to your community, your industry and your clients,” she says. “Listen to their advice, and develop strategies that will advance your business goals.” In addition, attorneys should monitor all changes coming out of The Florida Bar regarding social media, advertising and direct marketing, says Becker. The Handbook on Lawyer Advertising and Solicitation finalized several changes in the spring of 2014. When in doubt, contact The Florida Bar regarding proposed marketing projects and allow plenty of advance time for them to review materials, provide feedback and approvals, she says. Rabinowitz noted that The Florida Bar asked LinkedIn to eliminate the word “expertise” in attorney profiles. In

Tadd Schwartz




Consequences of Forgetting to Update a Physician ProďŹ le By Matthew T. Wright

IMAGINE, for a moment, that your client is a practicing physician in Florida who has just accepted a lucrative opportunity to move her medical practice to another Florida location. Excited about the next chapter of her career and overwhelmed by the hassles associated with her move, she forgets to contact the Department of Health



(DOH) and AHCA to update her physician profile information. After a few months pass, she has settled into her new job and home, and then a package arrives from the DOH along with letters from the AHCA that appear to have been forwarded to her from her prior address. As she reads the DOH letter, she realizes, for the first time,


that she has forgotten to provide updated address information to AHCA and, as a result, AHCA has terminated her Medicaid privileges. Moreover, the DOH letter informs her that, because she has failed to report AHCA’s termination of her Medicaid privileges to the DOH, the DOH has now terminated her physician’s license. Unable to practice medicine and facing what could become months of appeals and substantial fines and legal fees necessary to resolve the pending disciplinary matters against her, the gravity of your client’s seemingly minor oversight becomes clear. Unfortunately, this scenario has become a reality for some physicians in Florida. This article outlines the procedures that should be implemented in your client’s physician practice today to ensure strict compliance with DOH and AHCA physician profile requirements. DUTY TO PROVIDE UPDATED ADDRESS APPLIES TO BOTH THE DOH AND AHCA

of the physician’s Medicaid payment privileges, which can then turn into a denial of payment if no response from the physician has been received after 90 days. Furthermore, if the physician’s failure to respond to the charges and communications from AHCA continues, AHCA may pursue other sanctions such as fines, recoupment actions, and even the termination of a physician from the Medicaid program. Additionally, the DOH can pursue disciplinary actions against a physician based on its discovery of sanctions levied by the AHCA against a physician. For example, physicians who have updated their address information with the DOH but have forgotten to update their address with AHCA after moving to a new practice location may have their Medicaid payment privileges suspended or terminated. However, because the correspondence from AHCA will likely have been sent to the physician’s former address, the physician may be practicing medicine, entirely unaware of the fact that their Medicaid

privileges have been terminated. If so, the DOH may be the entity that initially provides the offending physician with notice that their Medicaid privileges have been terminated by AHCA. This notice may also confirm that, because of the revocation of the physician’s Medicaid privileges, the DOH has terminated the physician’s professional license. In light of these severe and escalating penalties, physicians must make sure that strict compliance with DOH and ACHA profile reporting requirements becomes a priority in the operation of their medical practice. At a minimum, procedures should be established that ensure, and continue to periodically confirm, continued compliance with the profile reporting requirements of both the DOH and AHCA. Matthew T. Wright is an income partner at Zumpano Patricios & Winker, P.A. He focuses his practice on litigation and regulatory matters. He can be reached at 312 Minorca Ave., Coral Gables, FL 33134 305-444-5565

First, it is essential for your client to understand that a physician has a dual obligation to provide an updated address profile to both the DOH and AHCA. Specifically in regards to the DOH, Florida law requires that physicians provide written notice of any and all changes to their address within 15 days after the address change occurs. Additionally, a physician’s failure to provide such information provides the DOH with authority to pursue a variety of disciplinary options such as fines of up to $100 a day, termination of a physician’s professional license, and/or obligations to pay for the costs and fees associated with a physician’s own investigation. Pursuant to Florida Medicaid law, AHCA has also implemented a thorough screening and ongoing review process for all physicians participating in the Florida Medicaid program. As a result, a physician’s failure to provide up-todate address information will likely be discovered by AHCA during one of their frequent unannounced site visits or as a result of AHCA correspondence sent to the physician’s last known address, which is subsequently returned to the agency. If AHCA makes such a discovery, it can then move forward with a suspension SOUTH FLORIDA LEGAL GUIDE MIDYEAR 2014


The Epidemic of

IDENTITY THEFT By Stanley I. Foodman

LATELY our office has been investigating matters of embezzlement involving identity theft and identity fraud. With everything that has been reported about embezzlement, it should come as no surprise that in every case the perpetrators were trusted individuals. What is new is how trusted business insiders are not only stealing the business’ money and other assets, they may be also stealing the identities of business customers and vendors. Identity theft is a crime. Identity theft and identity fraud refer to all types of crime in 38


which someone improperly obtains and uses another person’s personal data typically for economic gain. Unlike your fingerprints, which are unique to you and cannot be given to someone else for their use, your personal data can be used by identity thieves to personally profit at your expense. Many people in the United States and Canada have reported the unauthorized removal of funds from their bank or financial accounts. In worse cases, criminals take over identities completely, running up vast debts and

committing crimes while using victims’ names. Victim losses may include not only out-of-pocket financial losses, but the substantial additional costs of restoring a reputation in the community and correcting erroneous information for which the criminal is responsible. It is surprising to many people how easily criminals can obtain their personal data without breaking into their homes. Actions in public places as innocuous seeming as “shoulder surfing” in which someone watches from a nearby location as you punch in your telephone calling card number or credit card number or listens to a telephone conversation in which you supply your credit-card number to a hotel or rental car company can lead to identity theft. The area near your home or office may not be secure from criminals who engage in “dumpster diving” – going through your garbage cans or a communal dumpster or trash bin – to obtain copies of your checks, credit card or bank statements, or other records that typically bear your name, address, and even your telephone number. These types of records make it easier for criminals to get control over accounts in your name and assume your identity. While some credit card companies have adopted security measures that allow a card recipient to activate the card only from his or her home telephone number, this is not yet a universal practice. So, receiving applications for “preapproved” credit cards through the mail and but discarding them without first destroying the enclosed materials is risky. Crooks may retrieve them and try to activate the cards for their use without your knowledge. Likewise, if your mail is delivered to a place where others have ready access to it, it can be easily intercepted and redirected to another location. More recently, the Internet has become an attractive place for criminals to obtain identifying data, such as passwords and banking information. In a growing number of cases, criminals have used computer technology to obtain and misuse large amounts of personal data. With adequate information, a criminal can take over an individual’s identity to conduct a wide range of crimes such as false applications for loans and credit cards,


