August 2014, Vol. I - In This Issue:


Dear Colleagues and Friends,


I am very excited to report that Miami-Dade FAWL has already accomplished so much, just three months into the new Board's tenure!  Thanks to the generosity of our Installation sponsors, we raised more than $30,000.00, breaking all records and more than doubling the money raised at our 2012 luncheon.  We have also secured a year-round Platinum Sponsor, FTI Consulting, Inc., as well as a Wargo French as a Title Sponsor for our December 4th Judicial Reception at the Mandarin Oriental.  These are all "Miami-Dade FAWL firsts" for which we are very grateful. 


The funds we have raised are already being put to good use.  Miami-Dade FAWL was instrumental in working with Commissioner Michael Grieco from the City of Miami Beach to pass a City Resolution supporting our legislative efforts to outlaw non-consensual pornography, commonly known as "revenge porn."  We thank Miami-Dade FAWL Director Elisa D'Amico and Commissioner Grieco for making this possible.


We continue to work with Professor Mary Anne Franks from the University of Miami, our State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle and Representative Carlos Trujillo to ensure that all possible efforts are made in Tallahassee to criminalize non-consensual pornography during the upcoming legislative session.  Miami-Dade FAWL is prepared to send members to Tallahassee to advocate for this vital legislation.  I will continue to update you as we make progress.    


Miami-Dade FAWL has continued its "Table for Eight" and "Lunch With the Judges" programming, and has featured many members of the judiciary, as well as in-house counsel for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Julie Siefkas-Marin, and City of Miami Commissioner Sally Heyman.  We have also expanded these fun networking opportunities for members to include a Broadway series with the judges.  Our first show will be Book of Mormon with long-time Miami-Dade FAWL member and supporter Judge Beatrice Butchko. These are members-only events, so be sure to renew your membership if you have not done so already.


Our Chapter has also begun undertaking significant pro-bono work.  Miami-Dade FAWL partnered with the Dade County Bar Association and Legal Aid to help staff monthly DCBA Legal Line sessions. Many of our Board Members, including Lindsay Haber of Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine PL, and Elisa D'Amico of K&L Gates are undertaking pro-bono cases to help victims of non-consensual pornography.  Miami-Dade FAWL will also be fielding a team of volunteers to work at Feeding South Florida on November 15th.  Please be on the lookout for sign-up opportunities.   


While we have made great strides, there is still work to be done. Unfortunately, during the most recent round of appointments, Governor Scott did not appoint any women to the Judicial Nominating Committees for either the Eleventh Circuit or the Third District Court of Appeal.  I have already reached out to Governor Scott's office to express our disappointment.  On a positive note, in addition to the Miami-Dade FAWL Leadership Alerts whereby we strive to make our membership aware of available positions and deadlines, our Membership Committee Co-Chair Trisha Widowfield and I are working on efforts to encourage more women to apply for these very important leadership positions.    


Due to popular demand, we have also brought back "FAWL Fridays," so please stay tuned for more streamlined news and events from Miami-Dade FAWL to be brought to you on a weekly basis.  We have a very exciting year ahead of us, and I'd like to personally encourage you to get involved!  



-- Deb Baker

2014-2015 Officers


Deborah Baker



Ileana Cruz



Rebecca Ocariz



Katie S. Phang


Newsletter Editor

Lara Bueso Bach


Lauren Brunswick

Sherril Colombo

Elisa D'Amico

Madelin D'Arce

Brendalyn Edwards

Courtney Engelke

Mallory Gold

Emilie Kennedy

Linda Leali

Jody Shulman

Alicia Welch

Talia Zucker


Committee Chairs

Ardith Bronson

Stephanie Casey

Kristen Corpion

Kristin Drecktrah

Lindsay Haber

Lisa Lehner

Kate Maxwell

Stephanie Moot

Kelly Pena

Joyce Rodriguez

Deborah Ross-Ocariz

Trisha Widowfield

By: Lara Bach

At the urging of Miami-Dade FAWL, and along with the help of University of Miami Law Professor Mary Ann Franks, on July 30, 2014, the Miami Beach Commission unanimously voted to pass a resolution urging the Florida legislature to enact legislation criminalizing the nonconsensual disclosure of sexually explicit images, commonly known as "revenge porn."


