Miami Dade Trial Lawyers Association's Judicial Reception
A Night of Recognition
The MDTLA has a longstanding tradition of recognizing outstanding professionals in the legal field, and this year's event was no exception. The grandeur of the evening was only rivaled by the sheer magnitude of talent and dedication that graced the event venue. The night started with a heartfelt welcome by MDTLA’s President Rochelle Wimbush.
Honoring Judge Barbara Areces: A Dedication to Justice
Bobby Nuñez, MDTLA’s Treasurer, presented Judge Barbara Areces with the Judge Manny Crespo award. Judge Areces currently sits on the bench of our 11th Judicial Circuit Court, but prior to being elected to the bench in 2004, Judge Areces worked as an attorney in private practice for nearly 2 decades. A distinctive trait that without a doubt allows her to bring a practical approach to the courtroom—something that arises not from mere legal expertise but from a personal journey that has shaped her as a jurist. During her acceptance speech, Judge Areces humbly expressed her appreciation for being able to serve her community by recounting that every day she goes to work and sees her name above the judge's bench, she still feels a sense of wonder and gratitude for her position.
Honoring Judge David C. Miller: A Pillar of Legal Excellence
Pedro Echarte III, MDTLA’s President-Elect, presented Judge David C. Miller with the Judge Steve Levine award. Judge Miller embodies the spirit of a legal system that strives to be both compassionate and impartial—a system that understands the complexities of human experience. His impartiality and integrity have inspired confidence in our justice system, ensuring that all who come before him are treated with fairness and respect. In his heartfelt speech, Judge Miller credited his success and real-world approach to justice to his judicial staff: Judicial Assistant Barbara Gener, Bailiff Bruce Hurwitch, and Court Clerk Juan Le Blanc.
Honoring Judge Bertila Soto: A Trailblazer in the Legal Community
Attorney Amanda Demanda, MDTLA’s Secretary and the Chair of the Judicial Committee, presented the Honorable Bertila Soto with the Justice Harry Lee Anstead Award. Judge Soto has surely earned her place in the spotlight as a trailblazer in the legal community. As the first Hispanic and first female to serve as the Chief Judge in Miami-Dade County, she shattered glass ceilings and inspired countless others to follow in her footsteps. Her commitment to upholding the principles of justice and her unwavering dedication to a fair legal system have earned her the respect and admiration of her peers and the community at large. During her acceptance speech, in her characteristically humble manner, Judge Soto emphasized that the foundation of the legal system lies with the attorneys rather than the judges, and shared her hope for a future where opportunities are open to all.
A Night to Remember
Attorney Amanda Demanda concluded the program by offering inspiring insights, reminding all that the weight of our judges' responsibilities should not only be recognized on occasions like this one, but instead every day. The MDTLA's commitment to recognizing excellence ensures that the legal community continues to thrive, and the torch of justice burns brightly in Miami. The September 14th, 2023, Judicial Reception will undoubtedly be remembered as a momentous occasion in the Miami legal calendar – a night when the legal community came together to honor, celebrate, and inspire.