fraudulent withdrawals from bank accounts, fraudulent use of telephone calling cards, or obtaining other goods or privileges that the criminal might be denied if he were to use his real name. If the criminal takes steps to ensure that bills for the falsely obtained credit cards or bank statements showing the unauthorized withdrawals, are sent to an address other than the victim’s, the victim may not become aware of what is happening until the criminal has already inflicted substantial damage on the victim’s assets, credit, and reputation. The U.S. Department of Justice prosecutes cases of identity theft and fraud under a variety of federal statutes. In 1998, Congress passed the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act creating a new offense of identity theft. The law prohibits “knowingly transferring or using, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of Federal law, or that constitutes a felony under any applicable State or local law.” (18 U.S.C. § 1028(a)(7)). This offense, carries a maximum term of 15 years’ imprisonment, a fine, and criminal forfeiture of any personal property used or intended to be used to commit the offense. Schemes to commit identity theft or fraud

may also involve violations of other statutes such as identification fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1028), credit card fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1029), computer fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1030), mail fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1341), wire fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1343), or financial institution fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1344). All of these federal offenses are felonies that carry penalties as high as 30 years of imprisonment, fines, and criminal forfeiture. The damage done by criminals when stealing another person’s identity frequently takes far longer to undo than it took the criminal to commit the crimes. Victims of identity theft and fraud may find the task of correcting incorrect information about their financial or personal status and trying to restore their good names and reputations as formidable as trying to solve a puzzle with missing pieces. Some of the lessons learned for the business owners were that if the business wants to avoid being victimized and protect its customers and vendors from victimization, it has to be tightfisted about sharing its own and its client’s information with employees without having a preexisting reason to trust them. For individuals, adopt a “need to know” approach to your personal data. Use the Better Business Bureau to obtain

information about businesses that have been the subject of complaints. When traveling, have your mail held at your local post office, or ask someone you know well and trust to collect and hold your mail while you’re away. Check your financial information regularly for discrepancies. Ask periodically for a copy of your credit report. Finally, maintain vigilant records of your financial accounts. A number of government and private organizations have information about various aspects of identity theft and fraud. Don’t be bashful – use their services. Stanley I. Foodman is CEO of Foodman CPAs & Advisors and a recognized forensic accountant and litigation support practitioner. Specializing in complex domestic and international tax matters, Foodman has served as an expert witness and forensic accountant for some of the nation’s most challenging, high-profile economic crime cases. Foodman and his team of accountants also assist clients with a full range of accounting matters including compliance, voluntary disclosure, corporate and individual taxation, family law litigation, estate and trust tax and wealth planning. Consistently ranked as one of the top accounting firms in South Florida, Foodman CPAs & Advisors assists clients locally, nationally and internationally. SOUTH FLORIDA LEGAL GUIDE MIDYEAR 2014


Managing the New Cycle


“WHAT is old is new again”...or is it “What is new is old again”? In any event, we in South Florida are living through one of the most dramatic turnarounds an economy has ever seen. Not since the flood of insurance money hit our town in 1992 after Hurricane Andrew have we seen the infusion of money into our community. Banks are healthy, institutional investors are flush with cash and investors, both domestic and international, are eager to



invest in our vibrant international city. Yes, we’ve hit the big time...but the whispers are getting louder – are we headed for another crash? As a banker who has experienced several cycles, I can see there may be some signs that could be troubling: inexperienced investors, rapid real estate value appreciation and financial projections that work only in the currently low interest rate environment. On the positive side, there are clearly some differences this time


around, most notably the level of owner equity versus the level of borrowings. Given the lessons of the last downturn, personal guarantees of large commercial real estate loans offered little relief to offset huge losses in property values and the proceeds received by the lenders via a distressed sale. While there is still great reliance placed on an individual’s personal guarantee, lenders are willing to exchange recourse for more “cash in the deal.” Ultimately, a lower level of debt provides more of a cushion when the property’s cash flow falls below expectations. Currently, our community is attracting investment capital from all parts of the globe. While we have always had interest from foreign investors, it is intriguing to witness the wide diversity of investors coming from both the northern and southern hemispheres, Europe, Asia and the Americas. Also of interest is their ability and desire to purchase real estate on a “cash” basis. An unexpected benefit could be more ownership stability of real estate and a tremendous source of wealth, thus bringing in disposable income for our

service and construction industries and durable purchases. Foreign investment brings several challenges for both the legal and banking communities. Government regulations require that we know our customers, their business and the source of their wealth. Protocols are in place so that we understand the nature of transactions within attorney IOTA accounts. As a commercial banker, I have now become accustomed to helping our bankers in our branch locations explain the nature of escrow accounts related to commercial real estate loans. While it may not be the most rewarding part of our business, it is an essential component of our anti-money laundering responsibility. Sabadell is approaching this business cycle with enthusiasm and prudence. Some of the basics of lending still hold true; there is no substitute for experience and careful analysis. Our best clients are those who examine downside scenarios and have the wherewithal to manage

through the inevitable unforeseen bumps in the road. This year, our Commercial Real Estate lending activity will be three times the level from two years ago. Whether it is financing the construction of new shops in the retail-deprived area of the Civic Center or a new hotel in Miami Beach, we work very hard to know our clients and to use a relationship-based model. Our clients enjoy our consultative approach, which helps them achieve their business objectives. Our team at Sabadell employs a longterm approach. Our management team lives and works in South Florida. We can handle the most sophisticated as well as the most basic of transactions. We pay attention to the lessons of the past so that we can be a productive and long-term contributor of the South Florida community. Steve Cohen is the Executive Vice President of Sabadell United Bank, a full-service $3.6 billion commercial bank based in Miami. He can be reached at 1111 Brickell Ave., 30th Floor, Miami, FL 33131 305-808-2216 SOUTH FLORIDA LEGAL GUIDE MIDYEAR 2014


When the World Innovates

BUT THE LAW STANDS STILL By Andrew S. Ittleman and Stephen H. Wagner

WHEN is an airplane a “motor vehicle”? Only when federal law is 45 years behind the innovation. The year was 1926 – 23 years after the Wright Brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk – when William McBoyle ordered an airplane (that he may or may not have been stealing) to be flown from Illinois to Oklahoma. Because of the interstate nature of his act, he was charged with a federal offense: violation of the National Motor Vehicle Theft Act. He was found guilty on the premise that a “vehicle” is a conveyance, and an airplane is a 42


conveyance, so the law applies. The case made it to the U.S. Supreme Court where the justices overturned Mr. McBoyle’s conviction while reasoning, with alacrity and clarity: When a rule of conduct is laid down in words that evoke in the common mind only the picture of vehicles moving on land, the statute should not be extended to aircraft simply because it may seem to us that a similar policy applies, or upon the speculation that if the legislature had thought of it, very

likely broader words would have been used. McBoyle v. United States, 51 S.Ct. 340, 341, 75 L.Ed. 816 (1931). The problem facing the federal government in McBoyle was that federal law had not yet caught up to the invention of the airplane. It wasn’t until 1948 that 18 U.S.C. § 2312 was codified to make it a federal crime to steal motor vehicles, vessels, and aircraft. Thus, the government, wishing to prosecute something it did not like, had no choice but to pound a round peg into a square hole.


