Firm News Feed Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0800firmwise Cares: Firm Donates Food, Supplies and Money to Hurricane Victims<p><strong><i>100 Care Packages were Hand-delivered to St. Croix Along with Monetary Donations to the American Red Cross</i></strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <img src=" Maria.jpg" hspace="0" vspace="0" align="right" alt="" border="0" width="200" height="355" /> <p><b>Earlier this month, Jazmin Bermudez, a secretary in RKC&rsquo;s Miami office, checked three huge rolling duffel bags filled with food and supplies onto her flight to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands to help families in need.</b> She was carrying food such as powder evaporated milk, baby food, beans, rice, water purifier packets, mosquito bracelets, diapers, clothing and other needed supplies.</p> <p><b>Watching three major storms devastate the region within three weeks&rsquo; time, Jazmin knew she had to do something.</b> &ldquo;I couldn&rsquo;t wait. Coming from St. Croix, I knew relief for those families would be slow,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I wanted to do what I could to help. I knew that St. Croix had sent much of its own supplies to our sister island, St. Thomas, in the wake of Hurricane Irma and were not prepared when devastated by Hurricane Maria and then Hurricane Nate.&rdquo; Before Hurricane Maria, St. Croix served as a hub of relief for St. Thomas and the other U.S. and British Virgin Islands.</p> <p><b>Jazmin turned to her colleagues at RKC who donated supplies and money for the trip.</b> &ldquo;They were amazing and donated everything I asked for and more,&rdquo; said Jazmin. In total, she was able to collect enough supplies to help 100 families and 130 cases of water, which are to be shipped separately later this month once the port is confirmed as opened.</p> <img src=" Maria2.jpg" hspace="0" vspace="0" align="left" alt="" border="0" width="200" height="355" /> <p><b>While the trip was twice delayed, Jazmin said it was well worth seeing the appreciation on the faces of those she delivered care packages to.</b> &ldquo;Most of the families were people I didn&rsquo;t know because I wanted to support people who aren&rsquo;t receiving supplies from family on the mainland and were waiting for assistance from relief agencies and the government,&rdquo; she explained. &ldquo;People were so happy to see a resident come back to help. It was both gratifying and overwhelming.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;I really couldn&rsquo;t believe my eyes as the plane landed,&rdquo; recalled Jazmin. &ldquo;I could barely recognize anything. There were open houses that had lost their roofs and debris everywhere,&rdquo; she said. After delivering supplies, Jazmin spent time helping to clean up debris in elderly neighborhoods, as well as help clear roads that were keeping people from reaching distribution sites.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s hard to believe that they will have to endure at least another couple of months before 70 percent of the power is restored,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;A lot of the workers are in St. Thomas since they were hit first. I feel terrible for them,&rdquo; she said.</p> <p>Jazmin moved to Miami in 2010 and works at RKC along with her sister. She has brother living in California and two younger sisters living in St. Croix. Not originally from the island, Jazmin&rsquo;s mother went to help after Hurricane Hugo in 1989, fell in love with the island and stayed. She&rsquo;s a nurse at the only hospital on the island. Jazmin&rsquo;s father, along with his family are from St. Croix.</p> <p><b>In addition to collecting for this project, RKC held a donation drive with the American Red Cross to assist those affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. </b></p> <img src=" Maria3.jpg" hspace="0" vspace="0" align="right" alt="" border="0" width="200" height="355" /> <p>&ldquo;The people in our firm are so generous,&rdquo; said Jazmin. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m still receiving supplies and definitely plan to do something else to help. I&rsquo;m looking into an organization that coordinates aid for students and hope to do something for them,&rdquo; she said.&nbsp;</p>Beyond the Bio Blog19 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0800, Camera, Action: RKC Ships Movies to Troops Serving in Africa & Afghanistan<p><img src=" Boxes2-9.21.17.jpg" hspace="0" vspace="0" align="absmiddle" alt="" border="0" width="300" height="300" /><br /> <br /> Ten days after Hurricane Irma came barreling through Florida, RKC staff packed up 39 boxes filled with movies and treats, personal hygiene items, socks, snacks, coffee and drink mixes. There were 10 &ldquo;movie&rdquo; boxes filled with a variety of movies, popcorn and candy to offer some entertainment for troops serving far from home in Africa and Afghanistan.</p> <p>The other boxes were filled with items that deployed troops have trouble getting such as shaving gear, deodorant, wet wipes, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and socks.</p> <p>&ldquo;I thought the generosity of our staff was amazing considering we are all still recovering from a hurricane.&nbsp;I couldn&rsquo;t promote the shipment like I usually do,&rdquo; said Lisa Griffin, legal assistant from RKC&rsquo;s Orlando office who inspired the program and has led the coordination of the shipments over the past eight years. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve sent movie boxes several times over the years and they are so very appreciated by the troops,&rdquo; she continued. &ldquo;Not even a hurricane could keep us from sending these special boxes to the men and women who have committed to serving our country.&rdquo;<br /> &nbsp;</p>Beyond the Bio Blog22 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0800 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