Miami-Dade FAWL
August, 2015, Vol. XXXVII, Issue 3 
Celebrating the 95th Anniversary of the Ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
by: Elisa D'Amico with contribution from the Honorable Milton Hirsch

On August 18, 1920, Speaker of the House Frederick H. Gillett inked the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, which granted women the right to vote. 95 years later, we celebrate that ratification and take a look back at the fight that got us there.

The Nineteenth Amendment banned disenfranchisement on the basis of gender. 50 years earlier, the United States Congress had passed the Fifteenth Amendment, which was intended to guarantee voting rights to former slaves who had been emancipated (by the Thirteenth Amendment). And in 1886, the United States Supreme Court declared that the right to
vote is the "preservative of all rights." Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356 (1886). Why then did it take so long?

It certainly wasn't for lack of hard work. The ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment marked the end of the Woman Suffrage Movement, a fierce political campaign that lasted over 70 years and which was accomplished by tens of thousands of persistent participants, both men and women. Their passion and persistence has had enormous social and political impact, as the fight for women to obtain the right to vote was nonviolent, long-lasting, but extremely successful.

In order to finally win the right to vote, women (along with their male supporters) circulated petitions, gave speeches, published pamphlets, newspapers, and magazines. For this, they were often harassed and even attacked. Many were jailed for their protests. 

The Woman Suffrage Movement is a symbol of much more than speaking out against disenfranchisement. It is the epitome of what our country stands for, our most fundamental values. As we look back, we should celebrate that all women in this country can vote freely; they can choose to vote, or not vote at all, but it is their choice. And we also should remember that peaceful change is not just an idea, it is a reality -- our reality.
The New York Times Photo Archive:
Suffragists "march in October 1917 displaying placards containing the signatures of over one million New York women demanding to vote"

Ileana Cruz, President

Rebecca Ocariz, President-Elect

Katie S. Phang, Secretary

Lara Bueso Bach, Treasurer

Elisa D'Amico, Newsletter Editor

Deborah Baker-Egozi, Immediate-Past President

Ardith Bronson
Stephanie Moot
Lauren Brunswick

Kelly Peņa

Stephanie Casey
Jody Shulman
Brendalyn Edwards
Alicia Welch
Courtney Engelke
Talia Zucker
Mallory Gold

Mary Barzee FloresLauren BrunswickJulie Braman Kane

Hon. Katherine Fernandez RundleHon. Cindy LedermanFreddi Mack


Evelyn Sheehan
Abigail Price-Williams
Laura K. Wendell


The Daily Business Review has named its "Top 20 Women in Law" for 2015 and five Miami-Dade FAWL members were chosen.
Mary Barzee Flores, Julie Braman Kane, Hon. Cindy Lederman, Abigail Price-Williams, and Evelyn Sheehan are among the diverse group of women selected for their accomplishments and for having made their mark in the South Florida legal community. All 20 women will be honored at a luncheon on October 14, 2015, for which Miami-Dade FAWL is the Affiliate Sponsor. Mark your calendars!

Miami-Dade FAWL Director Lauren Brunswick and associate at Shubin & Bass PA, was chosen to receive the 2015 Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's "40 Under 40 Outstanding Lawyers of South Florida." All honorees were chosen for having "demonstrated excellence in the legal field and contributions to the community."

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle will be awarded the Mujeres Giving Back Talent award at the Second Annual "Mujeres Giving Back" luncheon to benefit The Women's Fund of Miami-Dade. The luncheon highlights and honors the philanthropic impact of Hispanic women leaders in community. Nominations are made by South Florida residents and selected by an independent panel of community leaders. The luncheon will be held on November 6, 2015, at Jungle Island and tickets are already available for purchase online.

Freddi Mack, Miami-Dade FAWL Committee Chair and associate at K&L Gates, was appointed the Vice Chair of the Use and Disposition Subcommittee of the American Bar Association's Business Bankruptcy Committee.

