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Current Board of Directors

Robert F. Spohrer, Chair

Elizabeth L. Bevington

Raul Cuervo

Jesse H. Diner

William S. Graessle

Timothy D. Haines

Berta E. Hernández-Truyol

Dr. Vivian Hobbs

William Kalish

Tiffani G. Lee

Barbara Bolton Litten

D. Ross McCloy, Jr.

Peg O'Connor

Robert A. Rush

Tom Scarritt

Harry L. Shorstein

 


Elizabeth L. Bevington - ↑ top

Elizabeth L. Bevington joined the Southern Legal Counsel Board in 2012.  She is a Partner in Holland & Knight LLP in the Tallahassee office.  She handles a variety of commercial litigation matters, including consumer fraud; deceptive and unfair trade practices; state and local taxation; civil RICO; securities fraud; antitrust; qui tam or false claim actions; real estate litigation and contract disputes. She has handled disputes between competitors and defended numerous class and individual claims by consumers.  Representative claims include deceptive and unfair trade practices, qui tam or False Claims Act, intentional interference with contractual relations, breach of non-competition agreements, misleading advertising and litigation surrounding real estate investment and development.  Her practice includes work in state and federal courts and experience with arbitration and mediation. S he has handled Florida attorney general investigations involving consumer fraud, civil RICO and antitrust.

Before entering law school, Ms. Bevington worked in the mental health field as an outreach and crisis counselor to foreign populations.  From 1985 to 1987, she was a judicial law clerk to The Honorable William Terrell Hodges of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

Ms. Bevington is a former member of the Executive Council of the Public Interest Law Section.  Ms. Bevington has also served on the firm's Director's Committee, Fair Employment Practices Committee and the Associate Evaluation Committee, as well as having served as the hiring partner, pro bono partner, and past executive partner for the Tallahassee office.


Raul Cuervo- ↑ top

Raul Cuervo joined the Southern Legal Counsel Board in January 2013.  Mr. Cuervo is the recruiting partner of Jorden Burt LLP in Miami.  He specializes in insurance, class action and commercial litigation. He has represented insurers and other financial institutions in federal, bankruptcy and state courts. He has also represented insurers in ERISA-related matters.

Mr. Cuervo represents banks, insurance companies, and other financial institutions in a range of substantive areas including major litigation and bankruptcy. Representative litigation includes defense of financial services institutions in federal and state courts throughout the country. Mr. Cuervo has extensive experience litigating class actions on behalf of financial services institutions nationally.

Mr. Cuervo has also represented clients in bankruptcy courts around the country, counseling both creditors, creditors committees and debtors. Representative cases include representing a large real estate developer in chapter 11 bankruptcy, litigating avoidance actions on behalf of creditors, as well as counseling insurance companies in negotiating with debtors regarding pre-petition agreements, and continuation of post-petition arrangements.

Mr. Cuervo received his B.A. and J.D. from the University of Florida.  He was an Editor with the University of Florida Law Review in 1984.


Jesse H. Diner- ↑ top

Jesse H. Diner joined the Southern Legal Counsel Board in August 2011.  He is a shareholder with Fowler White Boggs in Ft. Lauderdale.  Diner focuses his practice on resolving commercial disputes.  During a career that spans more than 37 years, Diner has advised and represented clients in a wide range of business matters, including real estate, probate, financial and other commercial disputes.

As a strategic advisor, Diner draws on his experience as a corporate and real estate lawyer, as well as a litigator, to resolve each dispute in the client’s best interest– in or out of the courtroom.  Diner is also an arbitrator, with more than 25 years experience in commercial and construction disputes.

A South Florida native, Diner earned a bachelor of arts degree from Gettysburg College in 1969 and his juris doctorate from St. John's University Law School in 1972, where he served as editor of Notes and Comments for the school's Law Review.  He authored the note, “Procedural Due Process in Peno-Correctional Institutions: Progression and Regression,” in St. John's University Law Review (1971).  He served as an attorney in the New York Regional Counsel’s Office of the United States Small Business Administration, prior to moving to Florida and entering private practice.