While we may find it laughable that the lower courts in McBoyle went to such convoluted lengths to apply a motor vehicle law to something that is so clearly not a motor vehicle, McBoyleesque convolutions of law still occur quite frequently today. One prominent example of the federal government continuing to apply outdated and unsuitable laws to emerging trends is bitcoin, the “virtual currency” now exploding in popularity worldwide. Despite bitcoin being introduced over five years ago, the Internal Revenue Service only issued its first guidance on bitcoin in March 2014. While the IRS is now stating that bitcoin is property, not a currency, and should be treated as such for tax purposes, the guidance leave many critical questions unanswered. Should bitcoin be treated as a capital or non-capital asset? What are the tax consequences of “mining” or “trading” or “dealing” in bitcoin (which may all be different)? What is the proper basis in the bitcoin, given that different bitcoin in different virtual wallets may have different bases? Many of these critical questions remain unanswered, leaving bitcoin users and exchangers in legal limbo. What about those who deal in bitcoin as a business? Recent guidance issued by the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), draws a distinction between bitcoin “users” and “exchangers” in determining whether individuals or businesses will be considered money services businesses (MSB) for purposes of the Bank Secrecy Act. Indeed, bitcoin parties have already been indicted for “operating an unlicensed money transmitting business” in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1960. The basis of the charge is derived from non-binding FinCEN guidance that states, with no public comment or legal support, “[A] person is an exchanger and a money transmitter if the person accepts such de-centralized convertible virtual currency from one person and transmits it to another person as part of the acceptance and transfer of currency, funds, or other value that

Andrew Ittelman

Stephen Wagner

substitutes for currency.” This guidance unilaterally turns a bitcoin exchange service into a money transmitter without the presence of a third-party recipient of funds, something not supported in existing federal law. However, this type of legal convolution occurs because the law has not yet changed to catch up with ongoing paradigm shifts in payment systems. This same type of regulatory lag is present in the field of legalized and medicinal marijuana. Despite more and more states passing laws that legalize marijuana in various forms, the federal government still lists marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance under

the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The implications of this CSA Schedule I listing for state-sanctioned marijuana are enormous as legal uses and medical procedures are now being turned into “drug trafficking”: 1. Under federal law, physicians are prohibited from prescribing marijuana and their DEA licenses can be revoked for doing so – even in states in which medicinal marijuana is legal. 2. FinCEN guidelines require financial institutions to file a Suspicious Activity Report (“SAR”) for virtually every transaction with a marijuana dispensary “including those duly licensed under state law[.]” 3. Section 280E of the IRS Code disallows marijuana dispensaries from taking business deductions for “trafficking in controlled substances.” This results in dispensaries paying an effective tax rate as high as 75%. These draconian and seemingly incongruous federal laws have left the state-sanctioned marijuana industry scrambling and improvising ways to merely conduct ordinary business activities. Meanwhile, an entire emergent industry waits for the monolithic federal government to catch up with developments in state law and society as a whole. For lawyers whose clients are seeking to embrace the business promise (and profits) that these emerging markets can bring while seeking to understand and mitigate (or eliminate) the legal risks, this leg in federal law can be maddening. It may require extensive and expensive federal litigation. It may require analyzing and applying laws in novel or attenuated ways (that could expose the lawyer to risk as well). Regardless, it is incumbent upon all lawyers as members of the bar pledged to devotion to “the public good” to embrace the legal change within their states and to help force the federal government to shift its own regulatory paradigms to mirror those changes taking place in society. The attorneys at Fuerst Ittleman David & Joseph, PL have extensive experience in many of these emerging areas of law. If you have any questions pertaining to your cutting-edge business, please contact us at SOUTH FLORIDA LEGAL GUIDE MIDYEAR 2014


A PROMPT DAMAGES ANALYSIS Can Help Maximize the Final Results in the Case By Andrew C. Hall

IT is always interesting to see the focus of litigation shift from liability to damages. When lawyers accept a case, they evaluate the facts and law related to liability, defenses, and causation. The lawyers may have a general idea on how much the case is worth based upon their client’s assessment or based on their prior experience. That ends the concentrated damage analysis until a trial date is approaching after extensive discovery takes place. Then, a forensic witness is engaged to assess the damages. However, deferring a damage analysis may result in missed opportunities to obtain the best and most accurate evidence of damages and maximize the final result. Further, the consequence of 44


this deferral may result in the expert, once retained, being forced to compute damages only on the limited information already developed, and that information may be incomplete or inadequate. I believe that assessment of damage elements and identification of how to prove the amount of damages must be considered from the first client interview. Discovery must be shaped to maximize the ultimate damage presentation. In this context, the lawyer must be an equal partner with the damage expert(s) in focusing upon a damage model based on valuation or lost profit and developing the case on that model. To achieve this result, a lawyer should

obtain a basic degree of familiarity regarding the business of the client and the methods used in the client’s industry to value businesses for sale. For example, in a business failure, we typically consider how much the business should have been worth before the events occurred that are outlined in the complaint. In taking this approach, we consider comparable sales or the capitalization of profits, among other approaches. At the same time we often fail to consider the breakup value of a business, which, in many instances, can exceed the value of the whole business under the more traditional valuation models. For example, an established business may be in a decline. Therefore, valuation


based on a multiple of its earnings may significantly understate the value of that business to others. That same business may have unique assets that would enhance the value of the income stream. For example, it may have an established and accepted brand name. The value of that name and related damages could exceed the capitalized value of the actual earnings, assuming the company were to sell or license its trade name and separately dispose of its tangible assets. The royalties from an accepted brand would yield a longterm income stream with a small amount of expenses to administer the same. The value of that incoming stream coupled with the proceeds from the sale of the tangible assets could easily exceed the traditional value achieved solely from reliance upon a multiple of EBIDA or net earnings. Some industries have unique value model standards. For example, in technology-related businesses, it is not unusual for the value of a business not yet profitable to be based upon the cost to build the technology platform or to reproduce the technology and the effect this technology may have, once acquired, on the earnings of the acquiring company. Another possible factor arises when there is an industry consolidation in effect. Often valuation is based upon a projection of the seller’s earnings in the next year (accepting one year of anticipated growth), and then adjusting or eliminating all expenses that would be attributed to owner’s compensation or for services that already exist in the buyer’s business organization. The net earnings reflected by this calculation would be

multiplied by a price earnings multiple of the purchaser, particularly if it is a public company, to yield significantly higher values than traditional valuations based upon net monies capitalized. These same valuation issues are

presented to a family lawyer in the context of dissolution of marriage. Often the family lawyer is attuned to traditional marital issues and is unfamiliar with business valuation. However, because of the importance of equitable distribution, particularly in a high net worth case, these same principles should be understood and employed by the family law practitioner.

