Attorney at Law Magazine recently sat down with Eric Bluestein, a partner with Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP, and the recently inducted president of the Miami-Dade Trial Lawyers Association. Bluestein shares his plans for the organization in his leadership role as well as some insight into how the organization will continue to handle the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bluestein and the 2021 executive board and board of directors were sworn into office at the Banyan Bowl at Pinecrest Gardens on February 20 by Judge Samantha Ruiz-Cohen (pictured above with Eric Bluestein).
AALM: How did you come to be involved in the association?
EB: As a law clerk in law school and as a young associate I was fortunate to have seasoned lawyers take an interest in my career. I have had, and still have, wonderful mentors. And they made one thing very clear to me from the start: success in the legal field is different than success at school. For example, at school, there tends to be a focus on results – on grades and test scores. Study hard and perform well and success follows. It is an easy recipe. As a lawyer, results in the courtroom and in cases are just a part of the larger whole to being successful. A good lawyer without clients has limited options. I was strongly urged to network and to get out in the community. This led me to join the Miami-Dade Trial Lawyers Association, as well as other organizations.
Additionally, I have also always been cognizant of how fortunate I was to have the opportunities I had in college, law school and continue to have in the legal field. As a result, I do what I can to help students and young lawyers. I will meet with anyone who reaches out.
The Miami-Dade Trial Lawyers Association offers its members the opportunity to meet a lot of great people, and the work the organization does give me, and others, the privilege of being able to give back to the community as a whole, and to mentor law students and younger lawyers.
AALM: How has COVID impacted the work the association has been doing, and what are your plans to continue to address that?
EB: COVID has been a significant challenge. For example, until the swearing-in last month, we had not held any in-person events. Our annual Judicial Reception was virtual. We did not have our annual Installation Gala this year. We could not serve meals with the Chapman Partnership or participate in events at His House. Any mentoring has been accomplished via email, phone calls, and Zoom, as opposed to at lunch or over coffee. We have not had our regular Happy Hours.
As more and more people become vaccinated and CDC guidelines continue to be updated, we hope to be able to have safe in-person events later this year. Our swearing-in last month was outside, with a limited number of attendees, people wore masks and the event was great. We are thinking about ways to have other events later this year that can also be safely held. That may mean events with fewer people than we would typically invite, events that are outside, events without food, or some combination thereof.
We are also adapting. While we were unable to have our Judicial Reception in-person, Elliot Kula put on a wonderful Judicial Reception via Zoom. And, while not ideal, if in-person continuing legal education events cannot be done, we will host them virtually.
AALM: What lessons did you learn from past presidents? How are you applying those lessons to your tenure?
EB: Currently, the most important lesson I apply daily is patience. The pandemic appears to be getting better but we cannot rush out and force our will on the virus simply to try to benefit the organization or our practices. We need to be mindful of people’s concerns and fears and health. As a result, while the board has good ideas for this year, we are staying patient and remaining hopeful that those ideas will come to fruition a little later this year.
AALM: What changes in the Florida legal community do you see impacting your members? How is the association looking to address that?
EB: The most significant change is technology. Zoom is here for the long term and probably permanently. We have an obligation to ensure our members understand Zoom, are comfortable with it, and know-how to argue effectively via camera. One way to address the advancements in technology is by hosting a continuing legal education course, which we are currently planning. Another way is communicating daily with anyone who reaches out via email or telephone for assistance.
We also, as an organization, have a duty to reach out to the court with feedback about Zoom. We need to continue to let the court know the issues we face and offer potential solutions.
AALM: What advice do you have for a member looking to increase their involvement in the Miami-Dade Trial Lawyers Association?
EB: Please reach out to me, or any other member of the board you feel comfortable reaching out to. When we do host events, either in-person or via Zoom, sign up, show up and speak to whomever you feel comfortable engaging with. Take advantage of the resources we offer.