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Judge Samantha Ruiz Cohen is a circuit court judge currently serving in the Family Division of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit, and has previously served in the Civil, Criminal and Juvenile Divisions.  Judge Ruiz Cohen started her legal career in 1991 when the Honorable Janet Reno hired her as a young lawyer.  For over twelve years, she handled hundreds of cases as a prosecutor with the Miami-Dade County Office of the State Attorney, where she tried to verdict First Degree Murder cases as a Division Chief Supervisor and was responsible for the training of approximately three hundred prosecutors as the Office Training Director.   Moreover, she has taught the NITA Trial Advocacy Program, taught Constitutional Law at FIU’s Political Science Department, and was also Of Counsel at a civil litigation firm in Miami before she was elected as a circuit court judge in 2010.  Judge Ruiz Cohen was the 2018 recipient of the Judge Steve Levine Award for Fairness, Integrity and Professionalism and also received the Hispanic Heritage Judicial Trailblazer Award.  She served as Associate Administrative Judge in the Appellate Division of the Circuit Court from 2012-2017, and is currently the Co-Chair of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Pro Bono Committee.  She has been a panelist or guest lecturer on numerous topics, including Winning with the Rules of Civil Procedure, Powerhouse Cross Examination Tools, Best Practices in the Appellate Division, General Trial Techniques, Best Practices in Handling Foreclosure Related Motions, and Practicing with Professionalism.  


Michelle Gervais counsels high-profile individuals, athletes, and celebrities, as well as businesses and financial institutions, in the areas of sports and entertainment, matrimonial and domestic relations, commercial and business litigation, and consumer finance involving:

Sports, Entertainment, and Matrimonial Law

  • Collaborative and litigate divorce/dissolution of marriage
  • Domestic violence, domestic disputes
  • Pre-nuptial/ante-nuptial, post-nuptial and cohabitation agreements
  • Paternity, disestablishment of paternity, custody, parenting plans, child access, child support, alimony, palimony, and modification
  • International kidnapping/Hague/ICARA, jurisdictional disputes, surrogacy, and relocation
  • Contract negotiation, drafting, review and litigation, breach of fiduciary responsibility, Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) claims, and unjust enrichment disputes

Commercial, Real Estate & Business Litigation

  • Dissolution of partnerships
  • Fraud, misrepresentation, and civil conspiracy
  • Violation of non-compete agreements, trade secret protection, and breach of fiduciary responsibility
  • Insurance disputes, violation of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (“FDUTPA”)
  • Purchase/sales contract disputes, Interstate Land Sales Act (“ILSA”) litigation, and construction/builder disputes
  • Real estate disputes/litigation

Consumer Finance

  • Represents lenders and financial institutions in contested foreclosures, quiet title, TILA, RESPA, FDUTPA, FCCPA, TCPA, title and lien priority disputes, and eminent domain

Select Speaking Engagements & Publications:

  • Participated as a panel speaker at “The Modern Athlete: Empowerment, Wellness & Transition,” a special event held by Carillon Miami Wellness Resort, The Shine Firm, and the Sports Lawyer’s Association to kick off the NFL’s Super Bowl 100th Anniversary week in Miami, Florida (January 2020)
  • Lectured on “Hot Tips on PreNups & PostNups” at the 27th Annual Family Law Nuts & Bolts of Divorce Seminar presented by Dade Legal Aid-Put Something Back Program, the Dade County Bar Association’s Family Courts Committee and its Young Lawyers Section (December 2019)
  • Spoke at the Tampa Bay Lightning Teammate Networking Event (November 2019)
  • Lectured on “Civic Engagement: The Why and How” at the Tampa Women’s Leadership Summit (October 2019)
  • Lectured on “Women Empowering Women” at the National Association of Sports Commissions 2019 Women’s Summit (April 2019)
  • Co-chaired AdventHealth Tampa Foundation’s Third Annual Fashion for Hope (February 2019)
  • Panelist on “The Business World of Medicine; Contract Negotiation, Dissolution of Partnerships, Non-Competes” (September 2018)
  • Lectured on “Intro to Divorce & Hot Topics in Prenuptial Agreements” at the 25th Annual “Nuts & Bolts of Divorce” Seminar presented by Dade County Bar Association’s Family Courts Committee & Dade Legal Aid (November 2017)
  • “Florida District Court Rejects Use of Statute of Limitations as a Basis for Asserting Consumer Protection Claims,” Blank Rome’s Consumer Finance Blog (January 2017)
  • Hosted Round Table of Hot Topics in Sports with Assistant General Counsel of Miami Heat, Legal Affairs for Miami Dolphins, Assistant General Counsel for The University of Miami and moderated by Kenneth Shropshire (2014)


