Daily Business Review: Q&As With DBR’s 2019 On the Rise Honorees

The Daily Business Review recognizes attorneys with On the Rise awards for outstanding work early in their careers.

By Catherine Wilson

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LINDSAY HABER

Title: Partner

Experience: Kluger Kaplan, 2011-present

Education: Nova Southeastern University, 2010; University of Florida, 2006

What drew you to a career in law? The ability to use my undergraduate journalism degree with a career that would continuously keep me on my toes.

Have you set a specific goal that you want to achieve in the next year? I recently achieved my No. 1 work goal for the past several years of becoming partner at Kluger Kaplan in January.

What has been your proudest career moment and your biggest hurdle? Proudest career moment: Helping my client, an Italian citizen, get his children back to Italy.  His wife, also an Italian citizen, had brought their Italian children to Miami for a summer vacation and refused to return the children to their home in Italy for the upcoming school year. Biggest hurdle: When I first started, building my confidence when arguing against senior attorneys in the courtroom.

Where do you fit on a 1-10 work-life balance scale with 10 being nirvana? Please explain. 7, There is an ebb and flow when it comes to work-life balance, especially when we are all continuing to push for professional success.  I have started using my work calendar to plan not just work, but my personal life as well. So that I can try and make time for myself and my family and know how to plan each day successfully around both.

What is the top quality that you’ve used to succeed in the profession? Self-awareness. I am a litigator, part of a great law firm, and practice specifically in family law. To handle the hectic days that come with all of that, it takes more than just understanding the law. It takes, patience, understanding, and most of all, self-awareness. Knowing your strengths as well as your shortcomings helps me within my law firm as well as with my clients.

Who is your favorite mentor and why? Alan Kluger. He has allowed me to grow as a lawyer over the nearly 10 years at his firm: first as a summer associate in law school, then as a lawyer, and now as a partner at the firm. Alan has given me opportunities that must young lawyers could only dream of. I am thankful for the challenges he has given me and pushing me to be a better lawyer.

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you? You know the law, now go with your gut!

What trends are you observing in the profession that you’re excited about? The way technology and remote connection has changed one’s ability to work away from the office desk. I think this has and will continue to be a big game changer for attorneys.

What is the greatest challenge you see for the legal profession? Technology. It has allowed emails, text messages, phone calls and even FaceTime to replace in-person meetings. Technology can be a double-edged sword!

If I weren’t a lawyer, I’d be … I don’t really know! I like being a family law attorney.

Changes in the Fair Labor Standards Act

 By Michael Landen

Michael Landen (1)The number of wage and hour lawsuits has considerably increased in recent years, and unpaid overtime ranks high among the most combative issues. This March, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) announced a proposed rule that would make more than one million American workers eligible for overtime. The proposed change to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) increases the required yearly salary to maintain an exempt position from the current $24K per year to $35K per year, effective January 2020.

Unlike the previous proposal from the Obama administration in 2016, the current one does not establish automatic, periodic increases of the salary threshold over time. Instead, the proposal is asking for public comment on how the federal DOL may update the requirements every four years. The last time the salary threshold was increased was 2004.

If the proposal to raise the salary threshold is approved, it will likely lead to additional lawsuits. From an employer standpoint, this may create an additional hurdle in terms of having to deal with potential overtime issues. But, since the threshold hasn’t been raised in 15 years, it seems timely to review.

Employers who currently have exempt workers who earn more than $455 per week, but less than $679, yet match the duties requirements can comply with the new proposal by increasing the employee’s salary to the new established level, limiting hours so employees do not work overtime or reclassifying employees as non-exempt.

Regardless of the final DOL rule, employers must also take into consideration how the new proposal interacts with exemptions under state laws. While some states do not have overtime laws, others incorporate the FLSA as it stands, incorporate the FLSA overtime provisions, but with greater salary requirements or have their own exemptions and salary levels. Florida overtime laws essentially defer to the federal law and do not have any state specific exemptions.

Daily Business Review: Social Science Looks to Demystify the Jury Selection Process

The use of jury consultants who use empirical analysis to find out how a firm’s case will play in front of a jury before a trial ever begins has become standard practice — especially in high-stakes litigation.

By Dylan Jackson | February 20, 2019 at 06:09 PM

Screen Shot 2019-02-25 at 2.05.43 PMJury selection has long been a cryptic process, and every trial attorney has a juror war story and list of voir dire taboos.

Some have called it pure guesswork. Others have described it as a combination of psychology and the dark arts.

But Marjorie Sommer, co-founder of the Florida trial consulting firm Focus Litigation, believes lawyers have too many preconceptions about jury selection. She and her partner Geri Satin say the process need not be a mystery.

“It’s a numbers game,” Satin said.

Through qualitative and quantitative analysis (Satin has a doctorate degree in legal psychology from Florida International University) and with the help of a thousand focus groups, mock trials, and real-world verdicts, Sommer and Satin counsel law firms, companies and even government agencies about what type of jury could help their case.

Over the past two decades, the use of trial consultants has become ubiquitous in high-profile cases. In 1983, the American Society of Trial Consultants had less than 20 members. Today, the organization boasts nearly 300. While in its infancy, the industry was viewed with much skepticism. But as the digital era has matured, data analytics has grown more sophisticated, transforming jury consulting into a legal industry that is accepted and even embraced.

