This is 2016. It is a year where we could witness Hillary Clinton become the first female President of the United States. It is a time where women have ostensibly shattered whatever glass ceiling may have existed in the past. Yet, despite the perceived progress for women, there are still obstacles to overcome, including work-life balance.
In honor of International Women’s Day, celebrated annually in March, it seems an appropriate time to reflect on issues that impact working women—and in particular, young women attorneys.
For young women lawyers, navigating through the ever-changing legal world can be challenging for a multitude of reasons. Inequality in pay, respect, and advancement are among the issues confronting young women lawyers. According to a recent survey conducted by the Young Lawyers Division of the Florida Bar, 43% of young women attorneys have experienced gender bias. One of the survey participants said that she left a job because she “was told by the managing partner that [she] did not have to worry about making money and moving ahead because [she] would get married one day and will not have to worry about living expenses.” More than a quarter of those surveyed reported that they resigned from a position due to lack of advancement, employer insensitivity, and lack of work-life balance.
What do you do when you have reached the pinnacle of career success and represented some of the biggest names in the community? For famed attorney Alan Kluger and wife, retired Judge Amy Dean, you come up with the brilliant idea to invite resource-challenged non-profits to hold fundraising events in your downtown law office – Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine, P.L.
A part of the firm’s 25,000 square foot space has been specially converted to host up to 40 guests and to show off an extensive group of art works from the Kluger’s coveted Contemporary Latin American art collection.
Kluger’s idea is twofold: help non-profits with an interesting space to fundraise and help them learn how to ask for donations.
For SocialMiami.com, a company that is dedicated to helping non-profits get the word out about their events and celebrating those who make the events successful, a collaboration with Alan Kluger was a match made in non-profit heaven. SocialMiami invited a vetted list of non-profit professionals to come and experience an evening with Kluger. When they arrived at the office, wine, beer, soft drinks and bottled water awaited along with a conference table-turned buffet overflowing with appetizers. Continue reading →
Florida has long recognized a “litigation privilege” affording absolute immunity for communications made during the course of judicial proceedings, including statements in written pleadings and motions and at hearings and depositions, unless the statements bear no relation to the proceeding or are fraudulently made for the sole purpose of inducing settlement. The privilege initially was created to protect litigants, lawyers, and witnesses from defamation claims. However, over time, Florida courts have expanded the privilege to additional tort claims, including fraud and tortious interference.
Florida courts have also been faced with an important issue testing the boundaries of the privilege: whether, and to what extent, the litigation privilege applies to “pre-suit” communications. The issue was presented to the Fourth District Court of Appeal for the first time in Pledger v. Burnup & Sims, Inc., 432 So. 2d 1323 (Fla. 4th DCA 1983), where a draft complaint, which allegedly contained a false statement, was presented to opposing counsel prior as a settlement tactic prior to litigation. The court held that a “qualified privilege” applies to certain pre-suit communications, such as communications that are mandated by statute, administrative regulation, or by contract. The court noted that while not all pre-suit settlement communications satisfy that standard, the privilege should cover those communications because public policy favors the resolution of disputes outside of court. The court expressed some limitation on the privilege, holding that statements made during such pre-suit communications would not be protected if the injured party can prove “express malice or malice in fact.”
The law regarding the qualified litigation privilege for pre-suit communications is still developing. Continue reading →
Florida follows the “American Rule” on the entitlement to attorney’s fees, in that attorney’s fees generally are not recoverable as an element of damages in the absence of statutory authority or a contractual agreement. However, civil litigators throughout Florida should be aware of a powerful yet somewhat unknown exception to that general rule – the Wrongful Act Doctrine.
The Wrongful Act Doctrine permits “a plaintiff to recover third-party litigation expenses as special damages where the defendant’s wrongful act caused the plaintiff to litigate with a third party.” More specifically, the Doctrine provides that “[w]here the wrongful act of the defendant has involved the claimant in litigation with others, and has placed the claimant in such relation with others as makes it necessary to incur expenses to protect its interests, such costs and expenses, including reasonable attorney’s fees upon appropriate proof, may be recovered as an element of damages.” Continue reading →
Miami-based litigation firm Kluger Kaplan recently named Lisa J. Jerles Of Counsel at the firm. Jerles specializes in complex commercial litigation cases and family law matters. She has worked with local and national businesses to resolve disputes relating to contract disputes, real estate transactions, employment issues and shareholder derivative claims.
“Lisa is an outside the box thinker who is dedicated to working closely with clients to provide a high level of satisfaction,” said Abbey L. Kaplan, founding member of Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine. “Her clients always know that Lisa is willing to go the extra mile to be sure that their expectations are met.”
Jerles is noted for working closely with her clients to implement legal strategies that work with long term personal and professional goals. She combines her creativity, analytical skills and strong knowledge of the legal issues to craft winning strategies and arguments for her clients.