Bob was born September 23, 1938, in Brooklyn, New York. He received his B.A. Degree from Dartmouth College in 1959. He graduated from the Yale Law School in 1962, and was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1962 and to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1970.

Bob is one of Dade County′s premiere trial lawyers. He has been listed annually since 1987 in the Best Lawyers in America in two categories–Business Litigation and Criminal Law since 2003 and from 2003 he has been listed in Chambers and Partners as one of the top four commercial litigators in Florida. In 2006 he was listed #1 trial lawyer in Florida by Super Lawyers. He has received the Dade County Bar David Dyer Professionalism Award, the Bnai Brith Professionalism Award, the Florida Defense Lawyers Rodney Thaxton “Against All Odds”award, the American Bar Association Senior Section Pro Bono Award , the Florida Bar Tobias Simon Pro Bono Service Award in (2009-2010) and the Florida Bar Foundation’s Medal of Honor Award 2013.

In 2012, he was awarded the Florida Bar Criminal Law Section’s Selig I. Goldin Memorial Award, the Greater Miami Jewish Federation Theodore “Ted” Klein Special Recognition Award, named as one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers organization, inducted to the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame and named a Public Justice Trial Lawyer of the Year finalist for outstanding contributions to the public interest through his work in the Checking Account Overdraft Class Action litigation.

He is Past President and Dean of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, a fellow and state chair of the American College of Trial Lawyers, a fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, Trial Lawyer Honorary Society, Past–President of the Peter T. Fay American Inns of Court and a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He has served on the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Judiciary, as Chairman of the Southern District of Florida Judicial Evaluation Committee, served as a member of the Florida Federal Judicial Nominating Commission and the Florida State University Law School Board of Visitors. In addition to extensive involvement in the firm′s commercial practice, Bob handles the firm′s white–collar criminal defense work––an outgrowth of his background as an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, as Special Counsel to the Dade County Grand Jury, and as a member of numerous commissions and task forces in the area of criminal law, including the U.S. Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules and Chairmanship of the Florida Bar′s Criminal Law Certification Committee. He served as General Counsel to Governor Robert Graham in 1980. Bob has lectured extensively throughout the United States on substantive issues, ethics, professionalism and civility. His 1994 article on civility has been reprinted in more than 20 legal journals and periodicals. Bob is extensively involved in community activities, with particular emphasis upon the prevention of drug and alcohol abuse by young people.

He is also listed in Florida Trend’s “Florida Legal Elite,” (2009, 2014); and “Legal Elite Hall of Fame”, (2009, 2016-2020) and Florida Super Lawyers – “Top 10″ and “Top 100″ (2006-2014; South Florida Legal Guide, “Top Lawyers”, (2007-2020); Best Lawyers in America – “Bet the Company Litigation”, “Commercial Litigation”, “Non-White-Collar Criminal Defense” and “White-Collar Criminal Defense” 2007-2020; Chamber’s USA’s Guide to Leading Lawyers for Business (2003-2020); Judicial Circuit Historical Society – “Legal Legends” (2007) and Miami Today “Gold Medal Award” (2008).


