Attorneys

Contact

South Florida Office
One Financial Plaza, 23rd Floor
100 Southeast Third Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, Florida  33394
(954) 492-4010 (tel)
(954) 492-1144 (fax)

Assistant Name:
Yuly Torres

Assistant E-mail:
ytorres@cftlaw.com

Assistant Phone:
(954) 492-4010 x1214

Howard M. Talenfeld
Shareholder
htalenfeld@cftlaw.com

Florida Child Advocate Blog - www.FloridaChildAdvocate.com

Howard Talenfeld, shareholder in the firm since 1982, focuses his practice on protecting the rights of vulnerable individuals in civil rights cases, personal injury cases and systemic reform litigation. He has litigated cases that have resulted in multi-million dollar settlements and jury verdicts that changed how governmental and private institutions care for children and the elderly. Mr. Talenfeld is also experienced in litigating complex commercial and class action cases in state and federal courts.

In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Mr. Talenfeld represented the state of Florida in its major class-action law suits dealing with the foster care system, children’s mental health system, juvenile justice system, state psychiatric hospitals and the provision of Medicaid services to the developmentally disabled, among others. Nationally, he pioneered defending these cases by advocating for the improvement and reform of human service systems, while protecting states’ rights and avoiding federal over-sight. He has represented governors, secretaries of state, state agencies, Florida’s Insurance Commissioner, the Florida Legislature and Florida’s Auditor General in civil rights cases in federal and state court.

His successes in the areas of children’s and elderly rights have garnered Mr. Talenfeld his greatest personal accomplishments. In 1996, he was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Youth Law Center, a national children’s advocacy group. He helped the organization develop into a viable entity that assist at-risk youth and teens. Continuing that path, he began an effort to coordinate a statewide organization of child advocates who would help Florida’s at-risk children. In 2002, he became the founding President of Florida’s Children First (FCF). Comprised of advocates from throughout the state of Florida, FCF works through multi-forum advocacy before the executive branch, the Florida Legislature and the Florida Courts to protect children who are at risk in foster care and in the delinquency system in Florida. Mr. Talenfeld was instrumental in the passage of landmark legislation in Florida, including the Foster Children Bill of Rights, Florida’s pilot project on representation of foster children in Dependency Court, and Florida’s breakthrough interagency education bill for foster children.

Mr. Talenfeld’s litigation successes have utilized creative legal approaches to achieve extraordinary results. In 1998, he served as lead counsel in the Broward County foster care class action, Ward v. Kearney. The resulting settlement agreement greatly improved child welfare practice and more than tripled the District 10 budget for its child welfare system from $38 million to more than $100 million. In 1999, he achieved another major victory, this time for the Florida’s developmentally disabled population in Baumstein v. Sunrise Community, Inc. 738 So. 2d 420, (Fla. 3DCA 1999). The case established the existence of a private cause of action for damages for the violation of Florida’s Bill of Rights for the developmentally disabled. He also was the first attorney in Florida to utilize 42 USC § 1983, the federal civil rights damage statute, to recover a damage award in excess of Florida’s sovereign immunity limit of $100,000 on behalf of a foster child. In the 2002 case, Roe v. Florida Department of Children & Family Services, 176 F. Supp. 2d 1310 (S.D. Fla. 2001), Mr. Talenfeld negotiated a landmark $5 million settlement and focused the nation’s attention on the case in an episode of ABC’s 20/20.

Beyond his courtroom successes, Mr. Talenfeld has been a forceful advocate for change. He has argued for systemic reform litigation before many state and national groups, including the U.S. Congress, the National Association of State Mental Health Lawyers, the American Public Welfare Association and many Florida legislative committees.

Mr. Talenfeld is a member of the American Bar Association, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, and the National Association of Council for Children. He previously chaired the Litigation/Class Action Committee and was a representative for the State of Florida to the National Association of Mental Health Attorneys (1993). He has received numerous awards, including Lifestyle Media Group's "Leader in Law" in 2014. He has been recognized as a Top Lawyer in the South Florida Legal Guide and he was named the Daily Business Review’s Most Effective Lawyer in the Public Interest category in 2013. Additionally, he was selected by the South Florida Business Journal as a Key Partners Awards honoree in 2012 and he received The Florida Bar President's 2006 Pro Bono Service Award for the 17th Judicial Circuit in and for Broward County, Florida. Mr. Talenfeld is an AV Preeminent® Top Rated Lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell™ and has been named in Florida Super Lawyers Magazine since 2006.

