South Florida Legal Guide- Multigenerational Feature
South Florida Legal Guide 2008 Edition
All in the Family
A look at Multi Generational lawyers
While it’s true that top lawyers are made and not born, there’s no question that legal careers often run in the family. The South Florida Legal Guide profiles six multi-generation legal success stories.
A father-and-son team share an estate planning practice.
James D. Camp Jr., 79, and his son James D. Camp III, 48, have many things in common. Both are University of Florida “Gators” who have five children, and both focus their practices on estate planning at their firm, Camp & Camp, P.A., in Fort Lauderdale.
“One of the best aspects of practicing together is being able to share legal issues and exchange legal theories to arrive at the best practical solution to a client’s problem,” says Jim Camp Jr., who has been an attorney since 1951. “One of the disadvantages in being in a small boutique firm like ours is having to do a lot of research yourself – which, upon reflection, is maybe not a disadvantage.”
Jim Camp Jr. says he’s not sure exactly why he decided to become an attorney. “It might have been from watching trials in movies, or maybe because as a youngster some relative suggested that I should become a lawyer because I liked to argue so much,” he recalls.
On the other hand, Jim Camp III says his father’s success clearly influenced his own career decision. “Knowing that the legal profession enabled my father to handle the administration of multi-million dollar estates and at the same time become chairman of the board of a local South Florida bank demonstrated to me the many benefits of being a lawyer,” he says. “And becoming an attorney gave me the tools to help others solve their problems.”
Before practicing law together, both the Camps practiced with other firms. “I still am very pleased that after some years with a highly respectable firm, that my son chose to join with me,” Jim Camp Jr. says. “He has become a first-rate lawyer who has donated a great deal of professional and personal time to the Florida Bar and to charitable organizations.”
Other than their ages, the biggest generational difference between the Camps is their use of technology: The older Camp prefers doing research with printed material, while his son is more comfortable with electronic research.
Jim Camp III adds that the practice of law has become far more competitive and business-oriented today than was the case during his father’s early years as an attorney. “My father spent a large part of his career at a time when it was truly and solely a profession,” he says.
As for the benefits and disadvantages of practicing at the same firm, Jim Camp III, says, “I have found only benefits to practicing with my father. In fact, the only person who is disadvantaged is our receptionist, who is always trying to figure out which ‘Jim’ is being requested when a client calls.”
Focusing on similar litigation at separate law firms.
Alan T. Dimond, 64, calls himself a natural litigator. “I am very competitive and enjoy the intellectual exchange that comes with litigation,” he says. “Through the years, I’ve handled a lot of interesting cases and I’m proud of the fact that I’ve been the first chair in litigation,”
A partner in Greenberg Traurig, P.A.’s Miami office, Alan says he started trying cases with what was then the Dade County Attorney’s office, “and I’ve been trying these cases ever since. I plan to keep practicing as long as I can.”
Litigation careers clearly run in the Dimond family. Alan’s father, Solomon, was an attorney in the Washington, D.C., area, handling government contract appeals. “He had been in the Navy and later argued in front of the military boards that ruled in cases involving defense contractors,” Alan recalls.
Born in northern Virginia, Alan came to Miami to establish his law career in a city far removed from his father’s practice. “That’s ironic, because I would have been unhappy if my son had chosen to practice law in another city,” he admits.
In fact, Alan’s son Scott M. Dimond, 39, decided on a career in litigation at an early age, and is now a partner at Dimond Kaplan & Rothstein, P.A. in Miami.
“I grew up watching my dad work as a litigator and it never occurred to me to do anything else,” Scott says. “And I found that litigation came naturally to me, as well. Now, I’m in my 14th year in law, handling complex commercial and securities cases, emphasizing plaintiff’s work.”
While at Columbia University law school, Scott interviewed as a summer associate at Greenberg Traurig, but after graduation decided to take another offer. “It was nice to have several options available at that time,” he says.
Since starting his own firm four years ago, Scott has found it easier to work on cases with his father. “I enjoy being co-counsel with my dad,” he says. “One of the pleasures of having my own practice is having that opportunity. My father and firm have been very supportive of us in general.”
Both father and son say they share similar traits. “We’re both competitive and like the verbal exchange in a courtroom,” Alan says “But Scott is smarter and has a great sense of humor. I’m glad he chose a career in law.”
