who we are
elizabeth f. schwartz, esq.
Elizabeth Schwartz has been practicing law since 1997 and is one of Miami's best known advocates for the legal rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. While her South Beach-based firm equally works with straight and gay clients in matters of family law, estate planning and probate, she has made a name for herself representing the LGBT community, with a focus on family formation (adoption, insemination, surrogacy). She lectures locally and nationally about the importance of LGBT couples protecting their loved ones through estate planning, second parent adoption, and contract (especially in the absence of true marriage rights) and has been on the forefront of providing crucial legal protections for LGBT families.
Elizabeth is a fellow of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and serves as an adoption intermediary helping make forever families of all kinds. In addition, Elizabeth is a fellow of the American Academy of Assisted Reproduction Attorneys, assisting intended parents, gestational carriers and egg and sperm donors with their legal needs.
Elizabeth is currently serving as pro bono counsel on the pending case challenging Florida's marriage ban brought by NCLR (the National Center for Lesbian Rights) on behalf of six same-sex couples seeking the right to marry and the Equality Florida Institute (Pareto v. Ruvin). She also served as pro bono counsel in several cases that helped overturn Florida's bigoted 1977 ban forbidding gays and lesbians from adopting children.
Also a certified family mediator and a member of the Collaborative Family Law Institute, she treats the law as a therapeutic profession, facilitating relationship dissolution with minimal investment of emotional and financial resources.
A Miami Beach native, Elizabeth received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania in 1993 and her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from the University of Miami in 1997.
Elizabeth serves on the national board of SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders). She is a member of the National Family Law Advisory Council of NCLR, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. Elizabeth is co-chair of the Miami-Dade Gay and Lesbian Lawyers Association and sits on the GLBT Projects Fund of the Miami Foundation and the Our Fund Program and Grants Committee. An active member of her synagogue, Temple Israel of Greater Miami, Elizabeth serves on their Narot Endowment Fund board. Elizabeth is also a founding member of the Aqua Foundation for Women, raising money by and for South Florida's lesbian community.
For her years of service, she received the 2012 National Gay & Lesbian Task Force's prestigious Eddy McIntyre Community Service Award at the Task Force's annual Miami Recognition Dinner. Also in 2012, Elizabeth was tapped for membership into Iron Arrow, the highest honor attained at the University of Miami. In 2010, Elizabeth was named by the National LGBT Bar Association as one of the country's Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40, and also received the Women Worth Knowing Award from the City of Miami Beach Commission for Women. In 2008 she was honored with the "Valuing Our Families" Community Award, presented by Sunserve. In 2007, she received the Dade County Bar Association's Sookie Williams Award and the Aqua Foundation for Women Leadership Award. And in 2005, she received the Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Community Award.
A lefty and a Scorpio, Elizabeth lives with her wife, journalist Lydia Martin, and their dog Buttercup, in downtown Miami's urban core.
elizabeth's professional memberships
elizabeth's professional presentations have included:
- "Planning and Advising Same Sex Couples Post Windsor," Estate Planning Council of Greater Miami, 2nd Annual Estate Planning Symposium, February 11, 2014
- After Marriage Symposium, Florida State University School of Law, January 31, 2014
- Estate Planning Council, Washington, DC, September 25, 2013
- "The DOMA Decision Deciphered: What It Means to Your Client," LGBT National Academy of Continuing Legal Education, June 27, 2013
- The Associated, Baltimore - May 30, 2013
- Dispute Resolution Center Mediator's Conference in Orlando, FL, August 24, 2012
- National Public Radio: Interviewed for segment on Morning Edition, "Gay Divorce A Higher Hurdle Than Marriage", July 20, 2011
- National LGBT Bar Association's ongoing educational series: Panelist, Cutting Edge Issues in LGBT Adoption and Parentage, December 2010
- Ethics Film Series 2009: Panelist, The Times of Harvey Milk, April 2009
- 2009 UDM OUTlaw Symposium on GLBT Legal Issues: "Same-Sex Adoption/Parenting", March 2009, in Detroit Michigan
- Lavender Law 2008 (the annual conference of the NLGLA) in San Francisco
- Lavender Law 2006 in Washington,
- Panel Member, Florida Lawyers' Legal Insurance Corporation's
Legally Speaking Television Series, June 2006
- Diversity Training Seminars for Miami-Dade County Judges and
General Magistrates (2004-2007)
- Annual presentation at "Valuing our Families" conference
co-presented by Sunserve
Pride Coalition, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007
- Annual presentation at first year Public Interest law elective
at University of Miami School of Law, Prof. Martha Mahoney
- "Queer Law Practice" Panel Discussion, University
of Miami School of Law, April 8, 2003
- Panel on gay adoption issues, Tulane Law School, New Orleans,
Louisiana, October 2002
- Human Rights Campaign Town Hall Meeting, Birmingham, Alabama,
- Lavender Law 2002 in Philadelphia
- Keynote speaker, "Legal Issues Impacting the Queer Community,"
New College of Florida, Sarasota, 2001
- Lavender Law 2000 in Washington, D. C.
- Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Ft. Lauderdale, Fall 2000
- Lavender Law 1999 in Seattle
- SAVE-DADE's Lambda Conference in Miami, 1998 and 2000
- GYNA's Gay and Lesbian Parenting Conference, 1998
- Return to Work Symposium in Ft. Lauderdale, 1998
- Florida International Univ. School of Social Work, Legal Aspects
of Social Work, 1998, 1999, 2000
elizabeth's honors and recognitions
- 2012 Eddy McIntyre Community Service Award
In recognition of outstanding service to the Miami LGBT community
Presented by the Task Force at the 2012 Miami Recognition Dinner
- 2011 Voice for Equality Award
In recognition of outstanding service to the LGBT community
Presented by Equality Florida at the 2011 Miami Gala
- 2008 Community Award
In recognition of outstanding service to GLBT Families
Presented by Sunserve at the Valuing Our Families Conference
- 2007 Leadership Award
In recognition of outstanding service to the LBT Women's Community
Presented by the Aqua Foundation for Women
- 2007 Sookie Williams Award
Recognizing exemplary service to the Miami-Dade Legal Community
Presented by The Daily Business Review
- 2005 Community Award
In recognition of outstanding service to the GLBT Community
Presented by the Miami-Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
kira e. willig, esq.
