Daily Business Review: Litigator Todd Levine’s Passion for Music, Art, Math and Science Helps in the Courtroom

Todd_Levine

 

 

 

 

 

By Lidia Dinkova

May 4, 2018

Litigator Todd Levine has all the professional background common among successful litigators: A law degree, years of experience, mentors who guided him when he embarked on his career and a dedication to the job.

But Levine has skills outside the legal field that he credits for his success as well.

Levine is an avid musician who has played guitar since he was about 10 years old, he said. He also draws, plays a bit bass guitar and some keyboards, and has a penchant for math and science.

This combination of creativity and a gift for exact sciences have allowed him a more “out-of-the-box” approach to litigation, he said.

Take as an example that time he was in a mediation, and the mediator walked in holding new evidence just presented by the other side that at first appeared to hurt Levine’s case.

But Levine turned things around, he said.

“I had never seen those documents before but I pulled the documents and, frankly I don’t remember what I saw in them but in a matter of five minutes … I found something in one of the documents. I was able to point to this particular aspect of the documents, and I said, ‘This is the reason I will win this case.’ And the mediator’s jaw dropped. He couldn’t believe that I came up with such a quick response that turned the tables on the other side so quickly. It was because I was able to see something the other side did not see,” Levine recalled.

Continue reading in the Daily Business Review. 

Meet Dan Rosen, partner-in charge of our Minnesota office

Last April, Kluger Kaplan opened its newest office in Minneapolis and welcomed is Partner-in-Charge Daniel N. Rosen to the firm to spearhead this expansion. Nearly one year later, we caught up with Dan to learn more about his experience since joining Kluger Kaplan and his path to becoming one of the top complex commercial litigators in the Midwest. 

Dan RosenQ: How has joining Kluger Kaplan enhanced and supported your practice?

A: Kluger Kaplan has a depth of resources that I have rarely seen in my career. Previously, I was a principal at a small law firm.  Our firm performed at a very high level, but my practice outgrew the limitations of a small firm. At Kluger Kaplan I am supported by everything a trial lawyer could want—most importantly, a team on which every associate and every partner is smart, experienced and hard-charging. Being backed up by those resources and skills gives me the confidence any advocate needs going into litigation.

Q: How did you decide to enter the legal profession?

A:  You might say it’s in my genes. My father was a great trial lawyer with a unique enthusiasm for advocacy.  He’d teach me the skills of being a trial lawyer even when I was still a kid (seriously).  So, when the time came to choose my career, it was a natural decision.  My father died only five years into my career as a lawyer, but I was gratified that two weeks before he died, he was able to see me win my first million-dollar jury verdict.

Q: How did your experiences as a US Navy officer during the Gulf War help prepare you for your legal career?

A: A young naval officer is given huge responsibility. I was in command of 35 people. Half of them were older than I was, and most had been in the Navy far longer than I.  They were of course obligated to follow my orders, but to draw out the highest level of performance, the trick was to get them to want to follow my orders. So I had to learn the art of persuasion.  It’s the same with a jury.  If you want to win, it’s not enough to have statutes and cases on your side; you need to make them want to find for you.

My Navy experience also taught me the need for fast reactions and attention to detail, which is drilled into young officers.    Both are critical disciplines for a trial lawyer.

Q: You were recently appointed to a second four-year term on the Minnesota Campaign Finance & Public Disclosure Board. Why are you honored to serve on this board?

A: The board is bipartisan, and I was honored that when Minnesota’s Democratic governor needed a Republican he could count on for fairness, he appointed me. In my recent tenure as chairman of the board, I worked hard to build consensus in addressing matters that were naturally charged with partisanship.    I believe we were successful and I am glad about that because the integrity of our elections and our democracy depends upon bipartisan cooperation in ensuring that our campaign finance system is clean and transparent.

Serving on the Minnesota Campaign Finance & Public Disclosure Board has put me in a very strong position to help elected officials and donors –– state or federal –– who find themselves under the gun for violation of campaign finance law. The knowledge base and expertise that I have developed in the field is not commonly found in the legal profession but is a critical one.

 

Daily Business Review: South Florida Midsize Law Firms Find Room for Fee Options

Daily Business Review

 

By Catherine Wilson

The buzz about alternative fee arrangements has gotten louder in recent years, and many midsize law firms in South Florida have carved out space for something other than the straight billable hour.

