In the latest issue of Florida Super Lawyers & Rising Stars magazine (available online, digitally, via app, and of course in magazine form), we sharpen our pencils to profile Top 100 attorney Jane Kreusler-Walsh, an appellate lawyer who knows what judges really want: a well-edited brief. Fortunately, that's the only kind Kreusler-Walsh knows how to produce.
From a rather inauspicious start as a "baby lawyer" crammed into a windowless storeroom, she rose to new heights--literally--and now owns the firm, which is located three floors above her former cramped office. Helping to propel her career have been a number of landmark cases, including Thompson v. Thompson, which established that the good will of a business is a marital asset that can be divided in a divorce; and Wransky v. Dalfo, which reaffirmed that punitive damage awards must be in proportion to a defendant's net worth.
Despite her winning record, Kreusler takes nothing for granted: "I still get nervous before every oral argument. I want to walk out the door and say I did the best I could, win or lose."
Bruce Rogow, an appellate lawyer with Alters Law Firm in Miami who has opposed Kreusler-Walsh many times, calls her "a formidable opponent." Here's why: "The key to a good presentation is oral argument and an ability to think on one's feet, and Jane can do both," Rogow says. "Jane sticks to the facts and the law, and tries to find the hole in the needle in order to prevail."
As Hill says, "I think probably one of the greatest compliments that an attorney can have is when you try a case against a lawyer on another side, and two or three years later that lawyer comes to you for assistance for their own personal needs, or they've referred one of their good clients to you."
That sort of thing happens to Hill on a regular basis. He's also served as general counsel to former Gov. Bob Graham and is currently on the American Bar Association committee that evaluates all the president's candidates for federal judgeships.
We also pick the brains of three attorneys who played a role in the landmark, headline-grabbing decision overturning Florida's decades-old ban on gay adoptions--Hilarie Bass, Elliot Scherker and Scott Rubin. We find out what motivates Howard Talenfeld in his longstanding battle for the rights of Florida's foster children, and take a look at his remarkable record of reforming the state's foster care, juvenile delinquency and mental health systems. Harley Riedel tells us why he was drawn to work for his mentor, Don Stichter, despite the frugal Stichter's less than over-the-top campaign to recruit the young Riedel. LaShawnda Jackson shares what it's like having a mentor like Scott Kirk who's "always got my back." Plus, Bryan Gowdy takes on the state of Florida and wins; and Prineet Sharma makes sure land-takings are fair to both takers and sellers.