Firm News Feed Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0800firmwise Alexander Recognized for Dedicated Service to ADLA<p><br /> Craig Alexander was recognized at the <a href="">Alabama Defense Lawyers Association (ADLA) </a>annual meeting for his service on the ADLA Board of Directors for the past two years. While presenting the award, the outgoing ADLA president also recognized Craig&rsquo;s contributions as a member of the ADLA&rsquo;s Amicus Committee, where he continues to serve. Congratulations, Craig!</p>Beyond the Bio Blog31 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Ships Care Packages to Sailors aboard the U.S.S. Fitzgerald<p><em><strong>Packages include words of encouragement and hope for the sailors recovering from tragedy</strong></em><br /> <br /> RKC shipped 14&nbsp;boxes of personal hygiene items,&nbsp;socks&nbsp;and snacks&nbsp;to the&nbsp;sailors&nbsp;aboard&nbsp;the U.S. Navy destroyer, USS Fitzgerald.</p> <p><img src=" Griffin_Fitzgerald Shipment 0717.JPG" hspace="0" vspace="0" align="right" alt="" border="0" width="200" height="300" />Sailors&nbsp;aboard the ship are working toward recovery after a Philippine container ship collided with the U.S. Navy destroyer in June. The&nbsp;sailors&nbsp;are dealing with the shock and grief of losing&nbsp;seven&nbsp;shipmates. The accident destroyed a berthing area and sailors had about 60 seconds to vacate their berthing.&nbsp; Many of the sailors were asleep and awoke to the sea water rushing into their racks.&nbsp; They vacated their racks with only the clothes they had on and lost all their personal belongings to the sea.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I had a chance encounter over the 4<sup>th</sup>&nbsp;of July holiday with a&nbsp;sailor&nbsp;friend who had served on the USS Eisenhower,&rdquo; said Lisa Griffin, RKC legal assistant and coordinator of the firm&rsquo;s troop shipment program. &ldquo;After telling me how thankful she and her shipmates were for the care packages we sent last year and how&nbsp;[the packages]&nbsp;made their seven months on the ship much, much easier, she told me about the&nbsp;sailors&nbsp;on the USS Fitzgerald,&rdquo; Lisa explained.</p> <p>After learning about these sailors, Lisa coordinated an emergency troop shipment to help them.&ldquo;I think they need to know we are thinking about them,&rdquo; she said. &quot;Our Tampa office, led by paralegal Susan McClugage, also participated and had some help from the SeaCadets. The young members collected items and wrote personal letters to include in the boxes.&quot;<br /> <br /> The boxes were prepared and mailed on July 12 and should be received by the sailors&nbsp;in a couple of weeks.</p>Beyond the Bio Blog17 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Monk Always Knew She Wanted to be a Lawyer<p>Lacee Monk always knew she wanted to become a lawyer. &ldquo;My mother was a teacher, and my father is a crane operator, so I didn&rsquo;t come from a long line of lawyers.&nbsp; I always just knew I wanted to be an attorney.&nbsp; As a kid I watched a lot of crime shows, like <i>Murder She Wrote</i> and <i>Law and Order.</i> I was fascinated with the profession,&rdquo; she said.<br /> <img src=" Monk and husband.jpg" hspace="0" vspace="0" align="right" alt="" border="0" width="200" height="266" /></p> <p><b>Lacee began her career in Daytona Beach as an Assistant State Attorney where she gained trial experience prosecuting numerous cases ranging from domestic battery to second-degree murder.&nbsp; </b>&ldquo;I had the opportunity to sit second chair on a second-degree murder trial while I was at the State Attorney&rsquo;s Office, and it is the most rewarding experience I have ever had as an attorney.&nbsp;&nbsp; Being able to try a case alongside of a veteran prosecutor was a great learning experience, but she also put a lot of trust in me and allowed me to contribute to the case.&nbsp; I delivered the opening statement and examined the medical examiner, the firearms expert, a detective, and a 911 operator, who gave crucial testimony about the timing of a disputed 911-call.&nbsp; It was a two-week jury trial with two defendants and the shooter was found guilty.&nbsp; The jury returned its verdict in only 39 minutes,&rdquo; she noted.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>After three years as a prosecutor, Lacee and her husband, also an attorney, headed</p> <div> <p>back to Miami where they had met and married during law school at the University of Miami.