In what part of town do you live?
We live in Coral Gables.
How long have you lived in the area?
Just over five years. Before that, we lived on Miami Beach. Originally, I’m from from Kendall. I grew up right by Calusa golf course and then we moved to (what’s now known as) Pinecrest in 1990.
Did you always think you’d stay in Miami?
That’s an interesting question. I love being home in Miami, but I also love exploring and being out there and checking out new things. I always had a feeling that I wanted to be close to family. My brother and parents live about an hour away. My wife’s family lives all within a half hour.
Would you tell us a little bit about your family?
We’ve got two kids, our two boys are just the best. The older one, Dylan, will be five in June. The little guy’s two and a half. They have very different personalities. The little guy is more of a rough and tumble and the older one is more emotional and sensitive. Morgan and I have been married for almost seven years. We got married up in the Berkshires.
Do you see yourself in your kids?
Absolutely. The older one loves music. He loves to dance. He’s incredibly outgoing and positive and very encouraging. We know from his teachers at school that he’s just a very inclusive person and wants to make everyone feel part of the group. That’s how I perceive myself. When I was his age I always liked music and dancing around the house. It’s just so funny to see it come back. The little one, it’s kind of hard to tell. He’s two and half, so we have not yet seen the full result.
What do you do during the week?
Five days out of the week, I’m an attorney. I went to law school at UF and graduated in 2009. My practice is commercial litigation. Often times whatever I’m working on is connected to the dirt in one way or another. A lot of what I do is based in construction or real estate. Whether it’s the building of a new project or litigation over a construction project.
At what point did you know that this was the type of law you wanted to practice?
My brother and my father are lawyers. My brother’s four years older than me, so that was certainly an influence. They both practice immigration law, which is quite different than what I do. I always had an admiration for lawyers and the practice in general. In law school, I didn’t really know exactly where I wanted to go, but I knew I wanted to be there.
How did you get started?
I got a job with a firm here in Miami called Bilzin Sumberg. Their practice really runs the gamut, from litigation, to transactional, to corporate work, and real estate deals. Once I was there, I had exposure to different practice areas. It was more of a function of the people that I was working with opposed to the subject matter. I was paired with a mentor when I arrived, and worked very closely with him. He subsequently left the firm. After a few years, I left the firm and then we rejoined, and we’ve been working together for the past six years at Duane Morris.
What about your relationship makes for such a strong connection?
We have very similar family values. He’s someone that I really looked up to before I even really knew too much about him. The way that he interacted with others and was always friendly. Regardless of whether they were the doorman at the office building, the mailroom clerk, the CEO of a company, or a client, he treated everyone with the same level of respect, knew their names, knew about what was going on in their families and genuinely cared. When I saw him treating people the way that I always like to treat people, I knew that I couldn’t go wrong.
In preparation for this interview, I learned that’s exactly how people view you too.
Hmm, that’s really nice to hear.
Would you tell us a little about the experience of coming to the drive through?
It’s really a breath of fresh air. We talk about it during the week. It’s become a very special tradition. My kids don’t like going in the car anywhere for more than 15 minutes. To get down to the farm stand is a 25 or 30 minute ride and there’s nothing but excitement and joy. Those smiles only come out when we’re getting a rainbow smoothie. And, they’ve gotten the opportunity to try different things and see us exploring and get out of our comfort zone.
What do you get when you come?
Dylan gets a rainbow smoothie and I definitely get the Tropikale. When you have it, banana bread, and then we’ll try either some of the different ice creams or different tropical fruit. We just tried the turmeric freeze dried cubes. Those are cool and definitely different. I keep them by the front door.
What other businesses or places have you been visiting regularly?
We’ve been going to Fairchild Tropical Garden, especially during quarantine, it’s really an incredible escape. The landscape there may not change, but it’s different every time you go. It’s a great place to just explore and for the kids to run around. You feel like you have the whole place to yourself, even if there’s a lot of other people there.
One place we love for take out it Fratellino on Miracle Mile. It’s a very small Italian restaurant, two doors down from the Playhouse. The owner is this guy Beto, you will love him. My wife grew up on Miami Beach, and Beto had a restaurant in Bay Harbor that she and her family would go to at least once a week. When we went to his new place, it was as if no time had passed. He knows everybody in there, he’s a sweetheart. My wife who had a crush on him openly when she was 10, I think still has a crush on him.
What’s Miami’s best kept secret?
Miami Beach between first and second street, on the sand. To me, that is such an escape. The tourists usually go further North on the beach. It’s in the middle of all the hustle and bustle, but it’s just in its own little world. It brings me back to when I was a kid growing up and loved going to the beach. It’s a nice full circle kind of experience.
What’s a worthy splurge for you?
One would be anything food related. We’ll splurge and get stone crabs or sushi. Our kids have also taken on sushi. My son can put down a plate of sushi, like no one’s business. It’s unbelievable. What started out as a this is very cute and funny has turned into a very expensive take out bill. If there’s room for two, the other splurge is traveling. I think investing in experiences is truly very important.
What community groups or events are important to you that you might like to promote or share?
We are members of Temple Judea and love the community there. We joined four or five years ago when we moved to Coral Gables. Not only for our kids, but for us, in our adult years it’s often difficult to meet new friends. We’ve been able to meet a nice group of people.
Would you like to share a pitch about your work or something else?
Sure. Duane Morris is an international law firm. We have around 30 offices around the United States and we have offices in Asia and London. We handle matters small and large. A lot of the times there are disputes that arise outside of Florida and we’re able to call on lawyers in offices without much extra effort because we already have a footprint.
Is there a question that you would you like to ask us?
(RS) I assume that the farm grows more than what you’re selling on the weekends.
(A+W) The farms total about 150 acres. That’s been a commercial business for 40 years, started by Adena’s parents. What we sell at the market is a tiny selection, but the best and ripest fruit from all the groves. The majority of our produce goes to distributors who sell to supermarkets and food stores.
Is there a question or a challenge or words of advice you’d like to pose to the community?
We’ll get through this together. That’s the overall mantra that my family has been living under. Let’s get out the other end a little bit better than were beforehand. I don’t know if that’s feasible, but that’s what I’m hoping for.
Is there anything that I have not asked that I should have?
Interesting. I don’t know if you’ve ever taken a deposition or given a deposition, but you’re doing a good job. Maybe ask, where the next vacation will be? It will be to a beach that’s not Miami Beach. I’m going to literally unplug and totally escape with the family. That’s what I’m looking forward to.