Winter Edition 2018, Vol. 37, Issue 2    
Thank You for Joining Us at the 35th Annual Judicial Reception!
Thursday, December 7, 2017 | JW Marriott Marquis
MDFAWL thanks its Title Sponsor and Grand Benefactors for their sponsorship of this year's Judicial Reception. Check our forthcoming spring issue of The Advisor for more information and photographs from the Judicial Reception.

Luncheon with Florida Bar Leaders
MDFAWL hosts luncheon on eliminating gender bias and promoting attorney health and wellness
September 28, 2017 | Truluck's Restaurant

By Amber Kornreich, Gia Abreu, and Jody Shulman

On Thursday, September 28, 2017, MDFAWL hosted a luncheon featuring Florida Bar President Michael J. Higer, President-Elect Michelle Suskauer, and Florida Bar Board of Governor Dori Foster-Morales. The panel discussion was moderated by MDFAWL President Katie Phang. The luncheon was set in the beautiful Truluck's Restaurant on Brickell Avenue.
MDFAWL President Katie Phang,
Florida Bar President-Elect Michelle Suskauer, and Florida Bar President Michael J. Higer

As the guests dined on a delicious Truluck's lunch, the panelists addressed important issues facing our membership and the Bar at large, including tackling gender bias, promoting attorney mental health and general wellness, and the Bar's efforts to recover the State in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

After each Bar Representative presented, the room erupted in questions and comments. The panelists honestly and openly responded to all of the members' concerns. As the program ended, it became very clear that there is tremendous work still to be done in eliminating gender bias and identifying mental health issues in the legal community.

It was an honor for MDFAWL to host the leaders of the Bar in engaging our membership on how we can all be more active members of the community and how we can be a part of fostering more inclusive and comfortable work places for everyone.

MDFAWL thanks the Michael J. Higer Committee, Co-Chairs Jody Shulman, Gia Abreu, and Amber Kornreich, and members Alice Sum and Patrick Montoya, for its efforts to promote this very worthy community discussion.

Luncheon co-chairs Jody Shulman,
Amber Kornreich, and Gia Abreu

Luncheon at Truluck's

Transform Your Clients into Contacts
October 11, 2017 | Greenberg Traurig

By Olivia Kelman

MDFAWL hosted a CLE workshop by the 20/20 Leadership Group at the Miami offices of Greenberg Traurig LLP on the topic of how to transform contacts into clients. Co-founders of the 20/20 Leadership Group, Marla Grant, Esq. and Yuliya LaRoe, Esq., presented to approximately 25 attendees.
The interactive format of the presentation made for a dynamic and high-energy session, with the focus on methods and techniques for enhancing opportunities for successful business development. The workshop began with participants identifying common challenges to business development, such as a lack of marketing or sales experience, busy schedules, and feelings of discomfort, and continued with strategies for breaking down the identified barriers.  
One of the tips that resonated with attendees is to periodically carve out dedicated "thinking time" to identify specific and measurable goals for business development--if our business development goals want for clarity and concreteness, how can we expect ourselves to truly make progress? Another well-received tip was to avoid "analysis paralysis" by striving for progress rather than perfection and resisting the urge to allow procrastination take over.      

Seventh Annual Speed Networking and Mentoring Event
October 25, 2017 | Shook, Hardy & Bacon

By Tiffany-Ashley Disney

Mentoring Committee leaders Lauren Brunswick, Tiffany-Ashley Disney, and Tammi Calarco
MDFAWL hosted its Seventh Annual Speed Networking and Mentoring event at Shook, Hardy & Bacon. Prospective student mentees spent the evening going around the room speaking with prospective attorney and judge mentors in a manner modeled after speed dating. At the end of the night both mentors and mentees ranked their top picks for mentee-mentor pairings. Approximately fifty law students from University of Miami and Florida Internatial University will be paired with a mentor in the coming weeks. 
Mentoring Get-Together and Membership Happy Hour
August 23, 2017 | Batch Gastropub

By Lauren Brunswick

Mentoring Committee members Maggie Snyder, Tiffany-Ashley Disney, Tammi Calarco, Lauren Brunswick, and Ingrid Benson-Villegas
On August 23, 2017, the MDFAWL Mentoring Committee held a happy hour for its members at Batch Gastropub. The event served as an opportunity for members to get to know each other and for members of the attorney mentoring program to reconnect. The Mentoring Committee's attorney mentoring program, now in its inaugural year, pairs young attorneys with more senior attorney mentors. For more information about the program, email

Lunch with Judge Martin Zilber
October 18, 2017 | Zest

By Giovanna "Gia" Abreu

MDFAWL members with Judge Zilber at Zest
MDFAWL held a Table for Eight Lunch with Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Martin Zilber at Zest in downtown Miami.
During lunch, Judge Zilber, one of the bench's most fashionable jurists, shared anecdotes and practical advice with attendees. Judge Zilber answered questions about what he enjoys the most about being a judge, and he shared his journeys from the bar to the bench and from the Juvenile Dependency Division to the Circuit Criminal Division. Judge Zilber also shared his insights on the differences in judicial discretion in civil and criminal court. When asked what his best advice for a young lawyer interested in becoming a judge, Judge Zilber highlighted the importance of being involved and invested in the community you plan to serve.
On behalf of MDFAWL, the Table for Eight Committee thanks Judge Zilber for joining us for a delicious lunch and fruitful discussion at Zest!