Handling complex personal injury cases together.
Back in 2003, Michael Andrew “Mike” Haggard was preparing his closing arguments in a Broward personal injury case involving a brain-damaged girl who had nearly drowned in an unsecured swimming pool. “At about 2 a.m., I stepped out of my hotel room to rehearse my closing summary and ran into my father doing exactly the same thing in the hallway. I was surprised to see him practicing like me, because he’s been doing this for so long.”
While William Andrew “Andy” Haggard, 65, has a few more years of experience than son Mike, 37, they say they share a deep concern for their clients and the ability to work hard to prepare for a case – in this case a $100 million verdict on behalf of the girl and her family.
“When you try cases with your son, it’s good to have contrasting styles,” Andy says. “I’m more excitable, especially during cross examination of witnesses. Mike is calmer, nicer and smarter than me.”
The two personal injury attorneys have practiced together at the Haggard Law Firm in Coral Gables since 1998, trying more than 10 cases together. But they arrived at their father-son partnership by different routes.
After graduating from law school in 1967, Andy Haggard worked for the Air Force’s JAG Corps, then in the state attorney’s office as a prosecutor. “I fell right into trial work,” he recalls. “I like picking the jury, presenting the facts and competing with opposing attorneys. When I’d finish my cases, I’d go around the courthouse to see if someone else had any cases to try.”
On the other hand, Mike Haggard became a public defender after completing law school in 1995. “I loved helping clients who were indigent and needed all the assistance they could get,” he says. “I always wanted to go to trial, and I handled plenty of cases at that time.”
After a year and a half as a PD, Mike joined a South Florida plaintiff’s law firm, and built his pretrial and courtroom skills. “Then, I talked to my dad and said, ‘Why don’t we do this together?’” Mike says. “Competing against each other just didn’t make sense.”
Although practicing together has paid off for father and son, Mike adds that working with family is not for everyone. “You have to be honest and be willing to take constructive criticism,” he says. “But if you have a good relationship, it’s very rewarding. We’re always there for each other.”
And Mike also balances his time in the office with time at home with wife Bekki and their children, Madison and Carson. “I’d love for my kids to follow us into the law,” Mike says. “I tell them that I go to work every day to fight the bad guys – like my father, I’m very proud of what we do.”
Trying more than a dozen cases as father-and-son litigators.
In nearly four decades as a litigator, Andrew Hall, 62, has represented both famous clients such as Watergate figure John Ehrlichman and the all-but-forgotten victims of state terrorism in places like the Darfur region of Sudan.
A Holocaust survivor, Hall came to the U.S. at a young age and became a lawyer almost by accident. “I was in a pre-med course and took the LSAT as a lark,” he recalls. “I got a letter from the dean admitting me to the law school without even applying. I wasn’t enjoying pre-med, and I realized the law was something I should pursue.” Today, he is a partner in the Miami firm Hall, Lamb and Hall, P.A.
Hall’s son Adam Hall, on the other hand, grew up hearing stories about the law. “I always knew of the possibilities and what can happen when you become a lawyer,” says Adam, 36. After taking a law class in high school and competing in the Dade County Mock Trial competition, he found himself firmly on the road to a career in law.
After earning his degree, Adam says he considered working for the state attorney’s office, but decided to come to right to work with his father. “I decided I couldn’t get any better training, and I was right,” he recalls.
Since then, the Halls have worked closely on many cases, and have tried more than a dozen together as litigators. To Andy, trial work is the “ultimate challenge” for a lawyer. “It tests your knowledge of the case and the speed [at which] you work. You have to be able to react instantly to what’s happening,” he says. “When you win, you can make a profound difference in people’s lives and actually change society for the better.”
Adam says he and his father have comparable personalities, but “he’s a little more intense than I am.” Andy agrees, noting that both have strong dispositions and don’t hesitate to argue their positions – often heatedly – with each other. “By the time it’s all hashed out, we have a better result,” Andy says. “That’s because my son is a smart, effective lawyer who brings his own skills and insights to our professional relationship.”
For Adam, one of the pleasures of a law career is learning something new all the time. “I might speak to a dozen clients or handle several interesting new cases in a day,” he says. “That keeps me challenged and engaged.”
