Former Florida state Senator Dan Gelber, who lost a bid for Florida attorney general in 2010, has formed a new firm with Adam Schachter and Gerald Greenberg from Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson.
The firm, which will specialize in complex civil litigation and white-collar criminal defense, opened for business last week in downtown Miami.
"I've done the big firm thing, and I enjoyed it, but I really look forward to practicing in a collegial setting with people I respect and love to work with," Gelber said. "I looked at medium firms and large firms but ultimately decided I wanted to work in a small setting."
Schachter and Greenberg said they decided to leave Stearns Weaver not out of dissatisfaction but out of a desire to start their own law firm.
"We always had an interest in starting our own firm and practice law in a lean, close-knit environment," said Greenberg, son of former Miami-Dade County Attorney Murray Greenberg and brother of Assistant U.S. Attorney Ben Greenberg.
Schachter said, "It was a tough decision, but it's been incredibly gratifying to take control of our careers."
Some clients followed the two, but not BankAtlantic Bancorp. Schachter helped argue for the bank in a shareholder class action against the Fort Lauderdale-based bank holding company. BankAtlantic lost a jury verdict, which was set aside by U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro.
They hope to get referrals from their former law firm.
The lawyers are the latest in a recent string of partners at large law firms who are leaving to start their own firms in South Florida. Three lawyers recently left White & Case's Miami office to launch their own firm.
Gelber, a Democrat, was at Akerman Senterfitt from 2005 to 2010 and left after the Daily Business Review raised questions about whether his position raised a conflict in his run for attorney general after BP PLC hired Akerman to represent it in oil spill claims.