Javier Ley-Soto currently serves as the General Counsel for Miami Dade College overseeing all legal matters for the College and its 8 campuses. Prior to this he served as chief legal counsel for the Florida Department of Children and Families, managing legal matters for Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. 

Javier started his legal career at a boutique law firm prior to joining the Department handling commercial litigation matters. He also clerked at the Third District Court of Appeal for the Honorable David M. Gersten. Mr. Ley-Soto has been a member of CABA since graduating from St. Thomas University School of Law where he was the Student Bar Association President, Student Senator and founding member of the St. Thomas More Catholic Law Society. 

He was awarded the 2010 Assistant General Counsel of the Year award by the Florida Government Bar Association, a finalist for the Miami Chamber of Commerce 2011 and 2014 HYPE Awards Go-Getter Award and recognized for Outstanding Humanitarian Support during Operation Repatriation following the 2010 Haiti earthquake. 




Karen Cespedes is a complex litigation consultant at Esquire Deposition Solutions, LLC, a national provider of deposition management solutions. As a proven sales professional and legal strategist, Karen works with corporations, law firms, attorneys and their teams to effectively manage the deposition process. In 2017 Karen earned the Publico Award by the Cuban American Bar Association for providing relief to Hurricane Irma victims by recruiting and coordinating volunteering for legal clinics. 

She attended Florida State University and completed her master’s at Florida International University in international relations and East Asian studies. She is a former state department fellow and led impressive portfolios during her tenure at the American Institute in Taipei, Taiwan. She currently sits on The Florida Bar’s Statewide Citizens Advisory Committee and The Florida Bar’s 11th Circuit Grievance Committee.  



Miriam Soler Ramos is a partner at the law firm of Holland & Knight, specializing in land use and zoning, procurement, governmental relations, internal investigations and government ethics. She is board certified in city, county, and local government law. Ramos earned a Bachelor of Science degree in communications and political science and her Juris Doctor from the University of Miami.  

She previously served as city attorney for the city of Coral Gables and prior to that as deputy city attorney and city prosecutor. As the chief legal officer, she served as counsel to the mayor and city commission, city manager and city departments. Currently, she also serves on a few Florida Bar committees. 

Before joining the city of Coral Gables, Ms. Ramos served as deputy general counsel for the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust (COE). Before joining the COE, Ms. Ramos was an assistant state attorney in Miami-Dade County. During her time as a prosecutor, she served in the Career Criminal Unit and the Domestic Crimes Unit.  





Daniel Martinez has over 25 years of banking experience. Martinez is currently chief banking officer and regional market executive at Professional Bank. He attended Nova Southeastern University and studied business administration and management. Prior to joining Professional Bank, he worked for financial institutions, such as Citibank, Union Planters Bank-Private Banking Division and Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust Company. He serviced and formulated relationships with high-net-worth individuals and families as well as professionals within the legal, accounting and medical communities. 





Giselle Gutierrez is a Shareholder in the Labor & Employment and Litigation Departments. Her labor and employment experience includes representing clients before administrative agencies (such as the EEOC and the NLRB) and federal and state courts in cases involving employment discrimination, retaliation, unpaid wages, defamation and claims under the FMLA, ADA, ADEA, Title VII, and more. Gutierrez obtained a B.S. from Florida International University and a J.D. from the University of Florida Levin college of Law. 

She handles non-compete and employment contract litigation, and counsels’ clients on data security issues. Giselle clerked for The Honorable Paul C. Huck, United States District Judge for the Southern District of Florida and is research and special works editor for Florida Law Review. 




Idalberto de Armas serves as senior vice president for Sabadell United Bank in Miami. Bert serves on the Leadership Florida Board of Directors, the Greater Miami YMCA Board and the Citizens Board of the University of Miami. Early in his career he worked as an aide for the late U.S. Senator Claude Pepper in Washington, D.C. 



Jordi Martínez-Cid is a partner at León Cosgrove LLP where he handles all manner of complex commercial litigation and arbitration. A graduate of Yale Law School and the University of Michigan, Mr. Martínez-Cid clerked for the Honorable Federico A. Moreno in the Southern District of Florida.  

Martínez-Cid has helped banks and other lending institutions navigate the regulatory landscape with an emphasis on avoiding consumer harm, while representing multinationals in complex proceedings. He has worked in-house with NBCUniversal and Telemundo, overseeing domestic and international litigation matters for those entities and their affiliates. Additionally, he represents corporate and individual clients in criminal, fraud-related, extradition and post-conviction relief cases. 




Maria D. Garcia is a partner and co–chair of the Healthcare Practice at Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton, focusing her practice on health care law and commercial litigation. She received her B.A. in political science, magna cum laude, from Florida International University. Garcia then earned her Juris Doctor from Florida International University College of Law. 

At her alma mater she taught as an adjunct professor on health-care law: Medicare and Medicaid compliance and reimbursement issues. She is a member of the Florida Board of Medicine and the Florida Commission on the Status of Women. 

Maria’s work as a health-care attorney has been recognized by Chambers USA, which has ranked her in this category. By Super Lawyers Magazine and the South Florida Legal Guide, Garcia was named a “Top Lawyer” in health care. In addition, Florida Trend Magazine has named her as one of the 500 Most Influential Business Leaders in the state of Florida.   





Sergio L. Mendez has more than 35 years of experience in probate, guardianship, and real propriety law. He attended Suffolk University Law School, and has experience as a professor at Florida International University, where he taught wills, trusts and estates. He is a founding partner of the Law Offices of Mendez & Mendez and practiced with his late father for 15 years. 

In 1999, Mendez was president of the Cuban American Bar Association. He has been licensed for over 20 years by U.S. Department of Treasury in the office of foreign assets control.  

Today, he is one of the few attorneys licensed to handle Cuban asset control regulations. He has handled hundreds of cases across the spectrum of civil litigation and is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell.  

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