Lacee Monk Always Knew She Wanted to be a Lawyer

06.14.17 | Permalink

Lacee Monk always knew she wanted to become a lawyer. “My mother was a teacher, and my father is a crane operator, so I didn’t come from a long line of lawyers.  I always just knew I wanted to be an attorney.  As a kid I watched a lot of crime shows, like Murder She Wrote and Law and Order. I was fascinated with the profession,” she said.

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.  “I had the opportunity to sit second chair on a second-degree murder trial while I was at the State Attorney’s Office, and it is the most rewarding experience I have ever had as an attorney.   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.  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.  It was a two-week jury trial with two defendants and the shooter was found guilty.  The jury returned its verdict in only 39 minutes,” she noted.  

After three years as a prosecutor, Lacee and her husband, also an attorney, headed

back to Miami where they had met and married during law school at the University of Miami.

Soon after returning to Miami, Lacee joined Rumberger where she devotes most of her practice to construction defect litigation.  “Construction defect work is different from anything else I’ve ever done. There is a pre-suit process that encourages parties to resolve construction defect claims before initiating litigation.  The cases are typically large and involve general contractors, subcontractors, engineers, architects, and developers.”

In addition to the process being different, Lacee said that she enjoys learning a new language that is required in construction defect litigation. “I’m not an architect or engineer, but I still have to get into the details of the defects,” she said. “I’ve learned the differences between delaminated stucco and debonded stucco and that buildings have eyebrows,” she explained. “I was really surprised one day when I opened my email to find an email referring to an eyebrow inspection,” she laughed.

Recently, Lacee has been taking on a variety of work. “I’ve had the opportunity to do some personal injury defense and premises liability, as well as an employment case representing an educational institution,” she noted. “I like that Rumberger offers me the opportunity to do a variety of work. 

“As a civil attorney, I find that I’m using nearly every aspect of my law school education and find the work very intellectually stimulating and challenging,” Lacee said. “There are so many considerations in each case, and I like that I’m always learning something new.  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,” she explained. Lacee also enjoys researching different areas of the law and says she does a significant amount of research and writing.

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. “It’s rewarding to see the result of your work from beginning to end and to have a positive result for the client,” explained Lacee. “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.  It was a great result for our client.”

Lacee was a member of the Dade Legal Aid Leadership Academy’s third class where she focused on developing leadership skills and a commitment to pro bono service. Her participation in the academy led her to apply to serve as a Guardian Ad Litem through Dade Legal Aid’s Put Something Back Program.  As a Guardian Ad Litem, Lacee served as a court-appointed advocate for a minor child and made a custody recommendation to the Court. “I was surprised at the amount of weight the Judge gave to my opinion and how interested she was in my investigation,” admitted Lacee. “It was a very serious matter where the child’s sister had died, and I felt a great responsibility to keep the child I was advocating for safe.”

As a graduate of the University of Miami, Lacee is a huge Miami Hurricanes fan. In fact, Lacee is a “double ‘Cane,” who graduated with her B.B.A. in accounting in 2009 and her J.D. magna cum laude in 2012.  Lacee has served on the law school’s Young Alumni Committee for the last two years and frequently attends UM athletic events. 

While some people dread their regular exercise, Lacee embraces it. “I’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,” she explained. “Even though I’m busy, I can get in and out and don’t have to worry about planning what I’m going to do while I’m there,” she continued. 

Being married to another lawyer has its advantages notes Lacee.

“It’s nice being able to talk about our days and bounce legal arguments off one another” she explained.  My husband’s career started in appellate work and mine in trial work, so we learn a lot from one another.  We’re a great team.”  When Lacee isn’t working or spending time with family, she’s hanging out with her Yorkie, Benny.

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