AJK High Resolution“It’s becoming more and more of a topic, especially in big commercial cases, where it really wasn’t before,” said Miami commercial litigator Alan Kluger, co-founder of the 32-attorney Kluger Kaplan. “Clients are more receptive than they used to be.

The field of possibilities is open on the client side.

“Every single client, with the exception of maybe the Fortune 50, are potential clients to do alternative fee agreements, and the main thing they tell you is the shifting of the risk solely from the client to the client and the lawyers makes them happy,” he said.

But opinion is split on the willingness of clients to switch away from billable hours to AFAs.

Gary Rosen, managing shareholder of the 92-attorney Becker & Poliakoff, said he attends a lot of professional conferences, and “there’s been a lot of talk about AFAs in the past 10 years generally.”

“In reality, AFAs have not grown as dramatically and have not become as significant a component of the overall legal landscape as many have predicted, and the reason is it’s not that lawyers are uncomfortable with it. For the most part, it’s clients who are uncomfortable with it,” he said. “Clients have shown a reticence to move much more significantly into the AFA environment.”

Clients like the idea of predictable legal fees, and alternative arrangements are keyed more to specific clients than practice areas, said real estate litigator Ryan Gesten of the 21-attorney Shapiro, Blasi, Wasserman & Hermann in Boca Raton.

“I’ve been practicing 17 years. I’ve handled 1,000 matters on contingency,” he said. When considering a request for alternative fees, “it’s almost like we know it when we see it.”

Attorneys at South Florida midsize firms said alternative fees represent as little as 10 percent of total revenue and as high as 80 percent of cases, with litigation being a common practice area for AFAs.

The types of cases most likely to foster alternative fees at Kluger’s litigation firm are third-party and bad faith insurance claims, legal malpractice claims and breach of warranty claims.

“Those cases get resolved because it’s money. It’s just money,” he said.

Continue reading in the Daily Business Review. 

Law360: Plaintiffs Bar Perspective: Kluger Kaplan’s Bruce Katzen

Bruce Katzen - kluger Kaplan

Bruce A. Katzen is chairman of the trust and estate’s litigation practice group at Kluger Kaplan Silverman Katzen & Levine PL in Miami. He focuses his practice on litigation of probate, trust and guardianship disputes as well as commercial litigation, including corporate matters, securities, accountants’ liability and stockbroker liability and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority arbitrations. He has become particularly recognized for his work in the areas of financial fraud, franchise disputes, probate, trust and guardianship disputes, company purchase and sale disputes, and life insurance coverage disputes.

Katzen’s early training as a certified public accountant piqued his interest in the complex financial fraud and probate cases that he handles for his clients. Given the technical financial issues in most of his cases, his background enables him to more thoroughly understand the issues, more precisely examine witnesses and experts, and more zealously advance his client’s position.

Q: What’s the most rewarding aspect of working as a plaintiffs attorney?

A: The most rewarding aspect of working as a plaintiffs attorney is assisting individuals who have been injured or harmed in some fashion. In my practice, I frequently have clients come to me facing emotional and financial hardship and are in need as a result of them being wronged. It is rewarding to work with them to right this wrong and recover damages on their behalf.

Click to read more on Law360.com.

Daily Business Review: Litigation Department of the Year

Daily Business Review

Kluger Kaplan Litigation Department of Year

Alan Kluger, Marko Cerenko, Todd Levine, Steve Silverman and Abbey Kaplan, of Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine. Photo via DBR.

Litigation Department of the Year

General Litigation – Midsize

Kluger Kaplan

The 31-attorney litigation boutique is known nationally for taking on complex, high-stakes disputes across a range of disciplines and industries.

Kluger Kaplan’s trial lawyers have earned national recognition as determined and effective client advocates. Their expertise is in business and corporate litigation, real estate litigation, securities and financial fraud, corporate governance, probate and estate, bankruptcy litigation and debtor and creditor’s rights, federal and state appeals, professional liability, intellectual property, class actions and complex matrimonial litigation.

The firm is called upon by general counsel from companies across the country to litigate big matters.

Its cases include litigation against Donald Trump’s company, Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez’s divorce, the Fontainebleau Las Vegas director and officer liability case, litigation against developer Art Falcone and his Miami Worldcenter project, the Victor Posner estate battle, Claudio Osorio’s investment fraud litigation and the Dollar Tree restrictive covenant cases.

Click to read more at DailyBusinessReview.com.