</p> <p><b>Soon after returning to Miami, Lacee joined Rumberger where she devotes most of her practice to construction defect litigation. &nbsp;</b>&ldquo;Construction defect work is different from anything else I&rsquo;ve ever done. There is a pre-suit process that encourages parties to resolve construction defect claims before initiating litigation.&nbsp; The cases are typically large and involve general contractors, subcontractors, engineers, architects, and developers.&rdquo;</p> <p><b>In addition to the process being different, Lacee said that she enjoys learning a new language that is required in construction defect litigation. </b>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m not an architect or engineer, but I still have to get into the details of the defects,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve learned the differences between delaminated stucco and debonded stucco and that buildings have eyebrows,&rdquo; she explained. &ldquo;I was really surprised one day when I opened my email to find an email referring to an eyebrow inspection,&rdquo; she laughed.</p> <p><b>Recently, Lacee has been taking on a variety of work. </b>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve had the opportunity to do some personal injury defense and premises liability, as well as an employment case representing an educational institution,&rdquo; she noted. &ldquo;I like that Rumberger offers me the opportunity to do a variety of work.&nbsp;</p> <p><b>&ldquo;As a civil attorney, I find that I&rsquo;m using nearly every aspect of my law school education and find the work very intellectually stimulating and challenging,&rdquo; Lacee said. </b>&ldquo;There are so many considerations in each case, and I like that I&rsquo;m always learning something new.&nbsp; For instance in one case, I had a foreign Plaintiff, and I learned a great deal about the Belgium health care system in order to understand the claims that were being made,&rdquo; she explained. Lacee also enjoys researching different areas of the law and says she does a significant amount of research and writing.</p> <p><b>In addition to being intellectually stimulated by the work, Lacee also appreciates that Rumberger partners give associates a lot of autonomy to work on cases.</b> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s rewarding to see the result of your work from beginning to end and to have a positive result for the client,&rdquo; explained Lacee. &ldquo;In my first case that I saw to completion, the plaintiff made an initial demand of a $100,000. After her deposition, we resolved the case for only $8,000.&nbsp; It was a great result for our client.&rdquo;</p> <p><b>Lacee was a member of the Dade Legal Aid Leadership Academy&rsquo;s third class where she focused on developing leadership skills and a commitment to pro bono service. </b>Her participation in the academy led her to apply to serve as a Guardian Ad Litem through Dade Legal Aid&rsquo;s Put Something Back Program.&nbsp; As a Guardian Ad Litem, Lacee served as a court-appointed advocate for a minor child and made a custody recommendation to the Court. &ldquo;I was surprised at the amount of weight the Judge gave to my opinion and how interested she was in my investigation,&rdquo; admitted Lacee. &ldquo;It was a very serious matter where the child&rsquo;s sister had died, and I felt a great responsibility to keep the child I was advocating for safe.&rdquo;</p> <div> <p><b>As a graduate of the University of Miami, Lacee is a huge Miami Hurricanes fan. </b>In fact, Lacee is a &ldquo;double &lsquo;Cane,&rdquo; who graduated with her B.B.A. in accounting in 2009 and her J.D. <i>magna cum laude </i>in 2012.&nbsp; Lacee has served on the law school&rsquo;s Young Alumni Committee for the last two years and frequently attends UM athletic events.&nbsp;</p> <p><b>While some people dread their regular exercise, Lacee embraces it.</b> &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve done CrossFit in the past, and I recently started doing Orangetheory, which includes a lot more running. I really enjoy that it is structured, and the instructors pack in as much as they can in a one hour class,&rdquo; she explained. &ldquo;Even though I&rsquo;m busy, I can get in and out and don&rsquo;t have to worry about planning what I&rsquo;m going to do while I&rsquo;m there,&rdquo; she continued.&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Being married to another lawyer has its advantages notes Lacee.</b></p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s nice being able to talk about our days and bounce legal arguments off one another&rdquo; she explained.