Much of their job, Satin said, is to demystify the jury selection process and use their combined 30 years of legal experience to provide actionable recommendations based on their findings…

“Here we are, all lawyers, and we’re trained on the legal issues. We’re not really trained on the social science part of it,” said Bruce Katzen, founding partner of Miami-based boutique litigation firm Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine. “It’s good to hear how ‘real people’ react.”

After both sides argue their case, the mock jury deliberations are recorded for analysis and a verdict is rendered. Satin and Sommer then compile a report that can run hundreds of pages, stuffed with recommendations, quantitative analysis that uses a juror’s responses to specific questions to correlate a verdict. Advice to clients could include formulating precise questions for voir dire, pointing out what juries perceived as weaknesses in a case, and highlighting the most effective visual aids.

But their job isn’t only about jury selection. Satin and Sommer say some of their biggest “wins” come before jury selection even begins. If an insurance company has $500 million in exposure, and the focus groups and mock juries are returning consistent findings against their client, they will advise the client to work on a settlement instead of recommending a trial. If the company settles for $50 million instead of losing big in the courtroom, Satin and Sommer see that as a victory.

“One of the most reliable things we give is a reality check,” Sommer said.

Read the full article in the Daily Business Review. 

 

How technology has changed ADA lawsuits

Michael Landen (1)Each week, large companies across the country often find themselves facing lawsuits for alleged violations of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), particularly when it comes to wheelchair ramps and accessible parking. However, companies need to be aware that they could soon become the target for a new type lawsuit under the ADA…claims that their website is not compliant with the law by being inaccessible to the visually impaired.

ADA litigation related to website accessibility has surged in recent years. In the first six months of last year alone 1,053 such lawsuits were filed nationwide and increase from 814 cases in all of 2017.

The ADA protects the rights of the physically impaired to receive services at the same level and quality as everyone else. Given that many online services can be treated as “public accommodations,” entities that provide extra services on their website are the largest targets for these claims. Businesses in the retail and hospitality industries are particularly vulnerable for becoming a target for this type of lawsuit. As such, businesses should make sure that their websites conform to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 standards and minimalize impaired people’s limitations to having full access to the site.

It is important for all businesses to consider how to reduce their potential liability. While complying with the WCAG 2.1 is not a complete shield against ADA lawsuits, it should be every business’s first step in reducing its liability exposure.

As we begin the new year, Florida’s Eleventh Circuit is expected to rule on a decision that may open the floodgates for lawsuits over website accessibility. Last October, the federal appeals court heard arguments in Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. appeal of a June 2017. The decision concluded that blind plaintiff Juan Carlos Gil has alleged the incompatibility of Winn-Dixie’s website with standard screen reader software, thus denying him the full and equal access of what the company offers to sighted customers.

Businesses need to be constantly aware that ADA-related litigation is continually expanding into digital territory as technology becomes more necessary in our day-to-day lives. Being proactive and taking steps to limit exposure could prevent you from becoming the latest target for this kind of lawsuit.

Kluger Kaplan Silverman Katzen & Levine Names Lindsay Haber as Partner

Screen Shot 2018-12-12 at 5.34.45 PMMIAMI – January 17, 2019 –Preeminent litigation firm Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine, is pleased to announce that Lindsay Haber has been elected to the firm’s partnership. Previously, Ms. Haber served as an Associate in Kluger Kaplan’s Family Law Group since joining the firm in 2011.

Ms. Haber focuses her practice on family law disputes, including divorces, child custody issues, domestic violence and preparations of prenuptial agreements and paternity disputes. Beyond her national practice, she has handled international domestic issues, including a kidnapping that crossed borders.

“Over the years, Lindsay has shown dedication, expertise, persistence, and an understanding of how to provide outstanding client service and counsel. We are lucky to have her continue to grow under the Kluger Kaplan brand.” said Alan J. Kluger, a founding member of Kluger Kaplan. “Today’s announcement of Lindsay joining the firm’s partnership is another milestone in our firm’s growth and underscores the strength of our rising talent.”

For the last three years, Ms. Haber has held the position of a Director on the Board of the Broward County Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section where she most recently assisted in organizing its first-annual “Law-LaPalooza” Bench and Bar Conference in December 2018. She is also a member of the Broward Matrimonial Lawyers Association. Her past leadership roles include The Network Rush Hour Chair in 2012-2013 for the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, and the Florida Association for Women Lawyers (FAWL) Membership Committee Chair in 2011-2012. She has also presented to national industry groups concerning timely topics related to family law.

Prior to Kluger Kaplan, Ms. Haber interned for Legal Aid of Broward County. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Florida, and attended Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center, where she graduated summa cum laude with her Juris Doctorate degree. During this time, she was also the submissions editor of Nova Law Review, President of Phi Alpha Delta, and Vice President of Teams of the Nova Trial Association.

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About Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine, P.L.

Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine, P.L. focuses on complex, high-stakes disputes across a broad range of disciplines and industries, including all aspects of business and corporate litigation; real estate related litigation; intellectual property litigation; employment litigation; securities and financial fraud; corporate governance; bankruptcy related litigation and debtor and creditor’s rights; appeals in state and federal courts; professional liability; intellectual property disputes; class actions; and complex matrimonial, probate and trust litigation.  The firm’s veteran litigators have served as lead class counsel in federal multi-district litigation and trials in federal and state courts throughout the country.  The firm has offices in Miami, Boca Raton and Minneapolis.