Litigation Departments of the Year: Podhurst Orseck

Posted on June 03, 2022

Daily Business Review

“There will always be competitors who will be trying to enter your practice area, but we are fortunate to specialize in niche areas such as aviation law and class actions,” the firm said.

By Raychel Lean | June 03, 2022

Miami-based Podhurst Orseck handles aviation, complex commercial, class action and personal injury litigation. Responses by Steven C. Marks:

What are some of the department’s most satisfying successes of 2021, and why?

Overall, our greatest achievement in 2021 was making sure everybody stayed healthy during that pandemic and ensuring that the firm continued to work seamlessly and productively together despite lengthy periods of remote work due to the pandemic. From a professional standpoint, the resolution of the case against the FBI arising from the Parkland shooting was an amazing success, as it was an incredibly challenging case for a very worthy cause. Kristina Infante from our firm led the team with my involvement and excellent assistance from Pablo Rojas. The team secured a historic recovery for the Parkland families last November. Our firm has a history of representing victims and their families, and it is always rewarding to do what we can to help people affected by tragedy, especially right here in the South Florida community.

What was your biggest challenge in 2021 and how did you adapt?

It was difficult to have to be apart from each other for long periods during the pandemic. We’ve always maintained a family atmosphere in the office, and for well over 50 years, thanks to the leadership of my mentor Aaron Podhurst, we have been successful in keeping that unity and family atmosphere as the firm has grown. We adapted to the pandemic by using video conferencing technologies and staying in touch, but that’s not the same as being together in person. For two years, we have been unable to get together for our yearly team celebrations, not to mention countless other community related initiatives, including our traditional annual gift exchange for underprivileged children. Being isolated, as everyone has experienced, is very challenging, but we are glad to finally be back together in the office.

The market for legal services has been changing since well before 2021. What does success require in this climate?

Fortunately for our practice, the market has not dramatically changed in any meaningful way. There will always be competitors who will be trying to enter your practice area, but we are fortunate to specialize in niche areas such as aviation law and class actions. For one thing, these are highly complex areas of law that require specialized knowledge and reward the decades of experience and expertise that our firm is blessed to have. These areas also require a great deal of resources that most traditional plaintiffs’ firms do not have as part of their practice model. Certainly, over the years, more firms have entered the class action arena, but we continue to adapt by remaining involved in the leading cases and at staying at the cutting edge of the practice.

Litigators are extraordinarily busy people. What does the firm do to ensure that they remain engaged with pro bono work, their communities and their families?

Our firm’s founder, Aaron Podhurst, instilled a deep sense of community as part of the firm’s culture so all of us have been and will continue to be engaged in pro bono efforts. I hope that will never change. I would say we are trial lawyers, not litigators, and yes, our practice is very demanding. But I think all of us know how important it is to be involved in the community. As Aaron told me over 35 years ago, you need to be involved in community service in an area that moves you and that inspires you to do good, not just for the purpose of going through the motions of having pro bono hours. Finding the activity or organization that motivates you and gives you inspiration so you can assist others is really the key.

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