Nonconsensual pornography is an invasion of privacy that occurs online when someone, typically a vengeful ex-partner or malicious hacker, uploads explicit images or videos of a victim to one or more websites where thousands of people can view it. Most often, the image is further disseminated online, spreads virally, and usually dominates the first few pages of a search engine such as Google or Bing when using it to search for the individual's name. Victims suffer immensely.  Many suffer significant emotional distress and are harassed, others are fired or forced to change schools, and some have even committed suicide.


Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Grieco was inspired to support this initiative after attending this year's Miami-Dade FAWL Installation Luncheon.  He told Miami-Dade FAWL, "I was moved to further educate myself on the issue. After doing so and with the assistance of my city attorney, we put forth the resolution to both provide a platform and publicly support criminalizing nonconsensual disclosure."


As a result, Miami-Dade FAWL teamed up with Commissioner Grieco and Professor Franks to garner support for the initiative. Professor Franks is Vice President of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (  Through her work with the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative and her legislative drafting efforts, she is a pioneer in the fight to criminalize nonconsensual pornography. 


"We applaud the Mayor, Commissioner Grieco, and the Miami Beach Commission for wholeheartedly supporting Miami-Dade FAWL and for passing this resolution," said Deborah Baker, President of Miami-Dade FAWL and member of the law firm of Lipscomb, Eisenberg & Baker, PL. 

"This brings us one step closer to affecting statewide changes and adding Florida to the list of states that have criminalized the cyber-crime of nonconsensual pornography. But we are not done yet," said Elisa D'Amico, Miami-Dade FAWL Board Member and attorney with K&L Gates LLP, who coordinated this coalition.  Indeed, Miami-Dade FAWL intends to seek further support from commissions, organizations, and individuals, to urge the Florida Legislature to pass legislation criminalizing the dissemination of nonconsensual pornography.


You can watch the Miami Beach Commission discussion Here.


By: Ardith Bronson & Elisa D'Amico

Miami-Dade FAWL is excited to announce that three of our judicial members, Judge Butchko, Judge Sanchez-Llorens, and Judge Thornton, will be interviewed on by the Judicial Nominating Commission on September 4, 2014 for the position of U.S. District Judge, Southern District of Florida. The interviews are open to the public and will take place at the Judge's Conference Room, 14th Floor, Wilkie D. Ferguson, Jr. U.S. Courthouse, 400 North Miami Avenue.


For anyone interested in faxing a letter of support or make a telephone call, contact information for the JNC is available here. Biographies of these long-time Miami-Dade FAWL members and supporters follow: 





Judge Beatrice "Betty" Butchko was born in New York City to a Greek father and Cuban mother.  She is married and has a son attending the Georgia Institute of Technology and a daughter attending high school at Our Lady of Lourdes Academy.  Judge Butchko was raised in Miami, Florida where she graduated high school from Notre Dame Academy.  She received a B.S. from the University of Florida in 1986 and a J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in Chicago in 1989.  Judge Butchko began her legal career as an Assistant State Attorney in Miami-Dade County (1989 - 2000), where she tried over 80 jury trials, was a member of the Organized Crime Unit, served as Assistant Chief of the Career Criminal Unit and a Division Chief trying homicide cases and supervising attorneys.  Judge Butchko then entered private practice as an associate with Kaye, Rose and Maltzman, LLC (2000 - 2001) where she practiced maritime law.  In 2001, she joined the commercial litigation boutique firm of Ferrell Schultz, PA and was made a partner.  In 2003, she joined the international firm of Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, LLP as a partner where she practiced, commercial litigation and white-collar criminal defense.  While in private practice, she served as Special Counsel to the Judicial Qualifications Commission and obtained an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell.  