Diner is a past president of The Florida Bar, Chaired the Florida Bar Committee on Court Funding, and is a past president of Legal Aid Service of Broward County and the Broward County Bar Association.  He is admitted to practice in New York and Florida, before the U.S. District Court for the Southern and Middle Districts of Florida, the U.S. Court of Appeals in the Fifth and Eleventh Circuits, the U.S. Tax Court and the U.S. Supreme Court.


Timothy D. Haines- ↑ top

Tim D. Haines joined the Southern Legal Counsel Board in 2014. He is a partner in Gray, Ackerman & Haines, P.A., in Ocala. He specializes in real estate and in the representation of commercial lenders, including in foreclosure and collection litigation. He was an initial author of The Florida Bar’sFasTrain- Manual on Mortgage Foreclosures and Alternatives.

Mr. Haines has been active in The Florida Bar serving as the Fifth Circuit’s representative to the Young Lawyers’ Division for two terms, as secretary for the Young Lawyer’s Division for one term, and as a Member of the Fifth Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee.

Mr. Haines was born in Winter Park, Florida, where his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather practiced law. He obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and his law degree from the University of Florida, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the University of Florida Law Review.


Berta E. Hernández-Truyol- ↑ top

Berta E. Hernández-Truyol joined the Southern Legal Counsel Board in January 2013.  She is the Levin Mabie & Levin Professor of Law at the University of Florida Levin College of Law where she teaches International Trade and Human Rights, Human Rights and Globalization: Economic Rights, International Law, International Human Rights, Issues of Gender/Race and Latinas/Latinos in the Law, and Employment Discrimination.  She received her LL.M. from New York University School of Law, J.D. from Albany Law School of Union University (cum laude), and B.A. from Cornell University.

Ms. Hernández-Truyol’s previous academic positions are: St. Johns University School of Law: Associate and Professor of Law (1991-2000), Director of International Women's Human Rights Project of the Center for Law and Public Policy (1993-1995). University of Wisconsin School of Law: Institute for Legal Studies, Honorary Senior Fellow (1997-99). Georgetown University Law Center: Visiting Professor (1994-95). Brooklyn Law School: Adjunct Professor (1988-91). University of New Mexico School of Law: Assistant and Associate Professor (1983-87). DePaul University School of Law: Assistant Professor (1982-83).


Dr. Vivian Hobbs - ↑ top

Dr. Vivian Hobbs has served on Southern Legal Counsel’s Board of Directors since 2004.  She is currently an Associate Professor of English and Humanities for the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida A&M University.  She graduated from Florida A&M University in 1965 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English.  She received her Master of Arts in Classical and Modern Humanities from Florida State University in 1983.  She received a Doctorate of Philosophy in Victorian Literature from Florida State University in 1997.

The Florida Supreme Court appointed Dr. Hobbs to The Florida Bar Board of Governors in 2001.  She Chaired the BOG's Citizen Forum and participated in the following committees: Discipline Review, Mediation Grievance, Executive Advisory Committee to the President, Chief Justice's Pro Bono Awards, Judicial Qualifying, and Communications Committee.  She assisted The Florida Bar in other activities, including presenting to the Florida Legislature on the Bar's behalf.  In 2001, she received The Florida Bar Outstanding Service Award.

Since 1981, Dr. Hobbs has worked at Florida A&M University in a variety of instructional and administrative positions.  Prior to that, she was an English instructor at a number of educational facilities in Alabama, Florida and Maryland.  She taught a variety of subjects including Advanced Placement English, Humanities, English as a Second Language, Talented & Gifted English, British Literature and American Literature.


William Kalish - ↑ top


William Kalish joined the Southern Legal Counsel Board of Directors in 2006, and was elected Chair in January 2012. He is a shareholder and leads the Tax Group of the Tampa Office of Akerman Senterfitt.

He graduated with honors from the George Washington University (J.D. 1970) and received a B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh (1967).  He was named to the Best Lawyers in America, to Florida's Legal Elite by Florida Trend and as a Florida Super Lawyer.  He is a Board Certified Tax Lawyer and Certified Circuit Mediator and a member of the Florida and District of Columbia Bars.