Finally, I am sure that a number of my colleagues will believe that because they became lawyers, (and not business experts) that these issues can be boring, and it is sufficient to rely on accountants to value the businesses at issue, particularly in dissolution cases. However, accountants welcome the chance to shine and expand their damage analysis if given the chance. Too often that effort is foreclosed because the lawyer simply does not understand the differences in the valuation approaches. Many years ago I was in an hotly contested contested dispute between the owners of a large healthcare company. One owner believed the value of the company was $25,000,000. The other thought this sum was excessive. They could not agree upon value and therefore could not agree on a buyout. They fought until the damage issues were being developed. We hired investment bankers who valued the company at just under $300 million. The fighting stopped, the company was sold by the investment bankers for the value they computed and both partners continued their lives far wealthier than they had ever envisioned. Andrew C. Hall is the founder and managing partner of Hall, Lamb and Hall, P.A., a Miami-based law firm specializing in complex corporate, business, and securities litigation. Hall can be reached at 2665 S. Bayshore Dr., PH 1 Miami, FL 33133 (305) 374-5030 SOUTH FLORIDA LEGAL GUIDE MIDYEAR 2014


THE FTC ACT AND DATA BREACHES: FTC v. Wyndham Worldwide Corp. By John J. Delionado and Douglas C. Dreier

AT the turn of the 21st century, various high-ranking Federal Trade Commission (FTC) officials stated that the Federal Trade Commission Act does not create requirements for what data-security measures companies must enact to ensure that private information is protected. The FTC Act’s catch-all prohibition against “unfair” or “deceptive” acts or practices, 15 U.S.C. § 45(a), was not believed to cover the data-breach and cyber security domain. Accordingly, if the federal government were to craft strict requirements for security, Congressional action (or at least an executive order) was required. But that was over a decade ago. During the past decade, the FTC pursued several companies with high-profile breaches (e.g., TJX, Heartland, Accretive Health). Then in June 2012, the FTC sued Wyndham Worldwide Corp. and several related

John Delionado



entities. Few companies challenged the FTC’s authority as directly as Wyndham did, and the FTC took undeniably aggressive action against Wyndham. Perhaps frustrated by Wyndham’s prior data breaches and its alleged failure to remediate – and perhaps also frustrated by Congress’s inability to pass comprehensive legislation on this subject (see, e.g., the failure of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, first introduced on November 30, 2011) – the FTC decided to sue Wyndham under the FTC Act’s general prohibition on unfair or deceptive acts or practices. On April 7, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey issued its order and opinion on a motion to dismiss by one of the Wyndham defendants. FTC v. Wyndham Worldwide Corp., No. 131887 (D.N.J. Apr. 7, 2014). The defendant’s motion to dismiss argued three issues:

Douglas Dreier

(1) that the FTC lacks authority to assert an unfairness claim in the context of data security; (2) that the FTC must formally promulgate specific regulations before bringing an unfairness claim; and (3) that the FTC failed to plead with sufficient particularity a violation of the FTC Act. After review, the court denied the motion to dismiss in every respect. First, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the FTC lacks authority to assert an unfairness claim. The court refused to carve out a data-security exception to the FTC’s authority and saw no reason why poor data-security measures could not be deemed to be unfair. The FTC Act defines “unfair” acts or practices as those that “cause[] or [are] likely to cause substantial injury to consumers which [are] not reasonably avoidable by consumers themselves and not outweighed by countervailing benefits to consumers or to competition.” 15 U.S.C. § 45(n). This broad statutory definition for “unfair” would seem to cover poor datasecurity measures, so long as those measures cause or are likely to cause substantial injury that is not reasonably avoidable and not outweighed by “countervailing benefits.” Second, the court rejected the defendant’s argument that the FTC failed to provide fair notice that the defendant’s conduct was illegal. The court characterized defendant’s fair notice argument as requiring that the FTC formally promulgate specific rules before it could sue under the FTC Act. The court noted that this requirement would effectively gut the FTC’s enforcement powers and that courts have never required agencies to abide by such stringent requirements. The FTC Act clearly prohibits unfair acts, and it attempts to define what is “unfair,” even if that definition is somewhat vague. This court determined that the FTC is not required to do anything further.


Third, the court rejected defendant’s argument that the FTC failed to plead that the defendant had violated the FTC Act with sufficient particularity. After discussing the proper standard to apply when analyzing the case, the court credited the FTC’s allegations, which included that Wyndham had failed to: • Employ firewalls permitting storage of payment card information in clear readable text; • Ensure Wyndham’s franchisees implemented adequate information security policies and procedures prior to connecting their local computer networks to defendant’s computer network; • Prevent connection of insecure or out-ofdate servers to defendant’s networks; • Prevent the use of commonly-known default user IDs and passwords for network servers; • Employ commonly-used methods to require user IDs and passwords that are difficult for hackers to guess; • Adequately inventory computers connected to defendant’s network to manage devices on its network;

• Monitor Wyndham’s computer network for malware used in a previous intrusion; • and Restrict third-party access. With the motion to dismiss denied in full, the defendant is now seeking to file an interlocutory appeal on the motion to dismiss. The defendant’s motion to certify the order for interlocutory appeal is currently pending. In the interim, all companies should pay heed to the FTC’s more aggressive stance on enforcement of data-security measures. The allegations against Wyndham, which have not yet been tested, were egregious. Employing firewalls, using complex user IDs and passwords, monitoring malware, restricting third-party access, and regularly downloading security updates are standard measures that every company should do. Although no company is data breach proof, our experience is that the FTC does not act as aggressively in the wake of a data breach where it recognizes the soundness of the company’s data cyber security measures. Wyndham serves as a reminder that companies should stay up-to-date with the

latest security measures, lest they find themselves in a lengthy and expensive battle with the FTC. John J. Delionado is a partner in the Litigation group of Hunton & Williams. Delionado’s practice focuses on internal investigations, cybersecurity matters, privacy litigation and financial institution defense. Douglas C. Dreier is an associate in the Litigation group of Hunton & Williams. Dreier’s practice focuses on business litigation and cybersecurity issues. They can be reached at 1111 Brickell Avenue, Suite 2500 Miami, FL 33131 (305)810-2500 This article presents the views of John J. Delionado and Douglas C. Dreier and does not necessarily reflect those of Hunton & Williams or its clients, or the South Florida Legal Guide. The information presented is for general information and education purposes. No legal advice is intended to be conveyed; readers should consult with legal counsel with respect to any legal advice they require related to the subject matter of the article. SOUTH FLORIDA LEGAL GUIDE MIDYEAR 2014


Advising Your Clients on Philanthropy:


