“I grew up in awe of my father,” says Stevan Pardo. “He loved the law and practiced with a passion born of his strong desire to help those who had been exploited. Most important to my father, were his integrity and reputation. If he didn’t believe in an argument, he wouldn’t make the argument. If he didn’t believe in a case, he wouldn’t take the case.
“Because of his dedication to serving others while preserving the law, he was highly respected not just by fellow attorneys, but by every judge he ever came before. He not only inspired me to share his love for the law, but also served as the best mentor I could ever hope to have. He set such an amazing example, I couldn’t wait to follow in his footsteps.”
Follow he did, while amassing his own share of accolades and awards along the way. Recognized as a leading authority on Florida construction and corporate hospitality law, Pardo, like his father garners respect and admiration from virtually everyone within the legal community. Throughout his 30-plus years as a construction litigator, he has represented companies involved in essentially all aspects of the construction industry including owners, contractors, design professionals, subcontractors, sureties and insurers.
“Over the years, I have handled many high-profile construction cases,” says Pardo. “But the case I am most proud of was being part of the legal team that successfully represented a national homebuilder in a grand jury investigation after Hurricane Andrew. The grand jury was investigating whether the damage incurred was due to alleged construction practices that may have violated criminal law. Because I grew up with the company’s founders, I felt a personal responsibility to be successful and ultimately, we were.”
Pardo and his firm have taken on some of the largest mulimillion-dollar construction defect cases in Florida arising out of commercial and residential, high-rise residential, hospitality and resorts, multifamily, retail, and office construction projects. His firm also recently achieved one of the largest class action real estate tax exemption summary judgments against municipalities. In that case, he successfully represented a group of business owners seeking to collect millions of tax dollars owed to them for their participation in an incentive program to develop enterprise zones.
Inheriting his father’s passion for the intricacies of law, Pardo says that while every attorney hopes to be victorious in every case, winning is not how he measures success nor how he defines his love for the work.
“Win or lose, there is always something to be gained with every case,” he adds. “When you lose a case, you learn that the law is not perfect and no lawyer can expect to be perfect. You have to learn from the disappointment of a loss so that you are better prepared the next time. Even after I win a hearing, I always reassess whether I could have approached it differently. I always analyze whether my approach to the case should be tweaked. Every case evolves over time and your approach to that case must continue to evolve accordingly.”
IN THE BEGINNING
After receiving his juris doctor from Duke University Law School, Pardo was immediately hired by the prestigious firm of Greenberg Traurig. For the next 12 years, surrounded by some of the most experienced and gifted attorneys in the country, Pardo honed his skills and perfected his own personal style.
“I trained with the best and brightest lawyers in the local community at GT,” he says. “I was the 65th lawyer at a firm that would eventually exceed 1,900. GT was a great place to work in the 1980’s. I had many mentors there who taught me to work hard, always be prepared, and that your word, reputation and integrity are most important. Some of the same lessons I learned from my father.”
Greenberg Traurig not only proved to be an excellent opportunity for growth, but also provided the ideal launch-pad for his own firm. “I had the entrepreneurial desire to create a boutique firm where I could develop my own culture and identity. Twenty years later, I could not be happier. I truly enjoyed the big firm experience, but Pardo Jackson Gainsburg is the realization of all my dreams.”
Rather than immitate the “big firm” culture, Pardo and his partners are very conscious of maintaining a low-key, close-knit atmosphere for theirs.
“Simply put, our firm is extremely collegial,” he says. “Everyone helps one another to make us all better. It is a unique environment where we laugh a lot and work hard, but balance personal life with professional life. Each of our team members has legal specialties that dovetail with the other.”
The student has become the teacher, and today Pardo provides the same opportunities, experience and training to new associates, that he once received from Greenberg Traurig.
“I enjoy working with bright young lawyers who are eager to learn and produce high quality legal work,” says Pardo.
With an impressive track record representing developers and investors in multimillion-dollar real property transactions, including purchases and sales, joint ventures, and residential and commercial development, Pardo brings a unique perspective to the real estate side of his practice. His 20 years of personal experience as a real estate developer, hotel owner, builder, and operator, affords Pardo a deep and profoundly astute insight into the world of construction and renovation, and has served to enhance the legal advice and business strategies he provides to his clients.
Looking toward the future, Steven Pardo has a clear vision of both his personal expectations as well as those for the firm.
“I have spent the last decade finding ways to give back to the community with my construction knowledge, whether it is assisting with the construction of the Miami Beach JCC or the renovation of my temple’s historic synagogue, or chairing the Historic Preservation Board of the city of Miami Beach,” he says. “As my dad did for more than 50 years, I will continue to help clients resolve legal disputes with great passion, intellectual creativity and strong work ethic.”