by Mike Vogel
Updated 2 yearss ago
As a community college student in Virginia Beach, Va., Sidney Calloway was falsely accused of stealing from a Wendy’s he co-managed. The only African-American to have risen to that level locally, he felt the management was trying to get rid of him. “Race was indeed very much an issue in Virginia Beach at the time,” he says.
Summoned to face internal disciplinary action, he remembered his mother had given him a lawyer’s card and said to call if he ever needed help. The lawyer, a white man in a blue seersucker suit, accompanied him for free to the meeting, which was canceled with no action taken against Calloway. “I was so impressed,” Calloway recalls, “with the idea that he just walked into the room with me and everything was OK.”
|SIDNEY C. CALLOWAY|
Shutts & Bowen
Education: Law degree, Washington University, St. Louis; bachelor’s, political science and international affairs, FSU
Four-plus years as an assistant public defender: Misdemeanors, DUIs, then juvenile crime. “That broke my heart. I said if you don’t get me out of here, I’m quitting.” He moved up to adult felonies ranging from drug trafficking to murder.
Favorite film genre: Westerns, especially films by Clint Eastwood and John Wayne. “I don’t care too much for lawyer movies.”
Four children: Ages 14, 10, 3 and 22 months
Mistake young people make with mentors: Not going to the mentor. “You have to give up the idea that you’re burdening me. If I’m too busy, I’ll tell you.”
Active: Broward Early Learning Coalition, Broward Workshop, Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce and Florida Transportation Commission
He has mentored dozens of young professionals. This year, he worked with the T.J. Reddick Bar Association, a group for African-American attorneys in Broward, on a professional development series of workshops. “It’s been something of a ministry, if you will.”
Calloway, 47, and the firm represented several hundred black farmers, mostly in Florida and Georgia, trying to collect damages for discrimination by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in lending and technical assistance. He also has pursued more diversity on the bench.
Jamie Billotte Moses
“It’s just absolutely stimulating to be arguing about the law and how it applies to a particular case,” says Orlando appellate and real estate attorney Jamie Billotte Moses, 37, a California native who came to Florida after graduating from Notre Dame’s law school. “In eighth grade I said I wanted to be a lawyer to correct all the injustice in the world. Then I realized what it is. I like to think I’m doing a little bit. I would love to be a judge.”
“I’m enjoying it ?— in some ways more than I thought I would.”
Carlton Fields, CEO, Tampa
Lots of lawyers can complain they took a beating figuratively from a judge, but how many can say a sitting U.S. Supreme Court justice literally gave them a black eye? Gary Sasso can. While clerking for Justice Byron White, once the NFL’s leading rusher, he and White were in a pickup basketball game and both went after a loose ball. “He had hands the size of Virginia hams,” Sasso recalls.
A Miami native, married for 35 years to a girl he met in high school, Sasso went to college and law school at the University of Pennsylvania before clerking for White. After eight years at a D.C. firm, Sasso and his wife, Karen, moved to Tampa to raise the first of their three daughters.
He joined Carlton Fields, rose to head its litigation department and became CEO last year. “I’m enjoying it — in some ways more than I thought I would,” says Sasso, 54. He explains he likes getting to better know the firm’s lawyers outside the litigation department. He also found he likes meeting with clients and hearing about their business challenges and dealing with the firm’s business challenges. “I feel I have to stick my head above the trees and see the whole forest,” he says. The 260-lawyer, seven-office firm has more than $110 million in annual revenue.
The business of law has changed immensely in recent years, Sasso says, and “we’ll probably see greater changes in the next 10 years than we have in the last 10.”
Rachlin Design Services, Marketing and creative director, Fort Lauderdale
A Career by Design
Naturally, she works for an accounting firm.
The non sequitur took shape four years ago when Ormento, after working in marketing and design for a bank and with her own firm, was hired by Lawrence Blum, managing partner of Rachlin Cohen & Holtz, to redesign the firm’s logo and promotional materials.
One day, a partner came to her with a client who admired the firm’s materials and needed advice on marketing. Ormento gave her thoughts. The client asked whether she would carry out the advice for her.
That foray into providing some extra service for a client turned into Rachlin Design Services, the nine-person shop Ormento heads that, on retainer or by the hour, provides marketing services — from strategic marketing to website design. Most customers have been Rachlin clients, but Ormento is branching out beyond the firm.
A Miami Beach native, Ormento, 45, says websites, at $10,000 apiece, and online marketing are the services most desired.
“It’s taken off faster than I thought it was going to,” she says. “We didn’t create Rachlin Design as a revenue-builder. It was really to help our clients.”
Up and Coming
UM law grad Andrew Reiss, 38, partner, Cheffy Passidomo Wilson & Johnson, Naples. A Missouri native raised in Hollywood, the one-time middle school English teacher focuses on commercial and business litigation with an emphasis on employment law consulting and employment litigation.