MIAMI (December 5, 2014) – Nine Holland & Knight attorneys were recognized in the categories of Lobbying, Class Action, Criminal Law, Public Interest, and Pro Bono today at the Daily Business Review's 10th annual Most Effective Lawyer awards luncheon. Holland & Knight took home the top award in the area of Lobbying.
The finalists and winners are composed of more than 95 South Florida attorneys in 15 practice areas chosen by the Review's editorial staff. Those selected scored the biggest jury verdicts and settlements, won in criminal court, or achieved significant client victories affecting public policy or business in 2014. The Review is owned by American Lawyer Media and is read by South Florida lawyers and business professionals.
Holland & Knight partner Rick Perez was named the winner of the Lobbying category. He was recognized for his work on behalf of Midtown Opportunities, the owner of the remaining undeveloped parcels within Miami’s Midtown Development District, and Walmart. Despite the challenge of working against one of the largest corporations in the world, Mr. Perez succeeded in stopping Walmart’s plans for a new store near downtown Miami. Subsequently, he convinced Walmart to significantly change its design plan to match the community’s vision for their vibrant urban boulevard, paving the way for Walmart to open the store.
Also in the Lobbying category, partner Miguel de Grandy was recognized for successfully representing AECOM Technical Services Inc. in a long and contentious bid process for a $91 million contract to manage a $1.6 billion Miami-Dade County sewer project. Initially, AECOM's competitor was recommended for the project, but with Mr. de Grandy leading the bid protest, eventually the award was invalidated and his client was ranked the most qualified bidder.
Partners John Hogan, Sandy Bohrer and Scott Ponce and associate Brian Toth were finalists for their Public Interest work defending Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle in a federal lawsuit brought by a former Miami City Commissioner who was indicted for bribery and grand theft but acquitted. The team was able to get the 19-count civil rights complaint against Ms. Rundle dismissed.
In the area of Criminal Law, partner Bill Shepherd was recognized for his successful representation of a Panamanian woman who was arrested for her role in an international Internet gambling and money laundering scheme. Ultimately, the judge spared Mr. Shepherd’s client prison time and, instead, sentenced her to two years of probation and a $25,000 fine.
Additionally, the team of partners Sandy Bohrer and Scott Ponce and associate Brian Toth were recognized in the category of Class Action for their successful defense of Voice Media Group Inc. The media company was accused of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act with its mobile text marketing campaign. The Holland & Knight team obtained a denial of motion for class certification, after which the plaintiff dropped the case.
Lastly, in the Pro Bono category, partner Christine Gay was recognized for helping a Venezuelan father reunite with his 2-year-old daughter who was abducted by his wife. She used the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction to obtain a successful result.
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