Natasha Cortes knew she wanted to be a lawyer since junior high school. “My mother worked at a law firm as a medical investigator and I recall being intrigued by both law and medicine,” she said. “In fact, I recall doing a paper in junior high wherein I interviewed two leading female medical malpractice attorneys, Judy Bass and Kim Cook. They cemented my desire to become a lawyer and I went on to complete an accelerated high school and college program, which allowed me to graduate with my Juris Doctor from the University of Miami by the age of 22.”
Today, Cortes has a thriving practice with Grossman Roth in Miami where she is the only female Hispanic partner. She began at the firm as a clerk during her first year of law school and has been there ever since. “Neal Roth has been the best mentor any lawyer could hope for,” she said. “No lawyer works harder or is more dedicated than Neal and I would not be the lawyer I am today without his influence.”
Cortes practices in the areas of medical malpractice, wrongful death and complex personal injury matters.
“Most of our clients have suffered immense tragedy and to witness their lives change for the better as a result of our efforts is very rewarding,” she said. “I stay in touch with many of my clients and even serve as a voluntary trustee for clients who have entrusted me to oversee the management of their financial affairs.”
The most challenging aspect of her practice, however, is mastering the medicine and keeping up with the constantly changing laws. “You must continuously do both in order to remain successful in this arena,” she said. “I’m proud to be in a firm that is not only at the forefront of the legislative challenges that face our practice, but is also the best at dissecting complicated medical cases.”
Cortes knows she’s done a good job when her adversaries – opposing counsel – tell her she’s a pleasure to litigate against. “I truly believe that you can be an effective lawyer while still maintaining respect for all, including your opponents,” she said. “I think some lawyers lose sight of that.”
A founder of the Puerto Rican Bar Association of Florida, Cortes is proud of her Hispanic heritage, which has helped her serve many clients in the South Florida community. She also serves as the head administrator for the firm’s medical investigators and helps coordinate their efforts.
What would she like to see in the future? “I would like to see lawyers gain the respect as a profession that once was,” she said. “I would like public perception to change and recognize all of the good our profession contributes to society rather than always focusing on the negative. With every single person I encounter – whether it be a stranger, a client or defense lawyer, I try to change that perception by showing them what honorable work lawyers do. I also expect the legal and political waves that have previously challenged the medical malpractice world to continue. We must do what we need to in order to continue to fight for our clients.” Cortes also recognizes the importance of technology in the future. “Technology has made a big impact on not only how we practice as a firm, but how the health care world is now doing business.” Toward that end, she has volunteered to oversee her firm’s transition to a paperless office. “As our firm celebrates its 25th anniversary, I am proud to be part of such a dynamic collaboration of talented individuals who have ensured that no matter the challenges we have faced in the past, we have nonetheless managed to maintain our success and will hopefully continue to do so for many more years to come.”
When Cortes is not practicing law, she enjoys spending time with her husband and children. “Balancing work and family is challenging, but the bottom line is that I never lose sight of the fact that they are my world,” she concluded.