&nbsp; My husband&rsquo;s career started in appellate work and mine in trial work, so we learn a lot from one another.&nbsp; We&rsquo;re a great team.&rdquo;&nbsp; When Lacee isn&rsquo;t working or spending time&nbsp;with family, she&rsquo;s hanging out with her Yorkie, Benny.<br /> <br /> <img src=" Monk dog.jpg" hspace="0" vspace="0" align="absmiddle" alt="" border="0" width="200" height="200" /></p> </div> </div>Beyond the Bio Blog14 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Jackson Lends Expertise to the Litigation Management College<p>The Litigation Management College, organized by the Federation of Defense &amp; Corporate Counsel, is a week-long intense and immersive workshop designed to develop and hone critical skills for claims handling professionals, third party administrators, and self-insured corporate litigation managers working in the insurance industry or in litigation matters from all across the country.</p> <p>LaShawnda Jackson is on the LMC faculty and participated in the workshop from June 4-8, 2017. The focus of the curriculum was a hands-on case study and fact pattern based on a real life Chicago building fire that resulted in seven deaths, personal injuries and property damages.</p> <p>The claims professionals are divided into four groups that represents four defendants. With the assistance of assigned &quot;defense counsel,&quot; each group works the &quot;case&quot; through trial. They start with identifying coverage issues, retaining counsel to assist with the investigation and preparing litigation plans and budgets.&nbsp; There is a simulation on seeking settlement authority and a mock mediation. Periodically, the claims professionals are provided with new information that requires updated analysis, evaluations and requests for settlement authority. Meanwhile the groups are constantly in negotiations in attempt to avoid trial. At the end of the program, defense counsel provide closing statements based on each group's analysis and position.&nbsp; The groups are then presented with the actual jury verdict rendered in the case to compare to their evaluations/assessments.</p> <p>LaShawnda assisted the group that represented the architect company that designed renovations to the 12th floor where the fire started.&nbsp; She assisted with case analysis and evaluations from the initial assignment of the claim through litigation, settlement negotiations and a jury verdict.</p> <p>&ldquo;I really enjoyed the opportunity to participate in this intense case study,&rdquo; said LaShawnda. &ldquo;It was very rewarding to help the professionals learn and grow.&rdquo;</p>Beyond the Bio Blog09 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Ships 52 Boxes to Troops for the 4th of July you to our packers who filled 52 boxes in less than 40 minutes today! The care packages filled with patriotic goodies, personal care &amp; comfort items are on their way to six military units in Afghanistan (5) and Korea (1). Bless our troops!<br /> <br /> <img src="" hspace="0" vspace="0" align="absmiddle" alt="" border="0" width="300" height="225" /><br /> <img src="" hspace="0" vspace="0" align="absmiddle" alt="" border="0" width="300" height="225" /><br /> <img src="" hspace="0" vspace="0" align="absmiddle" alt="" border="0" width="300" height="225" />Beyond the Bio Blog08 Jun 2017 00:00:00 -0800’s Tallahassee Office Hosts Summer for Undergraduates Program Students<p><a href="">The Donald J. Weidner Summer for Undergraduates Program</a> at the FSU College of Law offers undergraduate students the opportunity to learn more about the study of law and to assist them in acquiring skills that will benefit their undergraduate and future law school studies. Students from throughout the country participate in the month-long program that immerses them into legal study.</p> <p>RKC&rsquo;s Tallahassee office hosted the students on Tuesday, May 23 to help them learn more about careers in law. Linda Bond Edwards, Richard Greenberg, and Hannah Monroe spoke with the students about the firm&rsquo;s practice areas, being a lawyer and law school.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> <img src=" Undergraduate Program.jpg" hspace="0" vspace="0" align="absmiddle" alt="" border="0" width="300" height="225" /><br /> &nbsp;</p>Beyond the Bio Blog24 May 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Guido and his Fellow YMCA Young Professionals Help in the Community<p>RKC attorney <a href=";A=9390&amp;format=xml">Justin Guido</a> chairs the &ldquo;Hands-On Community Events Committee&rdquo; for the YMCA Young Professionals. In his role, he works with the YMCA of South Florida to organize and assist with community service projects.