A donor advised fund is a charitable giving vehicle offered by nonprofits and for-profit financial service companies. It is a flexible, convenient, low-cost alternative to the private foundation, easily established with a simple fund agreement and an initial gift. Once established, your client, your client’s family or anyone your client designates may



recommend grants from the fund to any qualified charitable recipient at any time. Both future contributions and grants can be timed to your client’s maximum advantage. Meanwhile, the fund’s assets are invested by the sponsoring charity and the yield of those investments is your client’s to grant as well. Donors initially decide how their


funds will be named and who should be authorized to recommend grants. They contribute tax-deductible assets to establish their fund, advise the sponsoring charity on how the assets should be invested and recommend grants from the funds to charitable organizations of their choice. The sponsoring organization does the record keeping and due diligence. Donor advised funds maximize the tax benefit of your client’s philanthropy. Since the sponsoring charity is recognized by the IRS as a public charity, gifts of appreciated securities (owned for more than a year) are deductible up to 30 percent of the donor’s gross income at their fair market value on the date of the gift and there is no capital gains tax on the appreciation. Other forms of appreciated assets can be contributed as well. Contributions of cash are deductible up to 50 percent of the donor’s gross income. Any unused portion may be carried forward and deducted over the next five years. In a year when a client anticipates an extraordinary income or capital gains tax liability, a donor advised fund provides a shelter while putting in place resources to fund their present and future charitable contributions. A donor advised fund is a combination of convenience, cost savings and tax advantage that is difficult to beat. Some other features of donor advised funds: Many sponsoring charities including the Greater Miami Jewish Federation have significant community planning resources in place to help your clients refine and fulfill their charitable objectives and evaluate the impact of their philanthropy. Most sponsoring charities, including the Foundation of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, allow their donors to manage their donor advised funds securely online. Donors can check fund balances, recommend grants or review fund activity 24/7. Of course, The foundation offers personal support for those donors who are averse to conducting their philanthropy online. Donor advised funds simplify your client’s record keeping – a single tax receipt for the gift made to a donor advised fund may cover it all.

Grants from donor advised funds and even the funds themselves may be anonymous, so unlike private foundations, the donor’s identity can be protected if that is requested. With no minimum distributions, donor advised funds can function as charitable savings accounts as well as charitable checking accounts. Donors can build a pool of social capital for a major project or for granting by subsequent generations. For more than 75 years, the Greater Miami Jewish Federation has been a unifying force for Jewish communitybuilding and philanthropy. The federation works to enrich the quality of Jewish life in Miami-Dade County, in Israel and around the world by bringing comfort and hope to the vulnerable and by investing in programs that build Jewish knowledge, identity and peoplehood. The Foundation of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation is Miami’s Jewish community foundation. It promotes philanthropy through active partnerships with individuals and families seeking to achieve their charitable goals. It supports the mission of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation through the acquisition, professional management and distribution of capital resources. The foundation is proud to be the charitable sponsor of one of Miami-Dade’s largest

donor-advised fund programs. In summary, think of a donor-advised fund as a “charitable bank account” you can establish with as little as $5,000. Such a fund allows your clients to make charitable contributions and realize significant tax advantages, both when the time is right for them. There is no annual qualifying distribution requirement for a donor advised fund. No meetings, corporate record keeping, taxes or tax returns are required and administrative charges are minimal. For more information about donor advised funds at the Foundation of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, please contact Foundation Director Steve Lande at or by telephone at 786-866-8623, or consult Steve Lande has been director of the Foundation of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation since November of 2002. Prior to joining GMJF he directed the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s endowment program for 18 years. A native of Iowa, Lande earned a law degree from Drake University and practiced law in Des Moines before joining the professional staff of the Pittsburgh Jewish Federation. Also admitted to the practice of law in Pennsylvania, Lande is an expert in charitable gift planning. SOUTH FLORIDA LEGAL GUIDE MIDYEAR 2014



OF 2014

These attorneys have been featured in our publication as “Top Up & Comers” for several years. Now, they will be included in our “Top Lawyers” listing starting with our 2015 edition to be published in December. For this Midyear issue, we asked several of our graduating “Top Up and Comers” to tell us about what inspired them to be a lawyer and what they most enjoy about their practice. Here are their comments, along with a list of the new “Top Lawyers Class of 2014.” NATASHA K. ALCIVAR

Product Liability - Defense Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP Fort Lauderdale BRETT A. BARFIELD

Corporate and Business Litigation Holland & Knight LLP Miami DAVID A. BARKUS

Corporate and Business, Securities Greenberg Traurig, P.A. Miami SCOTT A. BASSMAN

Civil Litigation Cole, Scott & Kissane, P.A. Fort Lauderdale LAWRENCE E. BURKHALTER

Product Liability - Defense Weinberg Wheeler Hudgins Gunn & Dial Miami DANIELLE J. BUTLER

Admiralty and Maritime Hill Betts & Nash LLP Fort Lauderdale HOPE W. CALHOUN

Government Law Becker & Poliakoff, P.A. Fort Lauderdale ADAM S. CHOTINER

Labor and Employment Shapiro, Blasi, Wasserman & Gora, P.A. Boca Raton MELODY E. COBBE

Civil Litigation Law Offices of Melody E. Cobbe, PLLC Boca Raton



I was originally inspired to become a lawyer by fictional characters from literature, such as Atticus Finch (“To Kill a Mockingbird”), Jake Brigance (“A Time to Kill”), or Jan Schlichtmann (“A Civil Action”). They single-handedly took on the establishment and prevailed by their sheer determination, character and skill. I think the courtroom is the closest thing we have to a level playing field and I am regularly re-inspired by news stories of lawyers who have changed people’s lives through their advocacy. One of my favorite aspects of my practice is that I can become an expert in whatever field a case involves, whether it is medical causation, how a particular product works or how an industry or business is operated. The ability to translate what you learn so that it is readily understandable to a jury and tells “the other side of the story” is a constant challenge.

My interest in becoming a lawyer was not sparked by a single event or person. I did not know any lawyers personally as I was growing up. My interest began with a curiosity about how things happen. I was always intrigued by the way that the actions of others (choices made and laws created) had an impact on people’s lives. It is amazing to me how two people can look at the same regulations and reasonably interpret them differently. What I enjoy most about my area of practice as a land use and zoning attorney is that the results of my work are tangible. As a result of the great clients that I get to represent, people get new homes, new commercial buildings, new office buildings, new roads, new signs… There is an endless list of the tangible (and some intangible) benefits that I see as I drive throughout South Florida. It is an amazing feeling to know that I had a hand in some part of the progress and development of many municipalities in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties.




Corporate and Business Litigation, Family and Marital Law Offices of Laline Concepcion-Veloso, P.A. Miami Lakes

Commercial and Business Litigation Polenberg, Cooper, Saunders & Riesberg, PL Fort Lauderdale

Criminal Defense/Criminal Law, Securities Sallah Astarita & Cox, LLC Boca Raton



Corporate and Business Litigation Leon Cosgrove LLC Coral Gables

Real Estate Jones, Foster, Johnston & Stubbs, P.A. West Palm Beach






Securities, Corporate and Business Greenberg Traurig, P.A. Miami

Real Estate Shutts & Bowen LLP Miami



Personal Injury and Wrongful Death - Plaintiff Krupnick Campbell Malone Buser Slama Hancock Liberman & McKee, P.A. Fort Lauderdale

Personal Injury and Wrongful Death - Plaintiff Toral Garcia Battista, P.A. Fort Lauderdale


Real Estate Holland & Knight LLP Miami JOHN J. DELIONADO, JR.