Among other memberships, Mr. Talenfeld chairs the Broward Days Children's Issues Team (2000-present), was a Director of Florida's Voice of the Mentally Retarded and sat on the Steering Committee for Citizens for Broward's Children in 2000. He was also former Director with the Youth Law Center in San Francisco, CA. Among civic organizations, he was former President and Director of the Cypress Head Club Inc.; and is on the City of Parkland Board of Adjustment and Planning and Zoning Board, which he chaired for many years. He served on the Board of Trustees and chaired the Campaign Committee of Temple Kol Tikvah, was a Board Member of Hurricane Relief for Miami Foster Kids Inc., served as a Big Brother, and has coached various sports teams, including soccer, baseball and softball.

Mr. Talenfeld received his bachelors of business administration degree from University of Miami School of Business, and his Juris Doctorate from University of Miami School of Law, cum laude.


Recently Published Articles and MEDIA APPEARANCES

· New York Times--August 27, 2014--"Eight in Adoption Abuse Case Agree to $17.5 Million Settlement With Foster Agencies" Howard Talenfeld quoted in this piece and served as plaintiffs' co-counsel

· Florida Bar News--August 15, 2014--"A dozen years later, a cause to celebrate" Children's rights attorney Howard Talenfeld was quoted regarding the passing of a law to provide attorneys for special needs children in the care of DCF.

· Tampa Tribune--July 8, 2014--"New child-safety law must be monitored" Florida child advocate Howard Talenfeld's comments on Florida's new child safety law.

· Daily Business Review--June 26, 2014--"Foster children with special needs now get representation" Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb Shareholder Howard Talenfeld quoted on the signing of HB 561, a measure to provide funding for attorneys for dependent children with special needs.

· Miami Herald--June 26, 2014--"Gov. Scott signs two bills into law to help disabled children" Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb Shareholder Howard Talenfeld quoted on the signing of HB 561, a measure to provide funding for attorneys for dependent children with special needs.

· Daily Business Review--May 23, 2014--"Children's Advocacy Bill Awaits Governor's Signature" Howard Talenfeld of Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb was featured regarding HB 561, a bill that would provide attorneys for dependent children with special needs.

· WLRN--May 14, 2014--"Understanding The Guardian Ad Litem Program" Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb Shareholder and child advocate attorney Howard Talenfeld was interviewed regarding the state’s Guardian ad Litem program. 

· Florida Bar News--May 15, 2014--"Measure to provide attorneys for special-needs kids passes" Children’s rights advocate Howard Talenfeld quoted on the passing of SB 972, a bill that would provide attorneys for special needs children in the care of DCF.

· Sarasota Herald Tribune--April 30, 2014--"Bill guarantees representation to special needs foster children" Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb Shareholder Howard Talenfeld is quoted in this article about the passing of SB 972

· Florida Bar News—April 7, 2014—"Bills would provide lawyers for special-needs kids” Florida’s Children First President Howard Talenfeld was interviewed regarding bills in both the House and Senate that would provide state-paid attorneys for dependent children with special needs.

· WPBT 2--March 21, 2014--“Fixing DCF” Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb Shareholder Howard Talenfeld was a guest on “Issues” to discuss the Florida Department of Children and Families and a recent Miami Herald investigative series titled, "Innocents Lost," highlighting child deaths that may have been preventable with proper oversight from Florida's Department of Children and Families (DCF).

· Bradenton Herald--March 23, 2014--“Florida has obligation to improve child protection” Letter to the Editor by Children’s rights advocate Howard Talenfeld regarding a report that examines the deaths of 477 children who were known to be at risk by the Department of Children & Families.

·  Miami Herald--March 18, 2014--“Protect children from future risks” Letter to the Editor by Children’s rights advocate Howard Talenfeld regarding a report that examines the deaths of 477 children who were known to be at risk by the Department of Children & Families.

· WTVJ NBC 6 TV--March 17, 2014--"Children's Deaths Under Department of Children and Families Watch Probed" Children’s rights advocate Howard Talenfeld interviewed regarding a Miami Herald investigative report that examines the deaths of 477 children who were known to be at risk by the Department of Children & Families.