</p> <p>For instance, earlier this month, the group assisted at the YMCA Allapattah Family Center for YMCA&rsquo;s Healthy Kids Day. The event promoted healthy living for children and featured entertaining activities and exhibits including Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, a fruit kabob stand, the Miami State Attorney&rsquo;s office and a free exercise class.</p> <p>&ldquo;I enjoy working directly with members of the South Florida community to make a positive impact on their lives,&rdquo; said Justin. &ldquo;I also enjoy the comradery formed with my peers in the YMCA Young Professionals as a result of the teamwork and our shared passion for bettering our community,&rdquo; he added.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> <img src=" Healthy Kids_edited.jpg" hspace="0" vspace="0" align="absmiddle" alt="" border="0" width="385" height="263" /><em><br /> <br /> </em></p> <p><em>YMCA Young Professionals of South Florida, including RKC's Justin Guido Help out at Healthy Kids Day in April.</em></p>Beyond the Bio Blog19 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Sends Spring Cheer to Troops Overseas shipped 48 packages to eight different units of service people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and South Korea to spread spring cheer to men and women serving our country overseas.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> <img src=" Shipment 03.17b.jpg" hspace="0" vspace="0" align="absmiddle" alt="" border="0" width="200" height="250" /><br /> <br /> The packages were filled with spring items, including Peeps, specially packaged coffee with cream and sugar in spring containers and candy. Along with a huge variety of snacks, there also were coffee pods and Sports Illustrated Magazines to send along to the units that asked for them. The most requested item was flavored drink drops &ndash; every box had at least one.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Every time the firm does another shipment, which there have been more than 30 since beginning in 2009, we send plenty of necessary hygiene items including bags with deodorant, hand sanitizer, lotion and foot powder and plenty of socks,&rdquo; noted Lisa Griffin, a legal assistant from the firm&rsquo;s Orlando office who inspired the program and has led the coordination of the shipments over the years. <br />Beyond the Bio Blog30 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Sheppard Works Hard, but Still Makes Time to Volunteer and Spend Time with His Family<p>For the past 10 years, Frank Sheppard has been at the helm of Rumberger, Kirk &amp; Caldwell as the Managing Partner steering the firm and helping it to grow and continue to be successful. In addition to functioning as the firm&rsquo;s CEO, Frank runs a thriving practice of his own focusing in the areas of professional liability, employment and commercial litigation. Frank talks about his life growing up in a legal family, his perspective on what makes RKC so unique and what he enjoys most about his work and his life.</p> <p><strong>Frank grew up spending quite a bit of time hanging around law firms in his home town of Pensacola. </strong>&ldquo;My father was a lawyer and he would take me to the office on Saturday mornings before we went fishing together. He would work for a while and I would keep myself busy playing with the Dictaphone,&rdquo; remembered Frank. &ldquo;Then, later, when I was a teenager, I worked as a runner in the firm during summers. This was during a time long before email or even faxes, so anything of urgency was hand delivered. I had a daily route from the courthouse, to the larger firms, and to public records and banks. I learned about deeds and mortgages and I knew what a pleading looked like and that documents had to be clocked in at a certain time,&rdquo; he continued.</p> <p>&ldquo;There were always law books around the house and I can still remember how they smelled. My younger brother used to sit on the Florida Statutes in order to reach the dinner table.</p> <p><strong>Frank worked for a federal judge in the Northern District of Florida during his last semester in law school who suggested Rumberger, Kirk &amp; Caldwell. &ldquo;</strong>He pointed out that my father&rsquo;s partner had worked for a large Tampa firm before moving back to Pensacola. My plan was to come to Orlando and work for a few years before heading back home. Instead, I got hooked on the firm, made good friends, met my wife, and here I am 30 years later,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>Frank obviously enjoys his work and those he works with or he certainly would not have stayed with the firm for all these years. &ldquo;We were handed a unique and great culture from the founding partners and we&rsquo;ve done a really good job of preserving and passing it on from generation to generation,&rdquo; Frank said. When Frank joined the firm things were very exciting at the time.