January 18, 2020

Up Front - Publisher's Column

Florida Law: Legal news to note in Florida

Andrew P. Corty | 6/28/2017

As anyone who keeps up with the news these days knows, Florida law is evolving rapidly. Regulations are being scaled back, and new legislation is becoming more complex. In addition, more laws are passed with every legislative session — the Florida statutes now run more than 1,000 pages.

The 25 largest law firms in Florida alone employ 4,659 attorneys in the Sunshine State — and that’s the tip of the iceberg. Most of the 100,000 members of the Florida Bar are in firms with fewer than 10 employees.

While attorneys are the butt of many jokes, the lawyers I know are well-educated, thoughtful and civic-minded. And law is the ultimate clean industry. Minds are the tools of manufacture.

I’m not surprised by this month’s article about Miami’s emergence as a center for international arbitration. It has easy access to flights from all corners of Latin America and Europe, multilingual professionals who live in the region and an abundance of corporate headquarters.

The Florida Bar, the Legislature, Miami-Dade County officials and others, including the University of Miami, have all helped to make Miami one of the nation’s top three centers for international arbitration — and to make the process seamless. Our four biggest law firms consider Miami to be their Florida headquarters. This month’s issue also highlights notable Florida legal cases from the past year — from mortgage foreclosure to open carry to private school vouchers to contractor disputes (involving a Trump-owned property).

Legal Elite

Look for our Legal Elite section in this edition as well. For the 14th consecutive year, we list the 1% of attorneys most respected by their peers. The 1,080 winners include 147 members of the Hall of Fame and 933 honorees, among them a group of up and comers. There are honorees from 513 firms who practice in 62 Florida cities. Women now represent 27% of Legal Elite attorneys, up from just 12% when we started in 2004.

An amazing 117 law schools are represented among our winners, yet the top five as always are the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law, the University of Miami School of Law, Florida State University’s College of Law, Stetson University College of Law and Nova Southeastern’s Shepard Broad College of Law. View the complete legal package.

Also in this issue, Florida Trend lists the top 350 companies — both public and private — headquartered in the state. The largest is a private company, Publix Super Markets, which has the bulk of its stores in Florida but has been expanding aggressively throughout the Southeast.

You might not be so familiar, though, with the third-biggest private company on our list, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits. It has revenue of $16.5 billion and ranks as the eighth-largest overall. This behemoth covers 44 states and beyond, with 2,650 trucks making 6.4 million customer deliveries from 12.5 million square feet of warehouse space. You will be fascinated by this story of growth from a small Miami distributor 40 years ago into a firm that carries more than 5,000 brands today.

Southern gets credit for the shift in American drinking tastes toward wine, which today makes up half of Southern’s sales. And the company sponsors the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, which benefits Florida International University.

Fitness Update: I ran the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital 5k in 29:09, but I’m glad I chickened out of the 10k. That might just be too much.

— Andy Corty


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