· Miami Herald--March 12, 2014--"Legislators propose improvements to ‘porous’ child welfare system" Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb Shareholder and children’s rights advocate Howard Talenfeld spoke before the Florida Senate on March 11, 2014 to advocate for improvements to the state’s child welfare system and to add lawyers for disabled kids.

· Sun-Sentinel--December 23, 2013--"DCF job may be tough sell" Howard Talenfeld, a child advocacy attorney and shareholder with Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb P.A., was quoted in this Sun-Sentinel article regarding the next Secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families.

· News Service of Florida--December 18, 2013--“SCOTT FACES TOUGH DECISION ON NEXT DCF SECRETARY”--Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb Shareholder Howard Talenfeld, was quoted in this piece regarding the next Secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families.

· WPLG Local 10--November 17, 2013--"This Week in South Florida" Florida child advocate Howard Talenfeld was a guest on this show to discuss the issues with DCF after the deaths of at least 25 children since April.

· Daily Business Review--November 14, 2013--"Attorneys Help Wellington Family Win $5 Million Judgment Against DCF" $5 million Verdicts & Settlements Feature.

· Tampa Bay Times--November 10, 2013--"Best practices for care" Florida's Children First President Howard Talenfeld discusses the need to keep foster children with their families whenever possible in this editorial piece.

· Miami Herald--November 3, 2013--"Fla. abuse victim wins $5M lawsuit against DCF" Children's Rights attorney Howard Talenfeld secures $5 million verdict against the Florida Department of Children and Families for young boy who suffered abuse.

· Palm Beach Post--October 2, 2013--"Father sues state child agency for placing troubled boy in their home who sexually abused his son Children’s rights attorney Howard Talenfeld serves as co-counsel in this case against the Florida Department of Children and Families and other child care agencies.

· WFOR CBS Miami--September 24, 2013--"Boy Sues DCF For Negligence" Children’s rights attorneys with Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb P.A.  have filed a lawsuit on behalf of a boy who was stabbed in the head by his father, a known pedophile who also killed the boy’s older brother and a bystander and seriously injured the mother. 

· Miami Herald--August 24, 2013--When will the deaths of innocent children end?” In a recent letter to the editor, Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb Shareholder Howard Talenfeld wrote about the unprecedented number of deaths of children under DCF care. 

· WTVJ NBC 6--July 31, 2013--"Cluster of Child Deaths Unprecedented and Alarming, Advocates Say" Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb Shareholder Howard Talenfeld discusses the current issues at the Florida Department of Children & Families in this TV interview.

· WFSU--July 24, 2013--"Interim DCF Chief Calls On Staff To Refocus; Child Advocates Say It's A Start" Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb Shareholder Howard Talenfeld discusses the current issues at the Florida Department of Children & Families in this radio interview.

· Daily Business Review—July 22, 2013--"Feds: State Illegally Housing Disabled Children In Nursing Homes" Florida Child Advocate Howard Talenfeld was interviewed regarding the DOJ lawsuit against Florida for the care of children in nursing homes.

· Miami Herald—July 19, 2013--"DCF has new chance to get it right" An opinion piece on the departure of DCF Secretary Wilkins by Florida’s Children First President Howard Talenfeld.

· WSVN & WFOR Miami TV--June 12, 2013--"Howard Talenfeld interviewed regarding Antwan Hope" Florida Children's attorney Howard Talenfeld spoke about DCF and the case of Antwan Hope.

· Sun-Sentinel--June 5, 2013--"Foster kids need a voice to speak for them” Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb Shareholder and Florida’s Children First President Howard Talenfeld penned this op ed regarding the appropriations for medically fragile foster children.

 · Daily Business Review--March 28, 2013--"Attorneys help find child-welfare agencies negligent" Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb’s Howard Talenfeld, Stacie Schmerling and Joel Fass secure $2.2 million settlement in a case involving the suspected abuse of two kindergarten-age sisters.

 · Daily Business Review--February 19, 2013-- “More must be done for at-risk children and their parents” Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb Shareholder Howard Talenfeld authored this byline article about AHCA’s changes to Parental Responsibility for Home Health Services.

· Sun-Sentinel--February 6, 2013--"Howard M. Talenfeld: Has DCF learned lesson from cases?" Opinion piece from Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb Shareholder Howard Talenfeld regarding Rilya Wilson verdict and lessons learned.

