We all enjoy practicing appellate law and delving into novel issues. We love making a difference for our clients.
The boutique appellate firm, which is celebrating its 16th anniversary this year, handles civil, administrative and criminal appeals and provides consultation to attorneys on complex litigation issues throughout the state and country.
“Our clients have usually been through the litigation process for lengthy periods of time and sometimes they are disheartened with the system,” Robin Bresky says. “When they get to the appellate court and we are able to get reversals for them it restores their faith in the system.”
An Appealing Practice
Bresky attended law school in Chicago and worked as an extern in the Cook County State Attorney’s Office, which involved criminal appeals. Upon relocating to Florida she worked as a prosecutor in Broward County. Bresky founded the appellate firm in 2000. She chose appellate law because it afforded better work-life balance and utilized her academic focus and strong writing background—she was a broadcast journalism major and worked as a freelance magazine writer during college.
For the first few years as an appellate lawyer, she practiced out of her home, balancing motherhood and career as she honed her skills. To build her practice, Bresky networked with other attorneys and became involved with legal organizations, including the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, which honored Bresky with its Appellate Law Pro Bono Award in 2006. Today, she is on the society’s board of directors. As Bresky’s reputation for excellence grew, so did her firm. It now has offices in Boca Raton, West Palm Beach and Miami, and includes several attorneys and staff members.
Attorneys Jonathan Mann and Randall Burks are senior associates with strong backgrounds in appellate law. Mann, now a board certified appellate specialist, joined the firm in 2010, bringing his experience as a judicial staff attorney with Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal. Burks, who joined the firm in 2012, previously served as an appellate attorney for two of Florida’s largest government agencies and had a solo practice in appeals and litigation support. Two of counsel attorneys, Michele Feinzig and Joanne Rose Telischi, each with more than 25 years of appellate experience, came onboard in 2011 and 2014 respectively.
Before becoming the newest member of the team, associate attorney Jeremy Dicker clerked as a career staff attorney to the Honorable Peggy A. Quince of the Florida Supreme Court. In this position, Dicker drafted bench memoranda and opinions on many civil and criminal matters before the court.
When asked what characterizes the culture of her firm, Bresky points to the team’s energy and teamwork, as well as their reputation for meticulous research and persuasive writing. “We have a lot of energy,” she says. “We are always very busy. We put our heads together and consult on things and we are able to bounce things off each other when we have academic issues to discuss. It really is a team effort to serve our clients.”
In addition to the firm’s attorneys, the team includes senior paralegal Pam Barnette and paralegal Ashleigh Stone, along with a legal assistant and office manager. Everyone does their part to ensure stellar service to clients and smooth office operations, Bresky notes.
“Any operation requires cooperation. I am proud of the way we work together in this firm to produce a quality product for our clients,” she says. “We have excellent attorneys and a staff that gets along beautifully. We are really pleased to help our clients win, which we do often.”
The firm’s style in working with clients is to keep them involved to the extent that they want to be involved, Bresky says. “The fact is that appellate practice is based on the record. We review the record and we write the briefs based on what is in the lower court record. Basically we advise clients to let us do the worrying for them,” she explains. “We say, you have been really involved in the process in the trial court all this time. Now you can sort of sit back and let us do our job. We walk them through the process, keep them informed of everything and answer their questions, but we let them know they are hiring us to do the worrying and the work for them.”
A recent success that was especially satisfying to Bresky was a hotly contested family law case making its second appearance in the Fifth District Court of Appeal. The second appeal, which Bresky worked on with Feinzig and on which they prevailed, involved depleted marital assets that were improperly included in the equitable distribution. In this second appeal, the Fifth District agreed with the client that the trial court erred because it did not reconsider the entire distribution scheme on remand from the first appeal, and had failed to follow the instructions of the earlier appellate court mandate. With the new mandate in the second appeal, the firm’s client, the former wife, will receive a proper equitable distribution.
“There was a lot at stake for the client,” Bresky says. “She has multiple sclerosis and was about to run out of money because of everything going on. She spent many years in the trial court dealing with an unfair situation. We were thrilled because she really is so deserving of this win. Now that the appellate court has made clear what needs to be done, we feel that justice has finally been served.”
Just as The Law Offices of Robin Bresky makes a difference in the lives of its clients, it also believes in making a difference in the community. All of the firm’s attorneys give back in some way, whether to the legal community or the larger community in which they live.
Community organizations that the attorneys support in various capacities include Jewish Adoption & Foster Care Options, the Boys and Girls Clubs, Broward County Public Schools, the Anti-Defamation League and others.
Bresky admits that the work she does with legal organizations takes up a lot of her time. In addition to her work on the board of the Legal Aid Society, she served as the president of the approximately 3,000 member Florida Association for Women Lawyers in 2015. Her one-year term ended in June. “It has been an interesting and challenging experience, and a rewarding one,” she says. “I have been able to travel all over the state to meet women in various chapters and have been fortunate to have an ex-officio seat on The Florida Bar’s board of governors.” She also served state FAWL for many years in various positions including journal editor, treasurer and legislative director.
Bresky left the board of the South Palm Beach County Bar Association following 13 years of service but notes that Jonathan Mann has joined the board of directors for the young lawyers’ division of the association, so the firm will still hold a leadership role with that organization.
“It is fulfilling to work with like-minded attorneys who want to make the legal profession the best it can be and are in this profession for the right reasons,” she says. “They are hardworking, ethical attorneys who want to make a good name for our profession.
“I think we are pretty well known and we have a good reputation,” Bresky continues. “I would like to keep increasing our reputation around the state and beyond. I want us to continue to grow and serve our clients. We all enjoy practicing appellate law and delving into novel issues. We love making a difference for our clients.”