About Me & My Approach
About Me & My Approach
Most people, after they get to know me, realize I’m not like most other lawyers. I don’t pretend to be, I don’t aspire to be, and I don’t want to be.
If you’re thinking of hiring me (or any other lawyer) to work on a litigation matter, let me share some things that will help you make a better decision.
First of all, being a great trial lawyer requires a special skill set. And after 30 years and countless trials, I can confidently say I possess that skill set.
That is, I know how to take a case to trial with the greatest efficiency (i.e. without wasting time or money).
More importantly, I know how to prepare in a way that maximizes your odds of negotiating a favorable settlement or winning at trial (if a settlement doesn’t happen).
So what’s the secret to succeeding at trial?
There are many skills that come into play, but one of the most important ones is this: a deep understanding of what I call “street psychology.”
Why is understanding street psychology a key to success?
Because it gives me keen awareness of how people will behave under stressful situations. As you probably know, people tend to make poor decisions under stress. Even lawyers.
Being able to sense when this is about to happen is useful. But being able to take tactical advantage of it is even more useful.
You see, in the stress of litigation, even otherwise self-confident people start acting in surprisingly self-defeating ways.
Witnesses, lawyers, and clients.
Yes, even the people who hire lawyers get filled with stress and then start making self-defeating decisions. And of course, that’s very unfortunate, especially when it involves important corporate cases (i.e. so-called “bet the company litigation”)
It’s unfortunate when clients sabotage their own cases, but it happens.
Fortunately, self-defeating clients is a problem I can control. How?
It’s simple: I don’t work with those kinds of clients.
Of course, I understand why people make self-defeating decisions.
They believe they’re making carefully considered decisions that seem like “safe bets.” Later on, they’re surprised to find out that some of those safe bets are actually insidious traps.
A complex trial is filled with insidious traps, as any experienced trial lawyer knows.
Avoiding insidious traps is what give us an edge. It’s how we increase our odds of success at trial.
Co-counsel who harbor an unreasonable reverence for safe bets is another problem to be avoided.
Experienced trial lawyers understand the reflexive quest for safe bets leads to mindless conformity, which in turn leads to mediocrity.
And we know that to win at trial you have to be exceptional, not mediocre.
So I don’t work with lawyers who are mediocre. That’s another way I increase my odds of success.
You see, too many lawyers just don’t understand how to try cases efficiently and effectively. They don’t know how to pick their battles. They overdo everything and don’t mind charging the client for the extra effort.
But, like I said at the outset, I’m not like most lawyers.
My Secret Weapon
I’m relentlessly opportunistic at every stage.
In short, I prey on weak lawyers—i.e. the ones who don’t know how to effectively try cases.
And trust me, there are of them plenty to take advantage of.
Many clients don’t fully grasp a dirty little secret of our profession, something that more clients should know, but don’t…
Most so-called “litigators” are afraid of trial.
Sure, many of them appear calm on the outside. But experienced trial lawyers know that’s a facade.
Deep down, they’re deathly afraid of the unpredictable. They know going to trial will make them confront overwhelming uncertainty.
But me? I’m not afraid of uncertainty. In a weird way I actually thrive on it.
And that gives me a huge edge. One that I exploit that to the fullest extent at every stage of the matter.
I Play Poker
Listen, most lawyers think that litigation is like a chess match. They think it’s a game where one can meticulously evaluate all the pieces on the board, calmly pondering the best possible moves.
They think they’re playing a game governed purely by logic. Which of course is completely wrong.
In fact, litigation is more like poker. Because it’s a game where no one ever has complete information.
So in litigation, as in poker, you have to be comfortable making good decisions with incomplete information.
That is, you have to be comfortable dealing with uncertainty in a skillful way. But you have to be able to do it in a drama-filled courtroom populated by impatient judges, skeptical juries and combative adversaries.
This is an incredibly difficult skill to acquire. And the only way you learn is by taking lots of cases to trial.
Which is what most lawyers are afraid of doing.
Lawyers To Avoid
Lawyers who have little trial experience try to allay fear by doing exhaustive research and excessive discovery.
They haven’t come to terms with the blunt truth: you can’t win a poker game by acting like a chess master.
And did I mention that these “litigators” are constantly wasting their client’s money?
Look, if you have an important litigation matter, I suggest you find an experienced trial lawyer.
You want someone with exceptionally good people skills. Someone who can relate to juries and judges, and who can get along with opposing counsel as much as possible.
You want someone who can craft a sensible strategy, but who isn’t afraid to change it when something unpredictable happens (as it inevitably does in complex litigation).
Yes, that’s the kind of lawyer you need to hire. But be warned: they’re in short supply and hard to find.
I’m one of those lawyers, but I don’t work with just anyone for the reasons I mentioned above.
How to decide
Before you decide you want to talk to me, I recommend you check out what other folks I’ve worked with say about me. Or ask around, and do some more research on your own.
The more you learn about me, the more you’ll feel comfortable making the right decision.
And whenever you’re ready to talk in person, just give me a call.
Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa, (2016) Nova Southeastern University School of Law, Miami, Florida
Broward County Hispanic Bar Association’s Gracias Award (2014)
CABA’s “Passing on the Leadership” Mentorship Award (2009)
The Florida Bar G. Kirk Haas Award (2005)
Haitian Lawyers Association Significant Contribution Award (2006)
Honors & Awards
- Gracias Award
- Top Lawyers in South Florida
- Passing on the Leadership Mentoring Award
- Significant Contribution Award
- G. Kirk Haas Humanitarian Award
- Florida Legal Elite
- Florida Super Lawyers
American College of Trial Lawyers
American Board of Trial Advocates
Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel
The Florida Bar
American Bar Association
Third District Court of Appeal
Cuban American Bar Association
City of Miami, Florida
Florida Bar Foundation