· 2013 Edition South Florida Legal Guide

· Daily Business Review--January 30, 2013--"Rilya Wilson verdict provides no answers" Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb Shareholder and Children’s Rights Advocate Howard Talenfeld examines the Rilya Wilson verdict.

· WSVN 7--January 22, 2013--"Suspected sexual abuser at Kids in Distress" Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb Children’s Rights Attorney Howard Talenfeld was interviewed regarding a man who allegedly sexually abused two teenage girls at Kids in Distress.

· Daily Business Review--December 11, 2012--"Mistreated disabled adoptees get $9.7 million NYC settlement" Children’s Rights Attorney Howard Talenfeld part of team that secured $9.7 million to settle a lawsuit filed on behalf of 10 former foster children who suffered years of abuse and mistreatment.

· New York Times--December 6, 2012--"City Settles With Disabled People Fraudulently Adopted in ’90s and Abused" Children’s Rights Advocate Howard Talenfeld helped secure a $9.7 million settlement with the City of New York regarding 10 disabled former foster children who were abused by their adoptive parent, Judith Leekin.

· South Florida Business Journal-- November 16, 2012--"Key Partners Awards 2012" Shareholder Howard Talenfeld was selected by the South Florida Business Journal as a 2012 Key Partners honoree. The awards recognize the area’s top attorneys and accountants, based on demonstrated success over the past 18 months.

· South Florida Business Journal--November 9, 2012--"Personal Experience Drives People to Pursue PhilanthropyChildren’s Rights Advocate Howard Talenfeld was featured in the South Florida Business Journal’s 2012 “Giving Guide” for his work with foster children and other at-risk youth. 

· Lifestyle Magazines--September 2012--"Fighting for ChildrenChildren’s Rights Attorney Howard Talenfeld was profiled for his advocacy work and Presidency of Florida’s Children First.

· WTVJ NBC 6--February 29, 2012--"Howard Talenfeld interviewed on issues in the Florida foster care system" Florida's Child First President and Child advocate attorney Howard Talenfeld was interviewed on Miami's NBC regarding issues with the Florida foster care system.

· WFOR CBS 4--February 20, 2012--"Howard Talenfeld appears on CBS 4 regarding DeJesus tragedy" Florida Child Advocate and Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb Shareholder Howard Talenfeld appeared on WFOR CBS 4 in Miami to discuss the DeJesus tragedy. According to the report, William DeJesus is accused of stabbing his wife and his two young sons inside a Deerfield Beach RV, leaving his autistic 9-year-old dead.

· WTVJ NBC 6--February 13, 2012--"Howard Talenfeld on NBC to discuss Florida foster care issues" Child advocate and attorney Howard Talenfeld was interviewed on Miami's NBC regarding issues with the Florida foster care system.

· WTVJ NBC 6--January 19, 2012--"Howard Talenfeld Appears on NBC 6" Howard Talenfeld, child advocate and President of the statewide group Florida's Children First, appeared on Miami's NBC Channel 6 to discuss Florida's foster care system.

· New York Times--December 29, 2011--"$68 Million Settlement Proposed for 10 Children Fraudulently Adopted and Abused" South Florida children’s rights attorney Howard Talenfeld is handling this case regarding Judith Leekin and 10 disabled children who were fraudulently adopted and abused.

· Florida Bar News--August 15, 2011--"‘On your own but not alone’ Ft. Lauderdale lawyer’s pro bono effort helps former foster child recover $400k" South Florida attorney and child advocate Howard Talenfeld worked pro bono to recover more than $400,000 in stolen insurance money for a former foster child.

· Florida Super Lawyers magazine--June 2011--"Fostering Hope" Howard Talenfeld was also one of only three attorneys to be featured in the magazine for his extensive work for the protection and advancement of the legal rights of foster children and at-risk youth in the state, and well as around the country.

· Daily Business Review--April 21, 2011--"Case of child abuse, negligence settles for $2.9 million" Attorney Howard Talenfeld and team obtain a nearly $3 million settlement for child abuse victim Jace Manning.

· WSVN 7--February 16, 2011--"Red Flags Missed by DCF Amid Alleged Abuse of Adopted Boy Doused in Chemicals, Sister Found Dead" Child Advocate attorney Howard Talenfeld discussed the red flags missed by the Department of Children and Families in the tragic case of Jorge and Carmen Barahona and their adopted children.