Ronald H. Kauffman is a board certified lawyer in the areas of marital and family Law. He is the author of Underwater Treasure: Equitable Distribution of the Save Our Homes Limitation, The Florida Bar Journal, February 2011; A Wife’s Loss is not a Husband’s Gain: Equitable Distribution of Capital Loss Carryovers, The Commentator, Florida Bar Family Law Section Magazine, Winter 2011 and Keeping It All In The Family: Taking Financial Discovery From The New Spouse In Post-Judgment Support Cases, The Commentator, Florida Bar Family Law Section Magazine, Spring 2011.

He received his JD from Whittier College in 1991. He received his BA in 1988 from Boston University, with a major in International Relations and concentration in Economics. He was admitted to both the California Bar in 1992 and the Florida Bar in 1993.

Additionally he was admitted to the U.S. District Court, Central District of California, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, and U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.

He is a member of the Family Law Section of the California Bar and the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar, the Miami-Dade County Bar Association, the Miami Beach Bar Association, and the First Family Law Inns of Court. He currently serves as Chair of the Commentator for the Florida Bar Family Law Section’s Publications Committee.

Ron was awarded certificates of appreciation from the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar at their annual convention in Orlando, and a Pro Bono Service Award from the Put Something Back project in Miami.


  • National Family Law Trial Institute
  • American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Advanced Institute for Family Law Associates
  • Florida International University College of Law, Dean’s Merit Scholarship
  • Brandeis University, Magna Cum Laude
  • Ransom Everglades School, Silver Knight Nominee in Music
  • FIU Law Faculty Recognition Award
  • FIU Law Board of Advocates Outstanding Oral Advocacy Skills Award
  • FIU Law Student Bar Association Student Service Award
  • Quarter Finalist, ICC International Mediation Competition, Paris, France
  • Finalist, FIU Intramural Negotiation Competition
  • Richard Kaufman Memorial Prize for Leadership and Academic Excellence
  • Eli J. Segal Citizen Leadership Fellowship
  • Dean’s List – Every Semester of College
  • Miami Herald Silver Knight Nominee – Music
    • First Family Law American Inn of Court, President, 2019-Present
    • Dade County Bar Association, Director, 2019-Present
    • Miami-Dade Florida Association for Women Lawyers, Newsletter Editor & Pro Bono Co-Chair, 2019-Present
    • Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 40 Under 40 Committee Co-Chair, 2017-2019
    • Dade County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, Director, 2017-Present
    • The Tribe, Board of Directors 2018-2019
    • Kidside, Board of Directors 2017-2018
    • Chapman Partnership NextGen Leadership Council, 2016-Present


  • “Style & Substance: Developing and Maintaining a Mentor-Mentee Relationship”, Panelist, Miami-Dade Florida Association for Women Lawyers, Dade County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, October 2019
  • “Legal Technology: How Automation is Changing the Practice of Law”, Panelist, Bench & Bar Conference, Spellman-Hoeveler Inns of Court, March 2019
  • “Navigating Legal Ethics for Children: Role Empowerment”, Keynote Speaker, University of Miami School of Law, March 2019
  • Tips to be a Great Mentee, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Newsletter July 2018 –
  • Exceptional FIU Law Alumni Awarded 40 Under 40 Outstanding Lawyers of South Florida –
  • Alumna Amber Kornreich ’15 Leads Q&A On Diversity Before Performance of Kinky Boots –


Paul Lipton is the firm’s Director of Professionalism, Career and Skill Development. His role is working with the associates and mentoring them in learning their skills, building their brand and finding personal and professional growth as successful litigators. Paul was a prominent South Florida trial attorney for more than 40 years and a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig until he retired in 2012.