Laura K. Wendell, a partner with Weiss, Serota, Helfman, Cole & Bierman and former president of the Florida Association of Women Laywers, recently prevailed before the Third District Court of Appeal in a case where the village of Key Biscayne had rejected a developer's proposed site plan. The court upheld the trial court's decision to dismiss the developer's lawsuit against Key Biscayne's government with a unanimous opinion penned by Judge Thomas Logue with Judges Vance E. Salter and Edwin A. Scales III concurring. Along with her partner, Laura represented Key Biscayne and its council.
Breakfast at the Iconic Fontainebleau Miami Beach with Grace Mora, Vice President and General Counsel
by: Jennifer Olmedo-Rodriguez
On the inside, the legendary Fontainebleau Miami Beach is just as stunning as you would imagine. On July 8, 2015, Miami-Dade FAWL's Corporate Counsel Liaison Committee hosted a "Table for 8" with Grace Mora, Vice President and General Counsel of the Fontainebleau. In the hotel's executive offices, Ms. Mora sat down with Miami-Dade FAWL members for an intimate breakfast, discussing what it is like to lead the legal team for the iconic hotel, and sharing her story about leaving her life as a "big law" litigator for an in-house counsel position.
From left to right: Evelyn Suero, Diana Mendez, Sheila Oretsky, Grace Mora, Danica Malloy, Yuliya Laroe, Sherril Colombo, Stephanie Chaissan, Jennifer Olmedo-Rodriguez, Lisa Lehner, and Kelly Pena
Several years ago, Ms. Mora came across the job listing and, taking a leap of faith, applied for the job. She found herself on the short list and soon after, received and accepted the offer to become the General Counsel for the Fontainebleau. Ms. Mora's responsibilities include addressing all legal matters on behalf of the hotel, including labor and employment, corporate and compliance, and guest relations. She described "a day in her life" as including the routine tasks common to all lawyers (such as answering emails and returning phone calls) and also detailed unique tasks such as reviewing talent contracts and proposals for the hotel's various events at its popular nightclub, LIV, and elsewhere on the property.

Because Ms. Mora oversees outside counsel, she was able to provide Miami-Dade FAWL members with valuable insight into expectations she has for the outside attorneys that she employs, such as how much in-house lawyers value efficiency and effectiveness. As her legal team consists of her and one paralegal, Ms. Mora finds herself more isolated from lawyer colleagues when than she was working at a law firm. Nonetheless, she has adapted to her new working environment and enjoys working closely with Fontainebleau's executive team to ensure that the hotel operations run smoothly and seamlessly.

Despite not having a corporate background when she accepted her current position, Ms. Mora believes that her litigation training prepared her to effectively handle situations she now faces in her role as General Counsel of the Fontainebleau. It was clear to all attendees that Ms. Mora loves her work and enjoyed having breakfast with our members. Attendees left the event feeling inspired and ready to start the day with a brand new Fontainebleau Miami Beach mug!
Dinner with Judge Rodolfo "Rudy" Ruiz
by: C. Claire Armagnac
On July 9, 2015, Miami-Dade FAWL organized a "Table for 8" dinner with Circuit Judge Rodolfo "Rudy" Ruiz, who is a proud member of both Miami-Dade FAWL and the National Association of Women Judges. The dinner, coordinated by Madelin D'Arce, Miami-Dade FAWL's State Court Judicial Liaison Committee Chair, was held at Bricktops in Coral Gables.
From left to right: Madelin D'Arce, Stephanie Casey, Name, Name, Judge Ruiz, Rebecca Ocariz, Bert Ocariz, Deborah Baker-Egozi, and Name.
During dinner, Judge Ruiz excused himself to meet with law enforcement officers to execute a warrant. When he returned to dinner, he shared stories from his time on the County and Circuit Court benches and led an interesting discussion about how, in his opinion, attorneys can balance work and family. Judge Ruiz recounted his path from private practice, to the Office of the County Attorney, to the County Court bench, and to his current seat on the Circuit Court bench.

Overall the dinner was a success and attendees enjoyed the great food and intimate conversation.
Members-Only Luncheon with Judge Jacqueline Hogan Scola, Past-President of Miami-Dade FAWL
by: Courtney Engelke
Judge Scola Table 8
Judge Scola and attendees at La Loggia
On August 13, 2015, Miami-Dade FAWL hosted a luncheon with Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Jacqueline Hogan Scola at La Loggia. In addition to the eight Miami-Dade FAWL members who were lucky enough to get a seat, Florida Bar President Ramon Abadin also made a special appearance, encouraging attendees to become involved in The Florida Bar committees, and attend upcoming Board of Governors' meetings

At the luncheon, Judge Scola stressed the importance of networking, especially for lawyers who have recently become members of the bar. She also spoke of a time when Miami-Dade FAWL regularly held monthly luncheons for all members, and she shared other fond memories with attendees.