Mr. Kalish is a former member of The Florida Bar Board of Governors from 1998 to 2002 and from 2005 to 2009.  He is a current Emeritus member and former Chair of the Florida Board of Bar Examiners.  He is Chair of the Hillsborough County Bar Peer Review Committee.  He is a current trustee and former Chair of the Hillsborough County Bar Foundation.  He is a master, a former President and former Treasurer of J. Clifford Cheatwood American Inn of Court.  He is a former member and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation.  He is a member of the St. Joseph's - Baptist Hospital Finance Committee.  He is a Fellow of the american College of Tax Counsel.  He has lectured on various tax and business topics, including business and estate planning, tax controversies and health care issues.


Barbara Bolton Litten - ↑ top

Barbara Bolton Litten joined the Southern Legal Counsel Board of Directors in 2005 and clerked for SLC while attending law school at the University of Florida.  She is a principal in the West Palm Beach office of Squire Sanders (US) L.L.P. and focuses her practice on litigation.  She concentrates on complex and multidistrict, products liability, ERISA, and commercial matters and, for the past decade, has primarily defended claims in federal and multidistrict litigation against sellers of prescription medications, over-the-counter products and medical devices.  Ms. Litten also counsels both corporate and media clients on libel and privacy defense as well as access to public records and open meetings.

Ms. Litten is a member of The Florida Bar and the bars of the U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Middle and Southern Districts of Florida and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.  Ms. Litten also is a member of the Federal Bar Association and the Palm Beach County Bar Association, and served as Chair of the Media & Communications Law Committee of The Florida Bar in 2002.  

Before becoming a lawyer, Ms. Litten served as executive director of Planned Parenthood Association of Southwest Florida, a non-profit family planning organization providing medical and education services to women, men and families.  In addition to her current commitment to SLC, Ms. Litten serves on the Governance Committee of the Board of Directors of Hospice of Palm  Beach County.


Peg O'Connor - ↑ top

Peg O’Connor joined the Southern Legal Counsel Board in 2013. Born and raised in Queens, New York, Ms. O’Connor did her undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Florida, earning bachelor’s, master’s and law degrees. She has served both the state and federal courts as a law clerk/staff attorney, first working for the judges of the Eighth Judicial Circuit on criminal, appellate, and post-conviction matters, including some death penalty work, and later clerking for United States District Court Judge Stephan P. Mickle. She entered private practice in 2007 with former judge Larry Turner and concentrates on complex criminal defense, appellate, and professional licensing/tenure law. She is licensed to practice in all Florida state courts; the Northern and Middle Districts of Florida; and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Ms. O’Connor is currently the treasurer of the North Central Florida Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and sits on the board of directors of the Gainesville Area Women’s Network.


Robert A. Rush- ↑ top

Robert A. Rush joined the Southern Legal Counsel Board in 2011.  He is a partner with Rush & Glassman in Gainesville.  He has been a trial lawyer in Gainesville since 1985, having graduated from the University of Florida College of Law with high honors.  He is Board Certified in Criminal Trial Law and in Civil Trial Law, and has been designated an expert in those fields by The Florida Supreme Court.  He is one of only four lawyers in the state, out of over 90,000, that are Board Certified in both Criminal and Civil Trial Law.  His law practice handles civil rights, personal injury and criminal defense.  He previously sat on The Florida Bar Board of Governors, and is a Past President of The Volunteer Center of Alachua County, where he served on its Board for ten years.


Tom Scarritt- ↑ top

Tom Scarritt joined the Southern Legal Counsel Board in January 2013.  Mr. Scarritt is the President and Senior Trial Attorney with Scarritt Law Group, P.A.  Scarritt Law Group was founded by Mr. Scarritt, a Board-Certified civil trial lawyer.  The firm represents individuals, municipalities, and companies in all aspects of civil trial work including personal injury and wrongful death, medical negligence, product liability, insurance law, constitutional law, and business torts.  Mr. Scarritt has handled numerous multi-million dollar cases for both plaintiff and defendant in the above areas.