A role like this is not common in law firms, particularly to be occupied by an attorney. Traditionally, in-house recruiting personnel are tasked with monitoring associate development. However, Paul’s role goes far beyond that of traditional associate integration. He works with the associates on a one-on-one basis and in small groups, attends functions with them and helps sharpen their skills in business development.  As the firm continues its exciting growth, Paul assists in looking for new and innovative ways to provide an engaging and challenging work environment for our lawyers. “Paul’s unprecedented role with his vast experience provides meaningful opportunity for mentoring, career guidance and community involvement. Paul’s thoughtful approach encourages associates to pursue their goals while embracing their roles as young leaders in our community,” says an associate in the Miami office.

According to Miami office Administrative Partner, Scott Sarason, “We believe that there is so much more to a fulfilling career than just ‘being smart and working hard,’” Paul plays an important role in cultivating each generation of RumbergerKirk lawyers to be passionate about being a trial lawyer while maintaining the highest standards of professionalism.”  He is currently the Co-Chair of the Eleventh Circuit Committee on Professionalism in Miami-Dade County. “With a very competitive marketplace, not only in hiring, but in lawyer retention, RumbergerKirk is taking a forward-thinking approach to provide our attorneys with this opportunity of career development beyond the traditional law firm standard.”

During his legal career, he tried numerous jury and non-jury trials in complex commercial, probate, estate and trust litigation involving national and international companies. His areas of law included complex commercial litigation, real estate and land use litigation, probate and trust and estate litigation, and legal ethics and professional liability.

Paul is also an esteemed keynote speaker and inspirational author. The veteran attorney published two books, “In These Five Breaths,” a novel, and “Hour of the Wolf-An Experiment in Ageless Living,” which is his personal journey in searching for personal fulfillment and living life without limitations or definitions.


Ms. Valdespino is Board Certified in Matrimonial and Family Law and a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers

Jacqueline M. Valdespino has been a practicing Florida attorney for over 30 years, specializing in the field of matrimonial and family law. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies from Georgetown University and her Juris Doctor degree from The University of Miami School of Law.

Jacquie provides expert litigation services in contested matters such as dissolution of marriage, child support, timesharing, adoption, property distribution, paternity, support unconnected with dissolution, enforcement, modification of pre-marital and post-marital agreements and cohabitation agreements. Jacquie believes in a team approach; she guides the client through the maze of the legal process and expects and welcomes the client to be involved and participate in the process.

Throughout her career, Jacquie has been appointed in several pro bono cases in the area of family law and she has received numerous awards for her pro bono work. In 2003, Jacquie received the Tobias Simon Award, the highest honor bestowed on a Florida Lawyer by the Florida Supreme Court. The American Bar Association awarded Jacquie with the Ann Liechty Child Custody Pro Bono Award for her representation of children in contested family matters. For over a decade, she has been selected as one of Florida’s Super Lawyers for Family Law. Super Lawyers are considered leading attorneys in the area of law in which they practice. She has also acquired the notable Best Lawyers in America award, which she still holds today. Jacquie was designated a Preeminent Lawyer by Martindale Hubble, and she maintains an AV Rating.



Since 2017, Geoffrey Valdes, Esq. has served as a dedicated and passionate Domestic Violence Attorney for Dade Legal Aid. Prior, he worked as an Attorney/Case Manager for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit for five years. As the Senior Attorney/Case Manager, he worked closely with the Court, closing the highest number of cases in a one-month period, with the assistance of the judges and judicial staff. He mentored new attorneys, judicial interns and other case management staff, giving them direction and guidance as to how to proceed with problematic cases. Previously, Mr. Valdes was in private practice for four years at Alba Law, P.A., handling Divorce Cases. He served as Chair of the DCBA Family Law Committee for several years, is a member of the First Family Law American Inn of Court, and is knowledgeable in all aspects of Family Law, Bankruptcy, Wills, and Domestic Violence. A true leader and active member of our legal community, Mr. Valdes is a member of the Florida Bar, DCBA and the United States District Court, Southern District of Florida. He is a graduate of Belen Jesuit Prep. School, 1999, Florida International University, 2002, and a Barry University, Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law, 2007. In his free time he likes to play guitar. He is fluent in Spanish.





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