Commercial litigation attorney, Etan Mark, had set out to be a veterinarian until a faculty adviser recognized that he had a penchant for fixing “human” problems. And while he has spent his career solving clients’ business problems – particularly in real estate litigation and complex fraud matters – Mark admits to still spending “too much” time focused on his dog’s mental health.
Straight out of law school, Mark entered a top 10 AmLaw firm in New York. His experience, while instrumental in teaching him some fundamental concepts, discouraged him from the traditional legal path. “Many millions of dollars were being billed for fairly rudimentary legal work, which didn’t sit well with me,” he recalled. “When I go home at night, I need to feel that a client who pays for sophisticated legal work is getting real value.” Following a federal clerkship, Mark embarked on an entrepreneurial journey to bring more cost-effective legal solutions to clients.
It was this belief that brought Mark to Berger Singerman. “The firm inculcates a philosophy that every client is a firm client rather than an individual attorney’s client. This breeds a culture of accountability and collaboration.”
In his practice, Mark has come to value the opportunity to co-pilot his clients through turbulent waters and emerge vindicated. “It’s important to always consider what is driving a case,” he said. “Behind every litigant is a person – an entrepreneur, a general counsel, a businessperson. Often, litigation can take a significant emotional and financial toll on someone’s life.” In looking at the legal system as a whole, Mark recognizes that very few clients truly understand its flaws. He views it as important to explain the realities of complex commercial litigation early in his retention.
“We don’t live in the world of ‘Suits’ or ‘Ally McBeal’,” he said. “The court system is overwhelmed with cases and seriously understaffed. A case that should be resolved in six months can take years in this system.” Looking to the future, Mark is a strong proponent of the adoption of rules to rein in civil discovery, which he sees as a driver of unnecessary time and costs to many commercial litigation matters. In the meantime, he discloses the true toll litigation can have with clients at the beginning of the engagement, encouraging them to enter pre-suit mediation, if appropriate.
Looking to the attorney mentors who inspired him, Mark speaks of his father-in-law, Alan Weisberg, who, according to Mark, is at the top of his field, is extremely community oriented, and is a terrific father and grandfather. “He walks the walk and he taught me – through actions, not words – how every lawyer should, in his own way, also be a community activist.”
Mark also points to name partners Paul Singerman and Mitchell Berger, who, together, have taught him the characteristics of a successful attorney – exhibit technical excellence, commit to the community and work hard at developing business.
As one of the managers of Berger Singerman’s litigation practice group, Mark takes pleasure in passing on his knowledge to the associates. “I hope they see me as a mentor. And, when they are listed in the Attorneys to Watch 2025 issue, I hope to be seen as someone who inspired them.”
Outside of the office, Mark spends his time with his wife and kids. Beyond serving as the vice president of his temple and a member of the HistoryMiami board of trustees, Mark admits to being somewhat of a dilettante. His latest hobby, smoking meats, springs from his belief that “Nothing brings a family together like a good smoked brisket.”
Looking to the future of his career, Mark aspires to make a mark on Miami. “There is no other major city in the United States that provides such an opportunity for a lawyer to effect real change. I hope I can be a part of that.”