Corporate and Business Litigation Hunton & Williams LLP Miami KELLY ANN DELL


Medical Malpractice - Defense Fowler White Burnett P.A. Miami JASON A. GLUSMAN

Civil Litigation Wicker, Smith, O’Hara, McCoy & Ford, P.A. Fort Lauderdale CARLOS F. GONZALEZ

Criminal Defense/Criminal Law Law Offices of Kelly Dell, P.A. Hollywood

Appellate Diaz Reus & Targ LLP Miami



International Commercial Litigation Astigarraga Davis Miami

Criminal Defense/Criminal Law John M. Howe, P.A. West Palm Beach



Product Liability - Defense, Torts - Defense Foley & Mansfield PLLP Miami

Finance, Banking Foley & Lardner, LLP Miami ANDREW S. ITTLEMAN

Administrative Fuerst Ittleman David & Joseph, PL Miami


After college, I was working in the insurance industry as a risk manager. I was able to work with many lawyers on various projects and their jobs seemed much more interesting than a risk manager. So, I decided to go to law school at night. The best part of my practice is helping those in need. When someone is injured in an accident, many times they feel powerless. They are in pain, bills start piling up, and they often times don’t know what to do. I enjoy taking care of all the legal aspects so that they can focus on getting better.


Healthcare DLA Piper LLP (US) Miami SETH M. LEHRMAN

Class Action, Personal Injury and Wrongful Death - Plaintiff Farmer, Jaffe, Weissing, Edwards, Fistos & Lehrman, P.L. Fort Lauderdale JULIE E. NEVINS

I was inspired to become a lawyer by the character Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s novel “To Kill A Mockingbird.” I enjoy helping clients solve problems.


Corporate and Business Litigation, Real Estate - Litigation Carlton Fields Jorden Burt West Palm Beach GUSTAVO J. MEMBIELA

Corporate and Business Litigation Hunton & Williams LLP Miami


Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Plaintiff Podhurst Orseck, P.A. Miami


Civil Litigation Cole, Scott & Kissane, P.A. Miami





Corporate and Business Litigation Richman Greer, P.A. West Palm Beach

Corporate and Business Litigation Herron Ortiz, P.A. Miami



Corporate and Business Litigation Hogan Lovells US LLP Miami

Tax, Trust and Estate Planning Holland & Knight LLP Miami



My parents, through their career choices, showed me the importance of finding a profession in which I could help others. Although my family had its roots in the medical field (my father was a doctor and my mother is a nurse), I preferred language and literature to science. My parents instilled in me the desire to help others with their problems, whether those problems are illness, disease, or financial misfortune. As a lawyer, I get a great sense of satisfaction when I help clients solve problems in an efficient and expeditious manner. Just as my father fought hard to cure illnesses as the only fulltime doctor in my small hometown, I fight hard to find solutions to the business challenges presented by my corporate and financial institution clients. I have always loved a challenge, and I love being an advocate for others, and the ability to combine those desires into my career as a litigator is what I like best about my practice. I love the adrenaline rush I get when I head into court, and try to convince the judge that my argument is the correct one. I love the mental challenge that comes with having to figure out a meaty legal question. I also love that feeling of satisfaction I get when I have successfully helped a client to find a solution to its legal problems. No two cases are ever alike, and each case presents its own challenges. The life of a litigator here in South Florida is never dull! 52


My family’s journey from Cuba inspired me to become a lawyer. This country’s respect for the rule of law is what sets it apart from almost every troubled part of the world. This respect, and the inclusive nature of the American dream has allowed us to thrive. From a very young age, I was drawn to study the law and saw it as my best way to give back to a community that gives me so much. Though much maligned, lawyers are the professionals who enforce that rule of law and ensure this country’s opportunities remain open to all. I love helping people. When someone has been seriously hurt or lost a family member, they have many difficult issues to face. Steering clients through some of these issues is important. Helping someone find out what really caused an accident, or getting them access to needed medical attention or counseling can be more rewarding than a big verdict. I also enjoy being an agent of change. I’ve seen numerous products and workplaces made safer thanks to hard-working trial lawyers, and I’m proud to be a part of that.


In choosing a career, I knew I wanted something that would utilize strong analytical skills and maximize my interaction with a wide variety of people. Originally, I considered investment banking because I enjoyed the analytical side of that world. But I was drawn to law because I felt it gave me a perfect blend of intensive analytics and the opportunity to work together with so many different individuals and businesses. What I find most rewarding about my profession is the impact it allows me to have on my community. Lawyers do not live in a vacuum. To be an effective lawyer means living among those whose lives are impacted by the law. I enjoy the fact that I can deploy my technical skills as a corporate lawyer to assist technology companies and others to realize their visions. At the same time, I take great pride in playing the role of a “connector,” bringing together various aspects of our community working toward the common goals of growth and innovation.





Business Litigation Padula Hodkin, PLLC Boca Raton

Healthcare Broad and Cassel Fort Lauderdale



Personal Injury and Wrongful Death - Plaintiff Gordon & Doner, P.A. Palm Beach Gardens

Litigation Greenberg Traurig, P.A. Miami

Corporate and Business Arrastia Capote & Phang LLP Miami GINA MARIA POLO

Immigration Law Weiss, Alden & Polo, P.A. Miami GRACE E. ROBSON

Bankruptcy Markowitz, Ringel, Trusty & Hartog, P.A. Fort Lauderdale CARLOTTA J. ROOS

Labor and Employment Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP Miami DAVID LEE ROSS

Insurance - Defense Law Offices of David L. Ross, P.A. Miami BRIAN M. SILVERIO

Family and Marital Silverio & Hall, P.A. Miami NOAH D. SILVERMAN

Torts- Defense Foreman Friedman, P.A. Miami JAMES A. STEPAN JASON A. GLUSMAN

My inspiration to become a lawyer came from my desire to be professionally independent. Since I was young, I wanted to take a path not yet traveled by my parents and grandparents by furthering my education from college to law school. My family has also inspired me to pursue my goal of earning the respect of my family, friends and community. The part of my practice I like best is being able to leave my mark on every case I touch. Whether in trial, hearings, case development, client relations or working with my team, I enjoy having an impact in furthering our clients’ interests towards successful results. I am privileged to be surrounded by fantastic partners, associates and staff, and I am proud to represent our clients.

Intellectual Property Mayback & Hoffman, P.A. Fort Lauderdale


As a first generation Cuban-American, I grew up listening to stories of how my parents were forced into exile. They left in the early 1960s to start all over in a new country. Their struggles motivated me to pursue a career in a field dedicated to fighting for justice. I was also inspired by my grandfather, who was a physician in Cuba but had to start over to become a licensed physician in the U.S. He returned to school and cleaned labs to make ends meet. He always told me that you can lose your belongings but never the knowledge you gain. At first I wanted to follow in his footsteps to become a physician, but instead pursued health law. Today, I am able to apply my love of law to supporting physicians like my grandfather. I enjoy helping physicians and other health care providers who are faced with unanticipated and often tough legal challenges. Healthcare is a highly regulated industry and the laws and regulations are constantly evolving, and health care providers need guidance and assistance to keep up with these changes. Many of my clients remind me of my grandfather, who just wanted to practice medicine. They are taught to take care of others, not always to deal with certain legal issues. It is rewarding to be able to step in and help them.