Judge Scola has been an active member of Miami-Dade FAWL since the chapter was initiated in 1980 and throughout her time as a law student at the University of Miami School of Law. Judge Scola was Miami-Dade FAWL's president in 2001 and in 2007 she received the chapter's highest honor, the Mattie Belle Davis award.
Judge Cooke Sits Down for Lunch with Miami-Dade FAWL Members at City Hall Restaurant
by: Stephanie Casey
Judge Cooke (far right) and Miami-Dade FAWL members
at City Hall Restaurant
On August 20, 2015, Miami-Dade FAWL held a members-only "Table for 8" lunch featuring U.S. District Judge Marcia G. Cooke. Attendees gathered to meet Judge Cooke at City Hall Restaurant in downtown Miami, one of Judge Cooke's favorite lunch spots.

In a relaxed and informal setting, Judge Cooke and Miami-Dade FAWL members discussed varied topics from developments in federal civil procedure and voting rights laws to attorney civility and deposition practices.

Judge Cooke shared valuable tips for attorneys appearing before her. She emphasized the importance of professionalism, particularly in discovery disputes and depositions. She also urged attorneys who want federal court experience to take on pro bono cases (she reminded the group that available pro bono cases are listed on the federal court website). Finally, Judge Cooke encouraged members to stop by the Ferguson Courthouse and attend proceedings in her courtroom or those of her fellow judges. She emphasized the importance of being familiar with each judge's procedures, which may vary widely. Judge Cooke also told attendees about some of the more interesting trials and matters that are currently proceeding before her and the other federal judges.

Overall, the lunch was a success, and Miami-Dade FAWL members left both full and fulfilled.
Brunch at Sugarcane with Judge Laura Stuzin
by: Ardith Bronson
From left to right: Bert Ocariz, Judge Laura Stuzin, Candace Duff, Rebecca Ocariz, Lara Bach, and Ardith Bronson
On August 15, 2015, Miami-Dade FAWL Director Ardith Bronson and Treasurer Lara Bach coordinated an intimate "Table for 8" brunch with County Court Judge Laura Stuzin.

Judge Stuzin is a long-time member of Miami-Dade FAWL, with experience in both the private and public sectors. She provided attendees with insights and practice tips based on her own career experiences, but most importantly, reminded the attendees to always know court practices. Knowing how things work goes a long way in front of any court. To that end, Judge Stuzin noted that attorneys should always check her court webpage--which is regularly updated by her fantastic judicial assistant--before appearing in her courtroom.

Everyone enjoyed the Saturday event with the good food and casual environment. Because nobody was in a rush to get back to the regular work-week grind, attendees really appreciated getting to know each other and in particular, Judge Stuzin.

Oh, if I could but live another century
and see the fruition of all the work for women!

There is so much yet to be done.

      susan b anthony


Judge Theodore Klein was recognized as one of the sharpest legal minds in South Florida during a storied career as a defense lawyer, a federal prosecutor, and federal magistrate. Throughout his life he exhibited a passion for the law and a dedication to the advancement of women in all professions, including the legal profession.
Hank Klein, Andrew Klein, and the 2014 recipient of the Honorable Theodore Klein Award: Judge Milton Hirsch, and Past-President of Miami-Dade FAWL Deborah Baker-Egozi
The Honorable Theodore Klein Award will be presented at the Miami-Dade FAWL Judicial Reception and Awards Luncheon on December 2, 2015, at the Four Seasons Hotel Miami. The nomination form is available here and is due on or before September 25, 2015.
SEPTEMBER 15: "Meet the County Court Judges" lunch with Hon. Tanya Brinkley and Hon. Patricia Marino Pedraza (Click here for more info)


SEPTEMBER 24: Lunch with U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen Williams (click here for more info)


Our full calendar of events is available here on our website.

Being a member of Miami-Dade FAWL certainly has its benefits. Among other things, members can take advantage of a special monthly membership rate at DavidBartonGym as well as a special discount code for certain tickets to shows at the Adrienne Arsht Center.

To take advantage of DavidBartonGym's special offer, contact Phil Ledesma ( and let him know you are a member of Miami-Dade FAWL.

For discounted tickets to upcoming shows at the Adrienne Arsht Center, enter the discount code ("FAWL") online when you are checking out. Note: the code works for select shows only.

Located in Downtown Miami
Click here to enlarge the flyer

Miami-Dade FAWL is a voluntary bar association dedicated to actively promoting the advancement of women in the legal profession, expanding the leadership role of its members in the community at large, and promoting women's rights.

Please send any thoughts, pearls of wisdom, or proposals for substantive articles to Newsletter Editor, Elisa D'Amico, at



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