Mr. Scarritt received his J.D. from Florida State University College of Law where he graduated with honors; served as staff editor of the Florida State University Law Review; was appointed Chief Justice of the Student Supreme Court; and served as a student intern to the Honorable William Stafford, U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Florida.  He was awarded a Rotary Foundation International Fellowship to study law and political science at the University of Grenoble, France.  He is A-V rated by Martindale-Hubbell and Board-Certified in Civil Trial Law by both The Florida Bar and the National Board of Trial Advocacy.  He has taught and lectured extensively on all aspects of civil trial work.  Mr. Scarritt was honored to serve as President of the Tampa Bay Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), one of the most prestigious trial lawyers' organization in the country, consisting evenly of plaintiff and defense lawyers, and has served as Commissioner on the Florida Commission on Ethics, including one year as Chair.  He has served as Chair of The Florida Bar Trial Lawyers Section Executive Council, representing over 8,000 trial lawyers throughout the state, and argued on their behalf before the Florida Supreme Court regarding wholesale reforms of the jury trial system.  Mr. Scarritt has published numerous articles concerning all aspects of civil trial work, and has participated in civil trials and arbitrations throughout Florida and the country, including a commercial product liability arbitration that was in trial for in excess of one year in New York City.


Harry L. Shorstein - ↑ top

Harry Shorstein joined the Board in 2012.  Most recently, he was the five term State Attorney for the Fourth Judicial Circuit (covering Duval County, Clay County and Nassau County).  In 2008, he decided not to run for a sixth term and to return to private practice as a partner with Shorstein & Lasnetski, LLC.

Mr. Shorstein attended the University of Florida for college and law school.  After graduating from law school, he served as a Captain in the 3rd Marine Division in Vietnam.  Upon his return, he worked as a Division Head at the Jacksonville Office of the Public Defender.  After leaving that office, he spent several years as a Division Head and then Chief Assistant at the Office of the State Attorney.  After the State Attorney’s Office, Mr. Shorstein served as General Counsel for the City of Jacksonville.
In 1991, Mr. Shorstein became the State Attorney for the Fourth Judicial Circuit.  He held that position for almost eighteen years until deciding not run again in 2008.  As the State Attorney for the Jacksonville area, he tried a variety of criminal cases, including over 30 murder cases, all of which he won.  He also implemented a groundbreaking juvenile justice program that focused on rehabilitation and education that won national acclaim and was copied by prosecutors across the country.  His extensive experience and accomplishments as a trial attorney have been chronicled by 60 Minutes, The Newshour with Jim Lehrer, NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, The New York Times, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report and others state, local and national media outlets. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

After over two decades of public service, Mr. Shorstein decided to return to private practice where he spent 15 years representing the rights and interests of individuals and businesses to becoming the State Attorney.  In private practice, he defended clients on criminal matters in state and federal court, including complex white collar cases. He handled serious and complex wrongful death and personal injuries cases, and he represented companies in all varieties of business disputes.  Another area where he has developed extensive skills and experience is in the representation of professionals in civil litigation and in front of licensing and other administrative boards.


Robert F. Spohrer - ↑ top

Robert Spohrer joined the Southern Legal Counsel Board in 2010.  He is the senior partner in the firm of Spohrer & Dodd, P.L., a 10-lawyer firm in Jacksonville, Florida.  Mr. Spohrer's areas of practice include complex civil litigation involving product liability, professional negligence, aviation crash cases, commercial trucking litigation, and other types of complex civil litigation.  He is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Civil Trial and Aviation Law.

Mr. Spohrer received his undergraduate and juris doctorate degrees from St. Louis University and was admitted to The Florida Bar in 1974.  He is also permitted to practice before the U.S Supreme Court, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the Northern, Middle and Southern Districts of the U.S. District Courts in Florida, and all Florida state courts.  He is a Diplomate with the American Board of Trial Advocates ("ABOTA"), former Chair of the Executive Council of the Trial lawyers Section of The Florida Bar, and serves on the Middle District of Florida's Ethics Commission.

Mr. Spohrer is a member of the elite Inner Circle of Advocates (100 top trial lawyers in the United States), has been named one of the Best Lawyers in America, featured in Florida's Legal Elite by Florida Trend, and is a Florida Super Lawyer.  Mr. Spohrer is an adjunct professor of law at Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville and has previously served as the school's mock trial coach.  In addition to his professional associations, Mr. Spohrer's volunteer opportunities include his current position as Chairman of the Board for HandsOn Jacksonville, and a fundraising member and former Treasurer for the North Florida Council of the Boy Scouts.