Banking Litigation Levine Kellogg Lehman Schneider + Grossman LLP Miami VERONICA VILARCHAO

Tax Foley & Lardner, LLP Miami GREGORY S. WEISS

Complex Business Litigation Mrachek, Fitzgerald, Rose, Konopka, Thomas & Weiss, P.A. West Palm Beach








Steve Cohen is the Executive Vice President of Sabadell United Bank, a full-service $3.6 billion commercial bank based in Miami. Sabadell United Bank, a subsidiary of the well-respected Banco Sabadell group based in Spain. In his role at Sabadell, Cohen is responsible for the team that generates new commercial real estate loans and maintains banking relationships with commercial real estate investors and developers. Cohen joined Sabadell in January 2012 after spending 28 years in the commercial banking industry in various leadership roles throughout Florida. While with the SunTrust organization, he lived in South, Southwest, Central and North Florida. Cohen and his team are known for taking a creative approach for meeting their clients’ financial needs and objectives. A University of Florida graduate, Cohen is a former chairman of the University of Florida’s Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies Advisory Board. He also serves as board chairman of First Housing Development in Tampa. He has also been a member of various real estate organizations, such as ICSC, NAIOP, CREW, ULI and various local charitable organizations.


Adam S. Hall handles matters involving complex corporate and business litigation. In addition to commercial litigation, Hall focuses his practice on cases involving disputes between businesses, professional malpractice, securities, real estate, and probate disputes. Recognized for his relentless advocacy on behalf of clients, he has litigated cases involving broker-dealer disputes, will contests, breach of fiduciary relationships, construction disputes, and malpractice disputes involving law firms or accounting firms. Beyond his legal work, Hall is actively involved in the South Florida community. Hall currently serves on the Greater Miami Jewish Federation South Dade Branch Board of Directors. Hall has also served on the board of directors for the United Way of Miami-Dade County and has been a member of the executive committee for the United Way’s Young Leader division, including service as its chairman. Hall also maintains strong ties to the University of Florida, where he earned his law and bachelor’s degrees with honors. He is currently a member of the University’s Levin College of Law Alumni Council and serves on the alumni advisory board for Florida Blue Key, of which he was previously a member.






Attorney Andrew C. Hall has tried cases arising from some of the nation’s most significant historical events. From the Watergate trials in the 1970s to the Ohio savings and loan crisis in the late 80s, to the 2000 terrorist attack on the USS Cole, Hall’s trial skills are recognized as among the top echelon of litigators in the nation. Recently, Hall secured a $2.8 billion judgment on behalf of a Cuban expatriate for damages stemming from the continued terror attacks launched against his family by the Cuban government. He has been recognized as one of “The Best Lawyers in America” by Best Lawyers for over 10 years. Additionally, he is regularly featured in Super Lawyers and Florida Trend’s Legal Elite as among the top commercial litigators in the state. He has been recognized as a “Most Effective Lawyer” by the Daily Business Review for the past three years. He is AV rated by Martindale Hubbell, the highest independent peer-based rating available to an individual lawyer.





Denis Kleinfeld is known as a lawyer, author and teacher. His preferred legal focus is U.S. and international wealth preservation, asset protection planning, and related tax matters. Kleinfeld is of counsel to Fuerst Ittleman David & Joseph, PL and an adjunct professor at the LLM Program – International Tax and Financial Services - at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Kleinfeld’s published works include “Practical International Tax Planning,” (Practicing Law Institute), “Administration of Trusts in Florida” (The Florida Bar), “Asset Protection Strategies: Wealth Preservation Planning with Domestic and Offshore Entities Vols. I and II,” (American Bar Association) and the “LexisNexis Guide to FATCA.” He is a member of the Board of Editors of Estate Planning Magazine, co-chairman for the Florida Annual Wealth Protection Conference, and is a frequent blogger on “Insider” for Kleinfeld is a member of The Florida Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, American Association of Attorney-CPAs, and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.








Michael B. Kornhauser is a senior attorney with Fuerst Ittleman David and Joseph, PL. He practices in the areas of commercial and civil litigation, representing a variety of clients on matters including nursing home/assisted living facility negligence defense litigation, corporate shareholder disputes, construction litigation, probate litigation, real estate litigation, landlord/tenant disputes, domestic relations litigation, and various contract disputes. In doing so, Kornhauser has successfully handled cases through jury verdict throughout the state of Florida. Kornhauser also focuses a large portion of his practice serving as outside counsel to skilled nursing facilities throughout Florida, handling employment-related matters, nursing home acquisitions, contract negotiations, government survey and audit support, and deficiency citation appeals. In addition, Kornhauser counsels his health care clients (and has lectured) on regulatory compliance issues including Physician Self-Referral laws (a/k/a “Stark Laws”), Anti-Kickback laws, and HIPAA, and also advises such clients on state and federal health care regulations.


Adam J. Lamb is a partner at Hall, Lamb and Hall whose practice is focused on commercial litigation including shareholder and partnership disputes, intellectual property litigation, legal malpractice, and real estate litigation. Lamb has been recognized by a number of publications, including the South Florida Legal Guide, and has received the highest AV peer review rating by Martindale Hubbell. An active member of the legal community, he is a member of the American Bar Association, the Miami-Dade County Bar Association, the American Association for Justice, and the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. Lamb received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his juris doctorate from the University of Florida. Lamb is a member of The Florida Bar and is admitted to the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida. Additionally, he has litigated various federal and state cases under pro hac vice status in New York, New Jersey, Michigan, and the District of Columbia.






Sandy Londono is Vice President of Commercial Real Estate lending for Sabadell United Bank, a full-service $3.6 billion commercial bank based in Miami. Sabadell United Bank, a subsidiary of the well-respected Banco Sabadell group from Spain. In her role at Sabadell, Londono is responsible for commercial real estate lending and has provided financing on retail, office, multifamily, hotel and marina facilities as well as construction loans. She joined the Sabadell team in June 2012 after spending 20 years as a commercial real estate appraiser. Prior to joining Sabadell United, she was the managing director for Colliers International Valuation and Advisory Services for Southeast Florida and the Caribbean. She performed valuation work on all asset types for U.S. and Latin American clients throughout the U.S. and Caribbean. Londono’s knowledge of the real estate markets allows her to assists clients in achieving their financial needs and objectives. She holds the professional designation of MAI and is an advisory board member of the University of Florida’s Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. She is also a member of various real estate organizations such as ICSC, CREW, and various local charitable organizations.