Kira Elise Willig has been practicing marital and family law since 2000. Kira represents parties in actions concerning Dissolution of Marriage; Paternity; Parenting Plans; Relocation; Modification; Enforcement; Child Support; and Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements.
An adjunct faculty member of the University of Miami School of Law since January of 2007, Kira teaches Family Law and a Florida Family Law workshop series. She has lectured on various legal topics throughout Florida and internationally, and served as a Florida Family Law Instructor for Kaplan PMBR. She has been quoted in the Miami Herald regarding family law, contributed to The Law School Decision Game: A Playbook for Prospective Lawyers, and was a Content Editor for Kaplan PMBR Florida Family Law Bar Preparation Materials and Multi-State Family Law Bar Preparation Materials
Kira assists parties to amicably resolve their family law issues as a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator and member of the Collaborative Family Law Institute. She is frequently court-appointed to serve as a Guardian ad Litem for children whose parents are involved in family or domestic violence proceedings. Kira has extensively testified in circuit court, county court, and arbitration proceedings as an expert witness on the issue of attorney fees in marital and family law proceedings and served as an expert on Florida Family Law for Hague Convention proceedings in South Africa.
Kira has been selected four times for inclusion in Super Lawyers - Rising Stars Edition and was honored as a stand out attorney by her selection to the "Top 40 Lawyers under 40 in Miami-Dade County" by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Kira graduated from Barnard College, Columbia University with a degree in Women's Studies and Political Science. Her undergraduate achievements landed her a full scholarship to the University of Miami School of Law, where she was an Associate Editor of the University of Miami Inter-American Law Review and took first place in the Moot Court Competition.
While attending the University of Miami School of Law, Kira was a two-time recipient of the CALI Excellence for the Future Award in Family Law and Women and the Law; a three time recipient of the Dean's Certificate of Achievement Award in Family Law, Women and the Law, and Professional Responsibility; and a two-time recipient of the Honors designation in Litigation Skills and Alternative Dispute Resolution.
Kira served as a Dean's Fellow for Civil Procedure, Executive Editor of the Amicus Curiae, President of the Family Law Society, Vice-President of Miami Law Women, Vice-Chair of Orientation, contributed to the Res Ipsa Loquitur and was involved with the Center for Ethics & Public Service and the Spellman-Hoeveler American Inn of Court.
As a research assistant to Professor Anthony V. Alfieri, Kira assisted with numerous law review articles, including articles appearing in Stanford Law Review and other publications; Professor Clark J. Freshman's article entitled "What Ever Happened to 'Anti-Semitism?' in the Cornell Law Review. How Social Science Theories Identify Discrimination and Promote 'Coalitions' Between 'Different' Minorities,'"; and Professor Michael D. Graham with a new edition of the Handbook of Federal Evidence.
Kira graduated magna cum laude from the University of Miami School of Law and was named to the Order of the Coif, a national honor society that recognizes outstanding academic achievement in the study of the law.
When not practicing law or teaching, Kira enjoys Miami Hurricane football games and traveling around the world. Kira is the left-handed sibling to her twin brother, Sander Galt, a Miami-based artist, furniture designer, and Vizcaya restorer who is the lead singer and guitarist for Axe and the Oak. Both were born in Coral Gables on New Year's Day.
kira's certifications and professional memberships: Show || Hide
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robert j. hanreck, esq.
Robert J. Hanreck is currently in his eleventh year of law practice. Robert focuses his practice on products liability, personal injury, consumer law, family law, professional malpractice and commercial litigation. Robert has been recognized by his peers in Florida Trends Magazine on numerous occasions and in Florida Super Lawyers Magazine as a Rising Star. He spent in excess of six years at one of Florida's most prestigious law firms, Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell, P.A. before establishing his own firm.
Robert graduated from the University of Miami School of Law, magna cum laude, in 2000, where he was an Associate Editor of the University of Miami Business Law Review and represented the law school at several national moot court competitions in negotiation and mediation.
jerry simon chasen, esq.
Jerry Chasen is an estate planning attorney with 35 years of experience. Admitted to the bar in New York, Florida, New Mexico, and California, he has a Master's degree in estate planning from the University of Miami School of Law, where he was also on the adjunct faculty in the graduate estate planning and taxation programs. His practice focused on estate & charitable gift planning, estate administration & probate, intellectual property, and small business corporations.
Jerry left the full-time practice of law to serve as Vice President of the Alliance for Global Good, a non-profit organization. The Alliance is a grant-making and fundraising philanthropy that convenes and coordinates programs and organizations that give a priority to innovation and collaboration in order to increase their impact and efficiency. Jerry also created The Advisors Project, an initiative that encourages professional advisers to create client relationships that are both satisfying to clients and advantageous for philanthropy, as a means for growing resources going to philanthropy.
Past President of the Miami-Dade County Planned Giving Council and longtime member of the Council's Board of Directors, Jerry served as a member of the national Board of Directors of Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund. He on the Professional Advisory Committee of the Foundation of Jewish Philanthropies, the United Way of Miami-Dade County, and the Miami Foundation, and is also chair of the Miami Foundation's LGBT Community Projects Fund Committee.
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