She was appointed to the Circuit Court of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit by Governor Jeb Bush in December, 2005.  During her tenure, she has served in the Juvenile Dependency Division, the Circuit Criminal Division and is presently the Associate Administrative Judge of the Civil Division where she also is assigned to try extended trials.  

Judge Butchko is an adjunct professor at the University of Miami School of Law, a visiting adjunct professor of litigation skills at Emory University Law School in Atlanta, Georgia, and on the faculty of the Florida Judicial College.  Judge Butchko also has taught at the Circuit Court Conference and Advanced Judicial College.  In terms of community service, Judge Butchko is a mock trial coach for Our Lady of Lourdes Academy High School; chairs a committee for the Chief Judge regarding receiverships; served as a past member of the Board of Directors for the American Red Cross; is active in Big Brothers Big Sisters and is a Eucharistic Minister at St. Patrick Catholic Church on Miami Beach. 





Judge Sanchez-Llorens received a B.A. from Wellesley College, Master in Economics from Trinity College, and a J.D. from New York University School of Law. Prior to practicing law, Judge Sanchez-Llorens worked in banking for approximately nine years, five of which she was a bank officer. For over 14 years, Judge Sanchez-Llorens was an Assistant Public Defender in state and federal courts, trying over 60 cases to verdict. Prior to her election in 2008, she was appointed as a board member to various state and county domestic violence organizations, including the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence Statewide Legal and Policy Council, as well as co-chaired the Miami-Dade County Domestic Violence Oversight Board. Judge Sanchez-Llorens currently serves in the Criminal Division where she handles felony criminal cases and participates in appellate panels involving County Court appeals.


In 2014, Hunter College (New York) selected Judge Sanchez-Llorens as one of the "100 Puerto Ricans Who Have Made a Difference" in its compilation of oral and documentary records.  In 2014, Judge Sanchez-Llorens received the 26th Annual "In the Company of Women" award for Outstanding Woman in Government and Law.  In 2013, Southern Illinois University School of Law selected Judge Sanchez-Llorens as The William L. Beatty Jurist in Residence.  Judge Sanchez-Llorens was awarded the South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce "Women of Leadership Award for Government/Public Service," and also received a "Proclamation of Appreciation" from the City of Miami Beach for her public service commitment.


Judge Sanchez-Llorens is past President of the Women's Committee of Big Brothers Big Sisters ("BBBS") and served on BBBS' Board of Directors.  She is a Mentor in BBBS' "School to Work" Program.   She has also co-chaired BBBS Women's Committee for the Miracle Makers' Luncheon and the Womenade Host Committee for the Chapman Partnership (formerly known as the Community Partnership for Homeless).  Judge Sanchez-Llorens was elected Regional Representative to the Wellesley Latina Alumnae Network Board.





In addition to being a proud member of Miami-Dade FAWL for over twenty-five years, Judge Thornton was the recipient of Miami-Dade FAWL's 2013 Theodore Klein Award.  He has dedicated significant time and energy to serving those less fortunate in the community.  Judge Thornton was Chairman of the Board of Camillus Health Concern from 2004 - 2007.  Also, Judge Thornton is a past President of the Florida Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of The Florida Bar which provides Florida's poor with access to the legal system.  During Judge Thornton's tenure as president of the Florida Bar Foundation in 2007, he personally pushed for the expansion of the Court Care program by funding its establishment at the Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building.  The program continues to provide a supervised and supportive childcare facility for children who must be in court in connection with matters concerning the children or their parents. 


Judge Thornton's commitment to helping others has been recognized throughout the community.  In 2007, he earned Miami Today's Best of Miami Award for Non-Profit Volunteers, Camillus House's Healing Heart Award, and YWCA's Eliminating Racism Empowering Women Court Care Award.  He also earned Legal Services of Greater Miami's Friend of Equal Justice Award in 2012 and the Greater Miami Jewish Federation's Community Service Award in 2013.  In addition, Judge Thornton received accolades as a legal practitioner and member of the judiciary, earning The Florida Bar President's Award of Merit in 1998, the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers President's Award in 2002, the Miami-Dade Justice Association's Judge Steve Levine Award in 2013 and the Dade County Bar Association's Judge Mario Goderich Legal Ethics Award in 2013.


