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Daily Business Review. Professional Excellence Lifetime Achievement.

The Daily Business Review is pleased to present its Professional Excellence awards, which celebrates Lifetime Achievers, Rising Stars and the Attorneys of the year.

In this special Lifetime section, we honor 14 attorneys and judges who have made a notable impact on the South Florida legal community. The honorees have made significant marks in deciding cases, public service, building and managing law firms, handling all manner of matters in private practice and representing the poor. We feel these attorneys are prime examples of the very best the legal community has to offer.

We also present our fourth annual Rising Stars, recognizing 23 South Florida attorneys under the age of 40 for making a difference in the industry and the community.

And we recognize three outstanding lawyers for their work in the past year. The finalists for the award are Ira Rosner of Greenberg Traurig, William Scherer of Conrad & Scherer and Whitney Untiedt of Akerman. The winner will be  reported in Friday’s edition.

We congratulate the outstanding honorees.

George Haj

Editor-in-Chief

Daily Business Review

Robert “Bob” Josefsberg has made a career of taking on bullies, but doing it with the kind of civility that is often rate in South Florida’s rough and tumble courtrooms.

The former dean of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers is known around Miami as one of the old-school gentlemen lawyers. He gave an oft-quoted speech on civility in 1994 at the academy, urging his profession to reject the rudeness that has crept into courtrooms.

“Civility is not inconsistent with zealous advocacy,” he said, “You can be civil while you’re aggressive, upset, angry and intimidating, you’re just not allowed to be rude. Unfortunately, some lawyers and the public don’t understand the differences.”

Josefsberg is a senior partner at Podhurst Orseck, where be has been involved in the multidistrict litigation against banks that rearranged transactions to overcharge custoners billions of dollars on overdraft have settled, agreeing to pay a combined $2.6 Billion. In addition to complex commercial litigation, Josefsberg handles criminal cases and has spent thousands of hours working for pro bono clients.

“I’ve had a lot of lawsuits against some person or entity I think is a bully,” he said, mentioning suits that he’s filed against the Palestine Liberation Organization, China and the banking system.

Josefsberg’s clients run the gamut from two men who were beat up by baseball star Jose Canseco and his brother after one of the men allegedly touched Canseco’s Girlfriend to was arrested in Miami for exposing himself at a concert.

For as much as Josefsberg is seen as the quintessential well-rounded attorney, he said he’d rather be remembered for something else.

“I’d like to be remembered not as a lawyer but as a husband, father and grandfather,” he said, “I think that’s more important.”

He has four children and 12 grandchildren.