</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;We were doing sophisticated work and trying cases all over the country and having a great deal of success.</strong> The personalities of the founding partners were contagious&mdash;we worked hard, but had a ton of fun while doing it,&rdquo; remembered Frank. &ldquo;The enthusiasm and energy we had then continues on today. Even though the times have changed, and we have a larger and more diverse workforce, we share the common value of doing the best possible job we can for the clients and we all work very hard toward that common goal and towards maintaining the firm&rsquo;s reputation.&rdquo;</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="460" vspace="0" border="0" align="absmiddle" hspace="0" height="345" /></p> <p><strong>In addition to being influenced by the founding partners, Frank says his father&rsquo;s work ethic and integrity made a deep impression on him. </strong>&ldquo;My father was a man of consummate integrity. He was exceptionally honest. In addition, he was extremely smart and very hardworking. My dad never went to law school or college. He studied for the bar on his own and passed in a year when only about 37% passed,&rdquo; said Frank. <br /> Perhaps one of the reasons Frank works so hard is that he enjoys the work that he does. &ldquo;I find the work I do as Managing Partner very rewarding, but I also find much satisfaction in working with my clients to help resolve business issues and enable their businesses to thrive,&rdquo; said Frank. A professional liability lawyer has to understand the underlying business of the professional in order to represent the client and be successful. &ldquo;I really enjoy learning about other people&rsquo;s businesses and have found these types of cases to be so gratifying because I develop a personal and strong relationship with the client. They rely on me to understand their business and their expertise. I take that trust very seriously,&rdquo; he explains.</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;With professional liability defense, the professionals are not just defending their livelihood, but also their reputations,&rdquo; said Frank</strong>. &ldquo;As professionals, we identify ourselves as a doctor or lawyer or successful business person, or whatever. When you are attacked, it becomes very personal in nature. Many times, the professional&rsquo;s self-esteem is at risk. It&rsquo;s important to realize the personal significance of these cases in addition to the financial aspects.&rdquo;</p> <p>In his employment litigation practice, Frank represents employers in both the public and private sectors and has defended them in a wide variety of claims from harassment and wrongful termination to retaliation and violation of civil rights. He has defended employers against claims of discrimination based on gender, age, ethnicity, religion and disability.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" width="460" vspace="0" border="0" align="absmiddle" hspace="0" height="613" /></p> <p><strong>&ldquo;I find employment litigation extremely interesting and have spent a number of years building long-term relationships with the organizations and people I represent including a number of school boards and educational institutions. </strong>The issues raised are often about more than just money. The issues create precedent and affect how the business or organization will operate. It&rsquo;s not just a case about one employee, but will be a determinant for how to conduct business and manage employees in the future,&rdquo; noted Frank.</p> <p>Frank has also been tapped as an expert to speak on employment issues and speaks about how to avoid employment claims. &ldquo;Good policies and consistent enforcement of those policies is the key to avoiding employment claims,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I also recommend training on equal employment opportunity issues and the interactive process under the ADA.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>Franks favorite cases are those that challenge him mentally and involve complex issues</strong>, such as some of the first amendment cases he&rsquo;s tried for public entities, but most importantly he said he enjoys learning about the client and doing a good job for them &ldquo;I&rsquo;m always personally invested in getting a good result,&rdquo; Frank admitted.