Berger Singerman Welcomes Wave of New Talent to Dispute Resolution and Business Finance & Tax Teams
Berger Singerman, Florida’s business law firm, is pleased to announce the addition of eight new attorneys to its offices throughout the state so far in 2023. Among the new hires is former Kenny Nachwalter shareholder Robbie Landon, who has joined the firm as a partner on the Dispute Resolution Team. The firm also welcomes Ruth Vafek and Gia Abreu O’Connor as partners to its Dispute Resolution Team, and Michel Debolt as a partner on the firm’s Business, Finance & Tax Team. Additionally, Carlos Julca has joined the firm as of counsel and Carolina Varela, Joseph O’Brien, and Ana Kauffmann have joined the firm as associates.
“Berger Singerman continues to differentiate itself in Florida’s increasingly crowded legal market by attracting top talent, including many lawyers formerly with national and international law firms, who wish to be a part of a more entrepreneurial, conflict free and collaborative law firm culture,” said Paul Steven Singerman, Co-Chair of Berger Singerman. “At a time when many “big law” firms are scaling back recruiting efforts and laying off lawyers and staff, our firm is adding great talent to continue to provide passionate client service to our growing client base.”
Robbie Landon brings one of Florida’s most established complex litigation practices to Berger Singerman’s Miami office and Dispute Resolution Team. Over nearly 30 years at Kenny Nachwalter, Landon built a reputation as an advocate for commercial clients in healthcare, hospitality, professional sports, and other industries across federal and state trial and appellate courts. He has first chaired many cases and arbitrations, including a several-month federal trial with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake. Landon has also left a mark on the profession by helping create the 11th Judicial Circuit’s first draft of the Complex Business Litigation Section Procedures and serving on the Civil Procedure Rules Committee of The Florida Bar. He earned his J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School and he has been recognized by the Florida Supreme Court for his pro bono service.
Ruth Vafek joins the firm’s Tallahassee office and Dispute Resolution Team as a partner with nearly two decades of legal experience serving a wide range of clients in intellectual property and employment law matters. Before Berger Singerman, Vafek was a litigator and civil circuit mediator at the Ausley McMullen law firm, where she represented clients in administrative proceedings and in federal and state courts. Her notable casework includes litigating several multimillion-dollar disputes and drafting and negotiating a first-in-its-industry joint development and allocation of intellectual property rights for multiple client stakeholders. Committed to Tallahassee’s community, Vafek often does pro bono work for Legal Aid Foundation of Tallahassee presents on legal topics at the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce and FSU, and previously served as chair of the board of directors for Urban League of Tallahassee.
Gia Abreu O’Connor comes to Berger Singerman’s Miami office and its Dispute Resolution Team as a partner with over a decade of experience in commercial and probate litigation. Most recently, O’Connor served as managing attorney for the RMO law firm’s Miami office. Outside the courtroom, she is educating the next generation of professionals as an adjunct professor, instructor and outreach committee chair for several FIU College of Law programs. O’Connor has held leadership roles with legal groups, including the Miami-Dade Florida Association for Women Lawyers and the 11th Judicial Circuit Screening Committee for Court Appointments in Mental Health Proceedings, Extraordinary Guardianship Issues, and other matters.
Michel Debolt joins Berger Singerman’s Fort Lauderdale office and its Business, Finance & Tax Team as a partner with over 20 years of experience counseling international clients on legal, financial and operational matters. Debolt was previously a partner with Kirkland & Ellis in London and Hong Kong, where he advised companies and investors from more than 35 countries on multibillion-dollar transactions across commercial, intellectual property, real estate, and other sectors. In addition to being a licensed attorney with a J.D. from Columbia University, he is also a certified public accountant and holds a Master of Business Administration from Wharton. With these cross-functional skillsets, Debolt previously held roles including founder & CEO of Epic Gem, an app-based startup and an Ernst & Young accountant for multiple Fortune 500 clients.
Carlos Julca comes to Berger Singerman’s Business, Finance & Tax Team in Miami as of counsel and Joseph O’Brien as the team’s newest associate. Julca is another multidisciplinary attorney. He joins the firm from his most recent role as tax counsel at Keysight Technologies near Silicon Valley, California. Previously, he was an international tax consultant at “big four” accounting firms Ernst & Young and Deloitte. O’Brien will be based in the firm’s Fort Lauderdale office. He most recently worked at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft in New York where he represented clients in transactional matters involving securities and capital market matters.
The Dispute Resolution team’s newly added associates, Ana Kauffmann, and Carolina Varela will both be resident in the firm’s Miami office. Kauffman previously worked at Bennett Aiello & Cohen, the Law Offices of Richard C. Klugh, and Podhurst Orseck. Most recently she was a judicial law clerk for U.S. District Judges Beth Bloom and Robert Scola. Varela joins Berger Singerman from the Boies Schiller firm, and prior to that she served as a judicial law clerk for U.S. Circuit Judge Adalberto Jordan and U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga.