Mase Lara is a boutique law firm with 15 attorneys who combined have represented clients in hundreds of jury and non-jury trials. This is a significant matter for clients and potential clients because less than 1 percent of Florida cases actually go to jury trial, says Curtis J. Mase, founder and president of Mase Lara P.A. “Too many self-proclaimed trial attorneys are just looking to settle a case and move on to the next one – the idea of taking it to trial is daunting. We prepare every case like it is going to trial. When we settle a case it’s usually because the other side knows we have every intention of trying it and they meet our demand or drop theirs when they realize that trying the case can become more expensive than paying out the settlement.”
Mase Lara opened in 1997 with a few attorneys and a large conference room shared as an office. Although the firm now has offices in Coconut Grove overlooking Biscayne Bay, the attorneys and staff strive to maintain a small firm feel. “Our clients love our small firm atmosphere because they feel assured that we care about their case and they know that from the top down, we are all invested in their cause,” says Mase.
Mase credits his team’s singular commitment to delivering results to the firm’s rapid growth in clientele and in the diversity of that clientele. The firm’s practice focuses on four core areas: serious personal injury and wrongful death, commercial litigation, maritime law and white-collar criminal defense. Some of the firm’s clients are among the largest and most prominent organizations in the world: Al Rushaid Petroleum Investment Company, Carnival Corporation, Holland America Line, MasTec, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruise Line, OPKO and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.
Mase says that he enjoys the challenges presented by different areas of law and that he approaches each case as if it was the first case he’s ever worked on. “It doesn’t matter to your client how well you have done in the past – all that matters is the current case. The meter resets after every case and you need to prove yourself just as much as you did on cases you worked on for the client in the past,” says Mase. Whether learning the medicine behind AIDS for one case or the engineering of elevators for another, “it’s never dull,” he says.
Mase Lara has handled many significant maritime cases. “For being a small firm, we cast a long shadow in the maritime field,” Mase says. Recently, the firm obtained a seven-figure settlement for a 14-year-old girl who suffered injuries after crashing a jet ski into a wooden dock. “This young girl should never have been permitted to operate a motorcycle on the water without any training or supervision, much less a helmet. It is cases like these that remind me of why I became an attorney.”
Another notable win involved a 75 ft. rogue wave that hit a cruise ship resulting in a suit being filed by passengers who sought more than $100 million in damages. Mase Lara obtained a defense verdict and a huge victory for its client. “In this case, understanding meteorology, wave forecasting and rogue wave creation were keys to success at trial,” Mase says.
Mase is no stranger to the courtroom, having tried a multitude of cases in state and federal court. He is board certified in civil trial law by the Florida Bar and National Board of Trial Advocates.
Mase’s partner, Richard D. Lara, joined the firm in its first year with a specific focus on developing a commercial litigation practice as well as growing the firm’s roster of Latin American clients. “Lara’s love of complex commercial trial work coupled with his fluency in Spanish has been instrumental in helping the firm make a name in that community.” Mase says. Lara has risen from associate to named partner and, this past September, managing partner.
Earlier this year, Mase Lara added another experienced trial attorney, Christopher G. Lyons. While Lyons is best known for his representation of high-profile sports and entertainment clients, to better service his clients’ growing civil needs, his practice needed the support of a larger law firm. Mase Lara was a perfect fit. Lyons is now able to handle complex commercial litigation and serious personal injury cases while continuing his burgeoning white-collar criminal practice.
AV rated by Martindale Hubbell, Mase Lara has been named one of the nation’s best law firms by U.S. News and World Report for several years. Mase says, “I am proud of the work we’ve done and enthusiastic about the future of our firm.”