Judge Thornton currently presides over the Eleventh Judicial Circuit's Complex Business Litigation Division and has been a member of the judiciary since 2007.  Judge Thornton served as President of the Dade County Bar Association in 2005-2006 and served on The Florida Bar's Board of Governors for ten years from 1988-1998.  Prior to his appointment to the bench, he was a Miami-Dade Assistant State Attorney and a founding partner of the law firm of Thornton & Rothman, P.A.  Judge Thornton graduated from the University of Notre Dame and the University of Miami School of Law. 

By: Courtney Engelke

Miami-Dade FAWL, along with the Dade County Bar Association and Disability Independence Group Inc., applied for and received a $3,000 grant from The Florida Bar Voluntary Bar Association Diversity Leadership Grant.  The grant will be used to host a "Call to Action" Summit, which is a response to Florida Supreme Court Justice Ricky Polston's letter to eliminate all forms of discrimination in the legal profession.  This Summit will be the first of its kind, and will seek to have the voluntary bar associations implement protocol and develop best practices to ensure that all bar-related activities are accessible to those with disabilities.  The Summit will take place on November 7, 2014 at the Family Court Courthouse and each bar organization will be encouraged to send a representative to learn about the various steps that need to be taken to promote programming that welcomes attorneys with disabilities.  

Congratulations to Newly Elected Judiciary
Judge Veronica Diaz
Judge Stephen Millan
Judge Alberto Milian
Judge Rodney Smith
Judge Mavel Ruiz
Judge Martin Zilber

Judge Victoria Ferrer

*This article does not include the 32 circuit judges and 7 county judges that ran unopposed and retained their seats.
**Group 19 candidates Judge Jacqueline Schwartz and Frank Bocanegra will face a run-off in the November 2014 election.
Judge Capote Advises on Proper Courtroom Conduct
By: Lauren Brunswick

On July 23, 2013, Miami-Dade County Court Criminal Division Judge Betty Capote joined Miami-Dade FAWL for dinner at Soyka.  Judge Capote was appointed to the bench in November 2012.  Previously, she served an Assistant State Attorney in Miami-Dade County and was the Felony Division Chief.


Practice Tips:

  1. If you are going to rely on any authority at a hearing, please provide the Court with a courtesy copy of that authority in advance of the hearing.
  2. Attorneys, as well as their clients, should always dress appropriately for Court.  Dress should be conservative and a jacket is preferred. 
  3. If you wish to cancel a hearing, please advise the Court in advance of your scheduled hearing date.
Royal Caribbean Counsel Julie Siefkas-Marin Urges 
Lawyers to Create Their Own Brand 
By: Alicia Welch

On August 14, 2014, Miami-Dade FAWL hosted a sold-out lunch with Julie Siefkas-Marin at La Loggia Restaurant.  Julie is a Director and Senior Associate Counsel for Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd.  Her practice includes managing the day-to-day marketing and advertising legal affairs for Royal Caribbean Cruises. Ms. Siefkas-Marin has worked for Royal Caribbean Cruises since 2006 and has a background in intellectual property, among other areas of the law. Royal Caribbean is a publicly traded global corporation operating three cruise lines from its Miami office. 


