INTERVIEW: MIGUEL CORDANO, SHAREHOLDER, LIEBLER, GONZALEZ, AND PORTUONDO

Miguel Cordano was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and raised in Lima, Peru. When he was 19, he moved to Lexington, Kentucky and attended college at the University of Kentucky. He subsequently obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Florida International University, with a minor in English. He particularly enjoyed his English Literature and pre-law undergrad courses. Calculus and Accounting were definitely a challenge. After taking a one-year plus break from his professional education, Miguel attended the American University, Washington College of Law (WCL) in Washington, DC. During his time at WCL, he joined the law school’s Tax Clinic and The Hispanic Law Students Association. Also during that time, he was able to intern at the US Department of Commerce and the InterAmerican Development Bank, all gratifying experiences. After graduating in May of 2000, he moved to Miami where he joined a boutique real estate law firm. A year later, he joined Liebler, Gonzalez & Portuondo in Florida.

Questions:

Describe a day in the life of a Shareholder at Liebler, Gonzalez and Portuondo.

My practice encompasses the areas of banking, payment systems, commercial litigation, real estate and e-discovery. My team also serves as the “ER” for the law firm. That is, we handle matters that require emergency handling (next-day hearings, depositions, etc.). Many times, we are working on several emergencies for our clients, which require a heightened sense of urgency. For instance, we often receive escalations late in the evening, which require our client’s appearance at a hearing to face sanctions. In response, we quickly need to research and analyze facts, identify and prepare witnesses, draft responses, and engage in settlement discussions with opposing counsel. The satisfaction of our clients makes every case memorable.

What initially attracted you to this field? What are some of the rewards of this area of law and the legal profession?

I like advocating for clients. Settling a case or winning in Court are both extremely satisfying.

How would you compare the reality of your profession to the picture you had of it before entering and while in law school? Are there downsides to your field?

Before I entered the legal profession, like many of my colleagues, I envisioned the majority of my time as an attorney would be spent advocating for my clients in a courtroom. As it turns out, I spend more time sitting behind my computer than standing behind a podium. The reality of my profession is that effective advocacy often translates in trying to resolve matters in a timely, cost effective manner without having to appear in Court. Perhaps the downside of my field, is the fact that it can be hard on my family and friends as my clients’ needs can take away from my time with them. Like many of my colleagues, I have spent many late nights and weekends in the office with an emergency deadline. Fortunately, my family has provided me with their unwavering support over the years as I developed my practice area.

Do you have any advice for an undergraduate interested in pursuing this body of law and the legal profession?

I would encourage any undergraduate interested in pursuing this body of law to take a multitude of writing classes. As a lawyer, your oral arguments are important, but the ability to transcribe your ideas is really the test for success. To that end, try and take as many writing classes as offered as it is something that you will not regret down the line. I would also encourage students who are interested in the areas of finance litigation to take economic and marketing classes. To be an effective advocate for representing corporate clients, you have to understand the nuances of your client’s business and the economics behind why decisions are made on a daily basis. As an attorney, you can advise your clients on individual legal issues, but you also have to consider your client’s business goals as the legal aspect is often only a fraction of the question. Understanding my client’s long term goals, economic challenges, may often impact my analysis on the legal issues. My job is to provide my clients a framework of options, the risk of each path and let them decide the course.

Contact Information:

Miguel Cordano is happy to answer questions or offer guidance and is reachable by email at: MC@lgplaw.com.

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