Catherine McGrail, the Marketing Director of Foodman CPA’s & Associates, is a seasoned executive with more than 25 years of experience in international banking. Over the years McGrail has held key management positions in marketing and sales with international banks and corporations in the United States, Europe and Latin America. While working for Bank of America and ABN AMRO, she headed regional sales and marketing teams, obtaining a unique specialization in international and cross border transactional banking and account structures. In the areas of international banking product and technologies, McGrail led product diversification strategies in Latin America for both BLADEX (Banco Latino Americano de Exportacion) and Alterna Technologies. Most recently, McGrail was the sales and marketing director for the Florida International Bankers Association (FIBA). McGrail is a graduate of I.E. (Instituto de Empresa) from Madrid, Spain and has an Executive M.B.A. She is a native speaker in English and Spanish and is also fluent in French.










Leon N. Patricios leads the litigation practice at Zumpano Patricios & Winker, P.A. He focuses on healthcare-related litigation, including managed care contract disputes, complex commercial cases, and employment related litigation. Patricios also has experience in ad valorem tax and family matters. His peers have elected him to the list of “Top Lawyers in South Florida” as published in the South Florida Legal Guide. Patricios is admitted to practice in Florida before all of its state courts. He is also admitted to practice in the U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Middle Districts of Florida as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. In addition to appearing in court, Patricios has represented clients before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Labor, the Division of Unemployment Compensation and other agencies. Patricios earned his B.B.A, M.S.T. and J.D. from the University of Miami.






Ryan P. Sadorf is a Financial Operations Principal and General Securities Principal in the securities industry. As CFO of several portfolio companies, Sadorf has been responsible for fiscal management of an institutional fixed income broker dealer, master-feeder fund investment advisor, and bank advisory business; including middle and back office financial operations: accounting, regulatory and financial audits, information technology, tax, compliance, settlement and trading operations. In addition, Sadorf has served as principal, chief operating officer, and chief compliance officer for an international SEC-registered investment advisor, which grew from $100 million to $700 million in net assets under management during his tenure. Sadorf managed dayto-day operations, business integration, and strategic initiatives during the company’s rapid expansion. Earlier in his career, Sadorf worked as a financial advisor and systems architect for the largest broker dealer in the Southeast, integrating and automating mutual fund accounting, portfolio management, compliance, transfer agent, and marketing departments. Sadorf has degrees in finance, insurance, and risk management from the University of Florida. He has completed FINRA Series 7, 24, 27, and 65 exams and holds active FINRA licenses for each.


Orlando Roche is the Regional President of Sabadell Bank & Trust Miami-Dade County. He is responsible for overseeing private banking, wealth management and fiduciary services within the region. Roche has more than 25 years of experience in private wealth management. Prior to joining Sabadell, Roche was a senior banking officer at Northern Trust, responsible for all private banking in Miami-Dade County. Prior to Northern Trust, Roche spent a number of years as the vice president of commercial banking and private banking at SunTrust Bank. An active member of his community, Roche is a board member of Feeding South Florida, the Florida International University Foundation, the University of Miami Business School Advisory Board, and the University of Miami Citizens Board. He is also a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), Belen Jesuit Prep Alumni Association, and a trustee of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce. Originally from Havana, Cuba, Roche was raised in Miami and is currently located in Sabadell’s Miami office. He earned a BBA from Florida International University with a major in finance and economics.



Pierre A. Saliba provides international and domestic tax, forensic accounting, litigation support and advisory services to clients in a broad range of industries including healthcare (Medicare and Medicaid fraud and regulatory compliance), manufacturing and not-for-profit organizations. He assists clients with domestic and international corporate and personal taxation services, due diligence and evidence retrieval. He also works with clients on voluntary disclosure matters. As firm manager, Saliba also leads Foodman’s focus on client service. He brings prior experience as a cost accountant, controller and production manager in the garment industry, both in the U.S. and internationally. Fluent in French, Creole and Spanish, he serves as president of the Haitian American Chamber of Commerce. Saliba is also an active member of other Miami civic and charitable organizations, devoting both time and resources to helping those in need.








David Winker is board certified as a specialist in health law by The Florida Bar and focuses his practice on domestic and international health care transactions and regulatory compliance issues. Winker has counseled providers in connection with overpayment reviews, program suspensions and federal and state criminal, civil and administrative investigations, and assisted providers with contracting, corporate structuring, real estate and estate planning issues. In addition, Winker has provided counseling on licensure matters and regulatory and legislative initiatives affecting Medicare and Medicaid providers and suppliers (including coverage and reimbursement issues). Winker’s peers have elected him to the list of the top lawyers in South Florida as published in the South Florida Legal Guide (2003-2014), to the Legal Elite as published by Florida Trend Magazine (2006 - 2010) and to Super Lawyer’s magazine. He has received Martindale Hubbell’s highest rating-AV. Winker earned a degree in political science at Florida State University and a J.D. from the University of Florida.

As president and managing shareholder, Joseph I. Zumpano has overseen the growth of the firm as it has expanded to 60 members with locations in 15 countries. He focuses his practice on complex healthcare law and international law matters. Zumpano’s accomplishments, widely covered by the media, include his pioneering the business theory of “New Globalism” and the historic case Weininger v. Castro, in which ZP&W obtained a $86.5 million judgment against the Castro brothers and the Army of Cuba. Zumpano assembled the legal team in the effort that resulted in the collection of $24 million on the judgment. More recently, Zumpano led his team to pierce a Bahamian Trust in the case Breitenstine v. Breitenstine et. al. After a seven-year battle to recover the funds therein, the court ordered the turnover of approximately $4 million in assets. Zumpano earned a BA from Harvard University and a dual degree in law and public health from Georgetown University and Johns Hopkins University.




WITH THE SPONSORSHIP OF SABADELL UNITED BANK South Florida Legal Guide hosted its annual cocktail reception celebrating the publication’s


Ed Blumberg, Harry Payton, Andrew Berman and Bud Clarke

Anne and Benjamin Zuckerman

Stanley Foodman and Jacob Safdeye Mitchell Fuerst, Alan Weisberg and Ronald Kriss

Irene Oria, Patricia Acosta and Juan Enjamio Samuel Rabin, Norman and Jane Moscowitz and Terrence Connor

Mark Zientz and Bernard Probst



Andrew Herron, Eliot Abbott and Douglas Halsey

John Arrastia and Bert De Armas

Henry Bolz and Mark Schnapp

Andrew Markus, Steve Cohen and Gilbert Squires

Patrick Morris, Heather Patchen and Tomas Gamba

Jacob Safdeye, Ed Blumberg, Richard Westlund and Mitchell Fuerst

Katie Phang, Peter Baumberger, Maria Yip and Scott Dimond

David Winker

Alan Fiske, William Kramer and Robert Geisler

Marshall Burack, George Volsky and Laura Holm

Peter Gampel and Michael Chesal

Daniel Gilfarb and Brian Excelbert

Alice Sum and William Trueba



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