Practice Tips:

  1. Ms. Siefkas-Marin emphasized that each attorney should create his or her own "brand."  In this regard, an attorney should think critically about how to market herself as a specialist in a particular area of the law, to generate business, and to create career upward mobility.  For example, when Ms. Siefkas-Marin was in private practice, she focused on branding herself as a transactional intellectual property attorney, which helped her secure her current job.  
  2. Ms. Siefkas-Marin advised participants to build relationships through face-to-face contact.  This is important whether interacting with clients, other attorneys, or members of our community.   The best and most efficient way to develop relationships is to meet with people in-person.  Julie applies this practice at Royal Caribbean through "office hours" during which she answers legal questions in her practice area presented by different departments.  
Phang Selected as FOX News Insider 
Miami-Dade FAWL Treasurer, Katie Phang, of Arrastia, Capote & Phang LLP, was recently selected to serve as a legal correspondent for FOX News' "On the Record w/ Greta Van Susteren" regarding various issues including the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, and the proliferation of a new social media stunt where teens set themselves on fire. 

You can watch Ms. Phang's commentary: here and here.
Corpion is First Female to Win Legal Eagle Closing 
Argument Competition

Kristen Corpion is the first female and the first first-year attorney to win the Third Annual Legal Eagle Closing Argument Competition.  The one-day, single elimination competition hosted by the University of Miami School of Law raises money for Legal Services of Greater Miami, a nonprofit organization providing free legal services for the community. The competition is open to all attorneys under age 40 who are currently practicing in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit and have been admitted to The Florida Bar for fewer than seven years.  Mrs. Corpion has been added to the competition's "Hall of Fame" and recognized as the "Best Closer in Miami-Dade County." Mrs. Corpion is an Associate in the Litigation Practice at the Miami office of Greenberg Traurig LLP who has competed in the mock trial circuit for nearly ten years.  She founded the University of South Florida's trial team and has coached two high school mock trial teams. Learn more about the Legal Eagle Closing Argument Competition.

Lehner Appointed to Professionalism Panel
Lisa Lehner of Lipscomb, Eisenberg & Baker, PL was appointed by Chief Judge Bertila Soto to serve on the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Professional Panel.  The newly established panel is charged with receiving, screening, and acting upon complaints of unprofessional conduct by attorneys practicing in the Eleventh Circuit. The panel is expected to play an integral role in advancing the overall objective of improving professionalism in the Miami-Dade County legal community by providing an informal, educational process to resolve professionalism complaints. Panel members will serve for two-year terms.
Kane Elected as VP of AAJ
Julie Braman Kane of Colson Hicks Eidson was elected as Vice President of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) for the 2014 - 2015 term.  The AAJ's mission is to promote a fair and effective justice system and to support the work of attorneys in their efforts to ensure that any person who is injured by the misconduct or negligence of others can obtain justice.  Ms. Kane has more than 15 years experience in personal injury, medical negligence, products liability and commercial and class action litigation.  She is a past president of MD-FAWL.  Learn more about the AAJ.
Brenda Kathurima Selected as Leesfield/AAJ Law 
Student Scholarship Recipient
Leesfield & Partners, P.A. announced that Brenda Kathurima is the recipient of the Leesfield/AAJ Law Student Scholarship. This scholarship has been awarded every year since 1994, recognizing law students who exemplify a high commitment to trial advocacy and public justice. Ms. Kathurima was born in Kenya, graduated summa cum laude from Coppin State University, and is currently a law student at The University of Maryland, Francis King Carey School of Law.  Her desire to complete law school is fueled by her experiences growing up in a society devoid of the rule of law and civil justice. Ms. Kathurima is a dedicated law student with a passion to contribute to the well being of her community, and she has undertaken numerous projects to assist the less fortunate, such as her significant role in the implementation of a laptop award program for underprivileged students while she served as Secretary of the Student Government Association at Coppin State University. Ms. Kathurima will embark on a legal career with emphasis on civil rights litigation, and hopes to be a "voice of conscience" for the less fortunate members of society.

I just want to congratulate you on organizing a fabulous Table for Eight with Julie Siefkas-Marin.   What an interesting discussion with such an accomplished individual!  It's nice that we are expanding our horizons to include knowledgeable members of the legal profession who are in different areas of practice, and in-house counsel.  It was a really great experience and I am happy that I was lucky enough to snag a seat at this event, where you had double the number at the Table for Eight!  Keep up the good work!

- May Cain
Cain & Snihur, LLP 

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