· Sun Sentinel--August 11, 2010--"Florida foster child advocacy attorney awarded Florida Bar Association’s President’s Award of Merit" Florida foster child advocacy attorney Howard Talenfeld was recently given the Florida Bar Association’s President’s Award of Merit.

· News Release--June 9, 2010--"Broward Day’s Legislative Wrap Up Luncheon Awards Local Advocates" Howard Talenfeld received the “Community Advocate Award” for his work protecting the rights and needs of society’s most vulnerable citizens, including foster children, the developmentally disabled and the mentally ill.

· News Release--May 7, 2010--"Florida Foster Child Advocacy Attorney Howard Talenfeld Receives the Lawyers for Children America Award" Howard Talenfeld received the 2010 Policy Advocate Award Friday at the 11th Annual John Edward Smith Child Advocacy Awards at a Miami luncheon.

· The Daily Business Review--December 7, 2009--"Most Effective Lawyers: Four Years of Work Led to Settlement in DCF Case" The Daily Business Review, a leading legal and professional publication in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and South Florida’s tri-county community, recently named law firm partners Howard Talenfeld and Tracey McPharlin among its Most Effective Lawyers

· Florida Bar News--August 1, 2009--"The time to move on creating a Statewide Office of the Children's Advocate is now" Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky & Abate Shareholder and Chair of the Florida Bar Legal Needs of Children Committee Howard Talenfeld works to create Office of the Children's Advocate to provide a voice for Florida's children

· Sun-Sentinel--July 3, 2009--"Survey needed to curb use of drugs" Letter to the Editor by Howard Talenfeld and Maria Abate regarding the use of dangerous prescription medications in residential and group home facilities

· Daily Business Review--May 11, 2009--"Howard Talenfeld Appointed to Chair Legal Needs of Children Committee" Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky & Abate Shareholder Howard Talenfeld was appointed to chair the Florida Bar's Legal Needs of Children Committee

· Daily Business Review--Sept. 28, 2007 --"State settles DCF case for $14 million" Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb Shareholder Howard Talenfeld filed a lawsuit on behalf of foster children placed by the DCF with a woman whom against multiple abuse reports had been filed against.

· Sarasota Herald-Tribune--Sept. 28, 2007--"State pays $14 million to foster children in abuse case" Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb Shareholder Howard Talenfeld was quoted in an article about foster children he represented in a case against the state.

· The Miami Herald--May 17, 2002--"DCF to pay $5 million to six kids in Broward" Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb Shareholder Howard Talenfeld, who sued on behalf of the children and has been a persistent critic of the agency, was featured in this article about the largest settlement in the state's history up to that point.

· South Florida Sun-Sentinel--May 17, 2002--"DCF to pay $5 million in siblings' abuse case" Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb Shareholder Howard Talenfeld, who sued the DCF on behalf of the children was featured in this article about the $5 million suit.

· Daily Business Review--Feb. 25, 2008--"Jury Verdicts and Settlements: Institutional Negligence" Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb Shareholder Howard Talenfeld was featured in an article about a case in which he represented a boy who was sexually abused in a foster home. As an outcome of the case, the State DCF agreed to pay $1.6 million to the boy.

· Estate Lifestyle--Feb. 2008--"Making His Mark" Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb Shareholder Howard Talenfeld was featured in the February, 2008 issue of Estate Lifestyle's cover story. The article focuses on Mr. Talenfeld's role as child advocate.

· Florida Trend--Feb., 2008--"Putting Children First" Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb Shareholder Howard Talenfeld was featured in the article due to his role as child advocate.

· The National Law Journal--Nov. 26, 2007 "Parental rights getting a boost from courts" Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb Shareholder Howard Talenfeld was featured in an article about third-party claims for custody and visitation of children.

· Daily Business Review--Nov. 30, 2007 "Parental rights receive boost from recent court rulings" Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb Shareholder Howard Talenfeld was featured in an article about recent court rulings increasing the amount of proof needed to prove bad parenting before granting access to children by third parties.

· South Florida Sun-Sentinel--Mar. 10, 2008 "Florida's Children First hosts record-breaking fundraiser at NSU" Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb  Shareholder and Florida's Children First ("FCF") President Howard Talenfeld was featured in an article about a recent record-breaking fundraiser, which brought in more thatn $125,000 to FCF, the State's leading child advocacy group.