</p> <p><strong>In addition to working hard for his clients, Frank also serves as the Chairman of the Board for the Hospice of the Comforter. </strong>&ldquo;My mom was a registered nurse and she worked as a volunteer with people who were dealing with terminal illness. After she passed away, I saw firsthand the difference they [Hospice] made in people&rsquo;s lives and decided right away I wanted to be a part of it,&rdquo; said Frank. &ldquo;Over the years, my commitment has grown and I serve as the Chairman of the Board of the Foundation.&rdquo; In addition, the organization is affiliated now with Florida Hospital so Frank is also on the Executive Board of the Florida Hospital Foundation.</p> <p>Hospice of the Comforter is the only non-profit hospice serving Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties. &ldquo;The need for a non-profit, faith-based hospice in the community is so important and I&rsquo;m proud to help them fulfill their mission and to serve the community,&rdquo; he continued.</p> <p><strong>Like at work, Frank is happiest keeping busy in his free time and spending time with his family. </strong>Frank and his wife Lisa have a son graduating soon from the University of Virginia and McIntire School of Commerce, and a daughter who is in her first year at UVA. Like many parents, Frank and his wife have spent a lot of time on athletic fields cheering on their kids. His daughter ran cross country track and played soccer. Their son was a starting defensive back at Bishop Moore Catholic High School and played baseball and several other sports growing up. &ldquo;We live a very active lifestyle,&rdquo; said Frank. &ldquo;I enjoy being outdoors. We like the water&mdash;sailing, fishing, boating and snorkeling and try to snow ski once every couple of years or so. Of course, in the fall, I like to watch FSU football,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;In addition, my wife and I are very active in a number of community organizations, have a good group of friends and we truly enjoy having fun together.&rdquo;</p>Beyond the Bio Blog17 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0800’s Cookin’ Counselors Cook Up Some Serious Chili to RKC&rsquo;s Birmingham Chili Cook-off Team&mdash;Scott Williams, Rebecca Beers, Fred Clarke, and Leah Downer&mdash;for being awarded third place at the 13th Annual Exceptional Foundation Chili Cook Off. Competition was fierce this year with 120 teams cooking for a top spot. The event continues to grow each year and attracted 12,000 attendees and raised an estimated $350,000&mdash;more than it has ever raised in previous years. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have a great recipe from Scott Williams,&rdquo; said Rebecca Beers. &ldquo;In addition to ground beef, we use a smoked, spicy sausage that gives the chili that extra something,&rdquo; said Rebecca. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s an Alabama-made product that is a local favorite,&rdquo; she added. <br /> <br /> It must be something special because Scott Williams has entered the contest 12 of the 13 times it&rsquo;s been held and has brought home five trophies including a first place, 2 second place and 2 third place trophies.&nbsp; <br /> <br /> <img width="219" vspace="0" hspace="0" height="274" border="0" align="absmiddle" alt="" src="" /><br /> <br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a great event and we enjoy raising money for a wonderful organization,&rdquo; said Scott. <br /> <br /> The Exceptional Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides social and recreational activities for individuals with special needs. Daily programs include field trip outings, competitive sports teams and various social events. The overall daily goals of The Exceptional Foundation are to enhance the lives of its participants through a variety of activities and to provide a community for the mentally challenged population and their families. <br /> <br /> Just like any great chili recipe, all of the right ingredients make this event an annual favorite in Birmingham. Start with a great cause, add in a caring community of sponsors and participants, delicious chili to taste, live music and great weather and you&rsquo;ll have a recipe that can&rsquo;t be beat. It&rsquo;s no wonder the event continues to break records year after year. <br />Beyond the Bio Blog14 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0800