Court Care Cocktail Party and Silent Auction
October 26, 2017 | McDermott Will & Emery

By Amy Bowers-Zamora and Crystal Revilla

On October 26, 2017, judges, lawyers, and members of Miami-Dade County's business and legal community came together for the 14th Annual Court Care Reception at the Brickell office of McDermott Will & Emery. The reception, which featured a silent auction, photo booth, and hors d'oeuvres and cocktails, was designed to raise money for the Court Care program, which provides child care services free of charge for children of parents, victims, and witnesses involved in court proceedings, who would otherwise be present in the courtroom.
The chief executive officer of the YWCA of Greater Miami, Kerry-Ann Royes, welcomed attendees to the event and encouraged them to bid on items generously donated by local businesses to ensure that Court Care remains funded throughout the year and beyond. Ms. Royes also thanked McDermott Will & Emery, which was the event's Platinum Host, and McDermott Will & Emery attorney Caroline M. Iovino. Ms. Iovino, who is a member of the YWCA's board of directors, assisted in planning, promoting, and hosting the event.
Miami-Dade Circuit Chief Judge Bertila Soto personally thanked the event chair, Gerald I. Kornreich of Kornreich & Associates, who, she says "breathes life into Court Care every year," and the YWCA for its generous support throughout the years. Chief Judge Soto remarked, "We are so lucky that the YWCA has never let go of this partnership, even when we did not have the money. This is so important for the children" who, through Court Care, are provided a safe environment away from the courtroom while parties attend to court business in the domestic violence, criminal, and family divisions of Miami-Dade's courthouses.
Sponsors for the event included Alan Goldfarb PA; Kornriech & Associates; Isicoff Ratzen & Koenigsberg; Gamba Lombana & Herrera; Kluger Kaplan Silverman Katzen & Levine; Berkowitz Pollack & Brant; The Dade County Bar Association; MDFAWL; Dade Legal Aid; Zarco Einhorn Salkwoski & Britto; Diaz Reus & Targ; and Shubin & Bass.
An Energizing Sunday of Networking, Spinning, and Sculpting at IronFlower Fitness 
August 27, 2017 | IronFlower Fitness

By Carolina S. Piñero

MDFAWL members recharging for the week at IronFlower Fitness
On August 27, 2017, MDFAWL's Character and Fitness Committee teamed up with IronFlower Fitness offering MDFAWL members and non-members alike a 45-minute, adrenaline pumping spin, and sculpt class. The class combined the best the elements of indoor cycling with upper body exercises. Attendees pushed through the high intensity workout while spinning to hard hitting beats and top hits.
IronFlower Fitness is a unique, designer gym located in the heart of Miami's Little River District dedicated to providing a luxury experience tailored to women gym goers. In addition to offering the traditional workout experience using weights and machines, IronFlower Fitness provides a large selection of group fitness classes to keep gym goers engaged and motivated. Its classes include Classical Pilates, Power Cycling, Boot Camp, Ballet Barre, and Kickboxing just to name a few.
After an intense forty-five minutes of cycling and upper body sculpting, IronFlower Fitness graciously raffled off gym prizes and offered discount rates to the attendees. The lucky winners won a free one-month gym membership and a dip manicure. Overall, it was an energizing Sunday morning of cycling and networking!  
For more information on IronFlower Fitness, please visit
Immigration Screenings with MDFAWL, Americans for Immigrant Justice, and Haitian Lawyers Association
November 4, 2017 | Americans for Immigrant Justice

By Maite Garcia 

On November 4, 2017, MDFAWL's Pro Bono Committee partnered with Americans for Immigrant Justice and the Haitian Lawyers Association to conduct a free legal screening clinic for immigrants in our community. Approximately 11 volunteer attorneys from various practice areas participated. Collectively we conducted 30 client intakes and consults! Volunteer attorneys also earned two hours of CLE for participating in the immigration training led by attorney Meghan Humphreys from Americans for Immigrant Justice. The event was a huge success thanks in large part to HLA and MDFAWL volunteers and support.  
Spotlight on Our Members*
News and Accomplishments of the People Who Make MDFAWL 

Judge Stuzin Elevated to Circuit Court Bench
On October 9, 2017, Florida Governor Rick Scott announced the appointment of Judge Laura Ann Stuzin to the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court following the resignation of Judge Gisela Cardonne Ely. Prior to her appointment on the Circuit Court bench, Judge Stuzin has served as on the bench of the Miami-Dade County Court since 2015. Her investiture will take place on February 23, 2018, at 1:15 p.m. in Courtroom 6-1 of the Miami-Dade County Courthouse.
Judge Laura Ann Stuzin
MDFAWL Leaders Become Law Firm Partners
Stephanie E. Casey 
Cristina Pérez-Soto  
Schuyler Smith 
MDFAWL congratulates Stephanie Casey, Cristina Pérez-Soto, and Schuyler Smith on becoming partner at their respective law firms!