· The Miami Herald--Nov. 11, 2007 "Concerned lawyer helps launch war on Web predators" Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb Shareholder Howard Talenfeld was featured in an article in the Miami Herald about a statewide Cybersafety tour he was instrumental in bringing to Broward County.

· South Florida Sun-Sentinel--Oct. 18, 2007 "Officials wonder: Could murder of Sunrise girl have been prevented?" Colodny, Fass, Talenfeld, Karlinsky, Abate & Webb Shareholder and Florida's Children First President Howard Talenfeld was quoted in an article about whether the murder of a Sunrise girl could have been prevented by the State.

 

 

Videos

 

Howard Talenfeld on Good Morning America (2002)

 

 

Howard Talenfeld on 20/20  (2002)

 

 

Howard Talenfeld Comments on 60-Day DCF Investigation Limit WTVJ NBC - 3-17-2014

 

 

 

Howard Talenfeld Comments on Homestead Toddler Death DCF Investigation (NBC 6 - 8/2/2013)

 

 

 

Howard Talenfeld: Florida DCF Interim Director Should Stay On (WPLG - 7/30/2013)

 

 

 

Howard Talenfeld Discusses Failure of Florida Child Protective System (NBC 6 - 7-30-2013)

 

 

 

Howard Talenfeld Comments on Child Death Investigation (WFOR CBS Miami - 6/26/2013)

 

 

 

Howard Talenfeld: Outside Commission Should Examine Florida ChildNet (WFOR CBS Miami - 6/12/2013)


 



Practice Areas

· Civil litigation
· Commercial litigation
· Insurance litigation
· Personal injury
· Civil rights
· Children's rights
· Governmental Consulting
· Appellate practice

Education

· University of Miami, J.D. 1979, cum laude
· University of Miami, B.S. 1974

Professional Associations and Memberships

· Florida Bar Association, admitted 1980
· Florida State and Appellate courts
· United States Supreme Court
· United States District Court of Appeals/ 1st, 5th and 11th Circuits
· United States District Court for the Southern and Middle Districts of Florida
· National Association of Council for Children
· Former Florida Bar Association Legal Needs of Children Committee - Chair (2009-2010)
· Former Representative for the State of Florida to the National Association of State Mental Health Lawyers and the American Public Welfare Association

Civic and Community Involvement

· Florida’s Children First President (2002 until present)
· Broward Days, Chair Children Issues Team (2000 to present)
· Citizens for Broward's Children Steering Committee member (2000)
· Former Florida’s Voice of the Mental Retarded, Director (2002-present)
· Former City of Parkland Planning Zoning Board, Member (1990-96) and Chairman (1996 to 2007)
· Former Director with the Youth Law Center, San Francisco, CA
· Former President and Director of the Cypress Head Club, Inc.
· Former Temple Kol Tikvah Board of Trustees member and Campaign Committee Chair
· Former Board member of Hurricane Relief for Miami Foster Kids, Inc.
· Former Big Brother
· Former sports team coach, including 20 youth baseball, softball and soccer teams
· Former Broward Days Steering Committee Chair (2000-2006)

 

Special Recognition

 

· AV Preeminent® Top Rated Lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell™

· Lifestyle Media Group, Leaders in Law Winner (2014)

· South Florida Legal Guide, Top Lawyer (2014)

· Daily Business Review, Most Effective Lawyer recognition, Public Interest (2013)

· South Florida Business Journal "Key Partners Awards" honoree (2012)

· Daily Business Review, Most Effective Lawyer recognition, Pro Bono (2011)

· Florida Bar Association "President's Award of Merit" (2010)
· Broward Days "Community Advocate Award" (2010)
· Lawyers for Children America "Policy Advocate Award" (2010)
· South Florida Business Journal’s Let’s Do Something Giant Award Recipient, Legal Category (2008)
· Florida Trend’s Legal Elite (2004, 2006, 2009)
· President’s Pro Bono Service Award for the 17th Judicial Circuit (2006)
· March of Dimes Award (2007)
· Daily Business Review, Most Effective Lawyer recognition (2006)
· Russell Carlisle Award from Legal Aid Service of Broward County 2004 for outstanding contributions to social justice in Broward County
· Kathleen Wright Award for a professional who has improved the quality of life for children in Florida, Family Central (March 2002)
· Medallion Recipient (2002)
· “Making a Difference” Award, Justice for Children and Families (April 27, 2002)
· Blue Ribbon Hero Award for Guardian ad Litem Pro Bono Attorney (2001-2)
· Outstanding Citizen of the Year, Broward Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse (April 2000)
· Super Lawyer (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014)