Father and daughter team up to serve international clients.
Burton A. Landy is one of the most experienced and respected international attorneys in South Florida. At age 78, he is chairman emeritus of Akerman Senterfit’s International Practice Group in Miami, with a long list of accomplishments to his credit.
And for the past 14 years, Burt Landy has practiced with his daughter Lisa A. Landy, 44, who also has compiled an impressive set of credentials in the same field.
“I’m the first lawyer in our family,” says Burt, whose father owned several grocery stores in Chicago. “My mother, Clara, was also an entrepreneurial type who dealt with a lot of lawyers. She convinced me to go to law school. And she made me promise that if I became a lawyer, I’d return all phone calls, preferably the same day. That’s something I still do today.”
After graduating in 1952 from the University of Miami School of Law, Burt joined the Air Force as a JAG officer. “I had studied in Mexico and Cuba, and was a Latin America specialist, so the Air Force naturally sent me to Korea instead,” he recalls. “That gave me far greater exposure to the world, so it was a natural thing for me to look at a law career in the international field.”
Now, Burt enjoys serving as an international arbitrator in business disputes – and practicing in an office next door to his daughter’s. “My dad’s in a perfect role now,” Lisa says. “He’s like a judge.”
A true father-daughter team, the Landys share an administrative assistant and work on the same matters together. “A lot of our work is advising foreign companies and investors on their inbound investments or business operations here,” Lisa says. “That includes many multi-generational clients from Latin America, where the father is still active in the company, but the sons and daughters are now executives. As a family team, we relate well to them.”
Lisa says she always knew she would be a lawyer. “I remember my first trip at age 4 to Argentina,” she says. “I liked the travel and the different cultures, so my path was set at an early age.”
But Lisa spent her first five years in law in other fields, first as a commercial litigator, then handling cases in fields as diverse as real estate, immigration, aviation and probate. “Because the international field is so broad, I wanted to get a firsthand understanding of those different areas,” she explains.
Lisa’s dedication paid off with a string of awards, including being named 2006 Interlawyer of the Year at the Prague Annual Global Meeting of Interlaw. Does she hope her son or daughter will become the third generation in the international practice? “Whatever makes them happy, gainfully employed and good citizens is fine with me,” she says. “They don’t have to be lawyers.”
Legal careers are a family tradition.
For three generations, legal careers have run in the Pearlman family. Seymour Pearlman was a general practitioner in Queens, N.Y., who served as a U.S. Army prosecutor in late 1940s war crime trials in Japan.
“I viewed my father as a role model,” says Charles B. Pearlman, 61, who has been a lawyer for 35 years. “It has been very satisfying to grow a significant corporate and securities practice, including clients that have remained with me for more than 20 years and watching the development of the younger lawyers who have worked with me.”
One of those younger lawyers at Arnstein & Lehr LLP in Fort Lauderdale is Charlie’s son Brian Pearlman, 34, who also focuses his practice on corporate and securities cases. “Growing up in South Florida, I always saw my dad working on interesting business and legal transactions. … That sparked my interest in law,” says Brian, who has practiced with his father for the past decade.
Brian says he decided to be a transactional lawyer in law school, and then went to work at Atlas Pearlman Trop, where Charlie Pearlman was one of the managing partners. “When I started working, it was the middle of the dot-com boom, so my interests fit in with the firm’s needs for an associate level securities attorney,” Brian says. “Throughout my career, I have always worked with my father – only the names of the firm have changed. I think professionally we work very well together, along with the rest of our practice group.”
Charlie Pearlman says he feels “extremely fortunate” to have his son follow in his legal footsteps. “While there were certainly issues and challenges when Brian first came to work with me, there has never been a time when the issues outweighed the benefits,” he says. “We do not bring our work home with us. And by having my son as my partner, it keeps the grandchildren nearby.”
Father and son admit to healthy differences of opinion about how to proceed with their cases. “I believe we are both outgoing and respectful of our clients,” says Charlie, “and I tend to be a little less emotional, probably because of my age and experience.”
Brian says his father has been a “great mentor,” who taught him the importance of hard work, as well as balancing family and career. For Brian that includes his wife, Elizabeth, a former paralegal at the firm, and their three children. “Without a doubt,” he says, “going to work for my father was the best decision I ever made.”
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