Stephanie Casey, a member of the MDFAWL Board of Directors, practices in the areas of commercial litigation, personal injury, and class action litigation at the Coral Gables law firm Colson Hicks Eidson. She has represented U.S. and international clients in a wide range of antitrust, securities, commercial litigation, qui tam, and white collar defense matters in state and federal trial and appellate courts in Florida, New York and Washington DC. Prior to joining the firm in 2012, she served as a judicial clerk for United States District Judge Marcia G. Cooke of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida and worked at a large, international law firm in Washington, DC. 
Cristina Perez-Soto, Co-Chair of the MDFAWL Leadership Committee and Publications Quality Control Committee, practices in the areas of investigations and white collar defense; global disputes; foreign corrupt practices act counseling and defense; and internal investigations at the Miami office of Jones Day. Her experience includes representing companies and individuals in U.S. government investigations, and representing clients in the United States and abroad with respect to international litigation and arbitration. Prior to her law firm practice, Cristina served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of Florida, and she also served as a law clerk to Judge Juan R. Torruela before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and United States District Judge Juan M. Pérez-Giménez of the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico.
Schuyler Smith, Co-Chair of the Table for Eight/Lunch with the Judges Committee, practices in the areas of commercial litigation and defense of personal injury, premises liability, and products liability lawsuits. She represents major hotels and resort chains, Fortune 500 companies, insurers, cruise lines, and transportation companies, in state and federal courts throughout Florida and the United States Virgin Islands. Prior to her law firm practice, Schuyler gained substantial courtroom experience as a trial attorney for the State of Florida Department of Children and Families.
Geri Satin Completes Ph.D. in Legal Psychology
Geri Satin, a senior trial consultant at Focus Litigation Consulting, LLC, successfully completed her  Ph.D. in legal psychology from Florida International University.  Satin's dissertation concerns utility of the Cognitive Interview and its effect on legal decision making. Satin specializes in juror behavior and decision-making as well as the analysis of complex evidentiary and witness issues in civil and criminal cases. Through the use of mock trials and focus groups, Satin assists in the development of persuasive case themes and strategies, jury selection, and case valuation. Satin's clients includ e the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Ford Motor Company, and State Farm, as well as national and regional law firms.

Congratulations to Geri on this significant achievement!
Geri Satin 

Amy Bowers-Zamora Successfully Defends Major Case
MDFAWL member Amy Bowers-Zamora, an associate attorney at the law firm of Carey Rodriguez Milian Gonya LLP, was part of a legal team instrumental in the defense of professional soccer governing body Conmebol, the South American Football Confederation, in an antitrust lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The case, now closed, is GolTV, Inc. et al v. Fox Sports Latin America Ltd., et al., No. 16-cv-24431, before the Honorable Cecilia M. Altonaga. Read more about the case here.

*Have something to shout about or know someone who does? Email us at We want to put you in the spotlight!
Speed Mentoring
October 25, 2017 | Shook, Hardy & Bacon  
MDFAWL Welcomes Substantive Content for Newsletter

The Advisor brings news from MDFAWL and its members to you on a quarterly basis. In addition to highlighting our programming and members, we welcome submissions regarding substantive areas of law or related to issues of interest to MDFAWL members. If you are interested in submitting content to feature in The Advisor, contact us at for more information.
Our Leadership

Katie S. Phang

Lara Bueso Bach

Elisa D'Amico

Ardith Bronson

Newsletter Editor
Kristin Drecktrah Paz
Ingrid Benson-Villegas 
Lauren Brunswick 
Stephanie Casey 
Allison Jade Leonard 
Freddi Mack 
Diana C. Mendez 
Stephanie Moot 
Kelly Peña 
Julissa Rodriguez 
Jennifer Ruiz 
Jody Shulman

Immediate Past President  
Rebecca Ocariz
Committee Chairs
Giovanna Abreu
Claire Armagnac
Angela Benjamin
Tammi Calarco
Gabriela Castillo
Diana Castiov
Dana Chaaban
Madelin D'Arce
Liana De La Noval
Tiffany Disney
Amanda Fernandez  
Maite Garcia
Keri Joseph
Olivia Kelman
Amber Kornreich

Christine Louissaint 
Vannessa Mari-Milhem 
Liana Matthews
Sheila Oretsky
Cristina Pérez Soto
Carolina Piñero
Deborah Ross-Ocariz
Schuyler Smith
Marycarmen Soto
Alice Sum
Sylmarie Trujillo
Courtney Walter
Alicia Welch
Trisha Widowfield

MDFAWL 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.

Kristin Drecktrah Paz, Newsletter Editor | MDFAWL |