 

Speaking Engagements & Presentations:

· Presentation to Palm Beach County Guardian ad Litem Office, “The Federal Rights of Dependent Youth,” Palm Beach County, May 9, 2008

· Florida's Children First, “Improving Outcomes for Older Youth,” Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Feb. 14, 2008

· Presentation on Children’s Mental Health Issues to Judge Steven Leifman, Special Advisor to the Florida Supreme Court, May 22, 2007

· Presentation for Florida Coalition for Children on Avoiding Legal Risk Management within Case Management, November 4, 2004

· Presentations for Florida’s Children First on the Hidden Federal Powers of the Florida Juvenile Dependency Court Judge in Jacksonville, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale & Naples, 2004

· Testimony before the United States House of Representatives Subcommittee on Human Resources, Hearing on Child Protection Programs in Florida, December 14, 1998

· Presentation before New York State (NYS) ARC, Inc., Presentation discussing issues relating to waiting lists for residential services for persons with mental retardation and developmental disabilities in Florida, Albany, New York, August 1, 1998

· Annual Education Meeting of the Florida Conference of Circuit Judges With Florida's Federal Trial Judges and the Judges of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, “The Hidden Powers of the Juvenile Court Judge to Protect the Rights of Children,” Jacksonville, Florida, November 30-December 3, 1997

· Florida State Guardianship Association, Inc., 9th Annual Conference, “Abuse and Neglect--What Every Guardian Should Know,” Dania, Florida, September 20-21, 1996

· National Association of State Mental Health Attorneys - 13th Annual Conference and Annual Conference of Interstate Compact Coordinators on Mental Health, “Institutional Reform Litigation and Mental Health: The Impact of Federal Supervision on Mental Health Systems through Section 1983 Litigation,” San Antonio, Texas, October 24-27, 1993

· University of South Florida, Department of Law and Mental Health, The Florida Mental Health Institute, “Violence and its Challenge to the Juvenile Justice System: Implications for Advocacy Programs and Research - Advocacy Strategies: A Systems Approach,” Tampa, Florida, June 16, 1993

· HRS District Legal Counsel Workshop, “Federal Court Update and Status of Section 1983 Liability,” Tallahassee, Florida , May 6-7, 1993

· HRS District Legal Counsel Workshop, “Federal Court Update and Status of Section 1983 Liability,” Wakulla Springs, Florida, October 29-30,1992

· National Association of State Mental Health Attorneys - 12th Annual Conference and Annual Conference of Interstate Compact Coordinators on Mental Health, “Defenses Unique to State Entities and Officials in State and Federal Courts and Class Action Suits,” Portland, Oregon, September 19-23, 1992

· Testimony before the United States Senate Finance Subcommittee on Social Security and Family Policy, Impact of the Suter Amendment, Washington, D.C., September 17, 1992

· Florida Council for Community Mental Health - 1992 Annual Conference, “In Stride with Change - Shaping the Future: Court Mandates and ADM's Service Delivery System,” Daytona Beach, Florida, September 16, 1992

· Fourth Annual ACLU of Florida Lawyers Conference, Presentation on Children's Rights and Parent's Rights, Key West, Florida, August 21-22, 1992

· University of Miami Law School - Mental Health Law, Presentation on the Defendants' View of Mental Health Litigation, Miami, Florida, March 3, 1992

· National Association of State Mental Health Attorneys, Presentation of Section 1983, “Strategies for Defending Class Action Claims for Injunctive Relief,” Orlando, Florida, October 15, 1991

· American Association of Public Welfare, Presentation regarding Florida's experience in defending child welfare litigation at the state and local level, Washington, D.C., July 23, 1991

· The Center for the Study of Youth Policy, Nova University, Shepard Broad Law Center, Presentation on The Broward Detention Initiative, its impact on detention practices, population and the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 1990 symposium, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, June 27, 1991

· HRS District Legal Counsel Seminar, Presentation to all District Legal Counsel on utilization of Extraordinary Writs, Tallahassee, Florida, May 23, 1991

· National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, Zinermon v. Burch Presentation, Kansas City, Missouri, November 1990