Florida's Children First

Howard M. Talenfeld, Esq. – President

  Howard Talenfeld is one of America’s leading children’s rights, injury, and child disability attorneys representing the needs of abused and neglected children, especially in cases of foster child abuse, child sexual abuse, child rape, and other harm and abuse of children in the child welfare system. His work has resulted in multimillion dollar damage […]

Laura Reich, Esq. – Vice President

Laura Reich is a commercial litigator and a founding partner of Reich Rodriguez, P.A.  With a practice focusing on complex, commercial disputes and arbitration, Laura represents clients in state and federal courts, as well as before arbitration panels, at both the trial and appellate court levels.  Laura is also a neutral (i.e., an arbitrator) on […]

Gerald Reiss, CPA – Treasurer

Gerald Reiss (Jerry) is currently a CPA for Goldstein Schechter Koch in Hollywood, Florida. He joined the firm as a Shareholder in 1988. His areas of practice include general tax, business and financial consulting. He serves professional practices including attorneys, physicians, engineers, architects, real estate developers and contractors. Jerry earned a Bachelor’s degree in economics […]

Nathan Cook – Secretary

As the former Chief of Staff to two of Florida’s most well-known legislators, Nathan has had a hand in crafting many of the past decade’s largest pieces of legislation.  He has a penchant for policies that solve community problems, with special expertise in environmental issues and economic development.  Over his tenure with the legislature, Nathan […]

Rosemary Armstrong, Esq.

Rosemary Armstrong is a graduate of the University of Washington and the Columbia School of Law. She was  the 2012 recipient of the statewide Tobias Simon Pro Bono Service Award. As a founder of Crossroads For Florida Kids, Inc., Ms. Rosemary Armstrong has chosen to focus her pro bono efforts on the legal needs of […]

Theodore Babbitt, Esq.

Babbitt & Johnson P.A. A prominent West Palm Beach trial lawyer, Ted Babbitt has won more than lawsuits over the past four decades. He’s won accolades and esteem.   He served as trial lawyer and co-counsel in the statewide foster care class action, Bonnie L. v. Bush, which challenges the poor systemic conditions in Florida’s child […]

Dick J. Batchelor

Named one of “The 50 Most Powerful People” by Orlando Magazine (2005 and 2004), the 2003 “Central Floridian of the Year” (The Orlando Sentinel) and the 2002 “Businessman of the Year” (Orlando Business Journal, November 2002), Dick Batchelor is a longtime Orlando resident who received degrees from the University of Central Florida and Valencia Community […]

Debbie Dickinson, Esq.

Debbie Dickinson received her B.A. in Accounting (summa cum laude) from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and her J.D. from Harvard Law School.  She practiced Employee Benefits, Employment and Labor law in Atlanta at Fisher & Phillips, LLP.  She lectures in the Wharton MBA Program as an Adjunct Professor and […]

Jesse H. Diner, Esq.

Jesse H. Diner is known as a “litigator’s litigator” for his deep knowledge of civil law and trial procedure.  He focuses his practice on resolving commercial disputes. During a career that spans more than 38 years, Diner has advised and represented clients in a wide range of business matters, including real estate, probate, financial and […]

Richard A. Filson, Esq.

Filson & Penge, P.A. Sarasota, Florida   Richard A. Filson is the founder and managing shareholder of the firm Filson & Penge, P.A., located in Sarasota, Florida. Mr. Filson received his B.B.A. from Stetson University in 1981 and his J.D. from the University of Florida in 1984. Mr. Filson is a member of The Florida […]

Michael Higer, Esq.

Michael J. Higer is a Partner of Berger Singerman’s Dispute Resolution Team and is an experienced litigator and trial lawyer who has devoted his practice to commercial litigation and civil trial work involving a wide variety of matters. Michael is the Immediate Past President of The Florida Bar. He is A/V rated by Martindale Hubbell®, the highest available rating. The Best […]

Alan Levine, Esq.

Alan S. Levine is a civil and criminal attorney with 20 years of experience in prosecuting and defending the legal rights of clients. Mr. Levine has extensive trial litigation experience handling nursing home abuse, wrongful death, personal injury, and criminal matters. Much of his legal work with ARLS is focused on obtaining court ordered drug and […]

Carlos Martinez, Esq.

Chief Assistant Public Defender Miami-Dade, Florida Carlos J. Martinez is the Chief Assistant Public Defender for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida (Miami-Dade County). Mr. Martinez has more than 15 years management experience in the private and public sector. He has also been a trial attorney in Miami-Dade, Florida and Bellingham, Washington, and was an administrator […]

Bruce Maxwell, Esq.

Currently an attorney at Terrell Hogan, Bruce Maxwell started his career in Georgia. He has been active in the Jacksonville legal community and is a member of numerous associations and boards. Bruce is very active in the Jacksonville community, including Host Committee involvement and other participation with Florida’s Children First. He has been a Special […]

Todd R. McPharlin, Esq.

Todd McPharlin is committed to the representation of those injured by reckless drivers, automotive manufacturers, medical device and pharmaceutical companies, tobacco companies, HMOs and insurance companies. Additional areas of practice include negligent security, unsafe and dangerous workplaces, defective construction equipment, medical malpractice and insurance coverage disputes. Todd began his professional career as an Assistant State […]

Edith Osman, Esq.

Edith Osman received her BA from the State University of New York, and her JD from the University of Miami School of Law. She practices law in Miami in the areas of business litigation, matrimonial law, and mediation. She has significant experience representing clients in dissolution of marriage proceedings, post-divorce modifications and enforcement, child custody, […]

Bernard P. Perlmutter, Esq.

University of Miami School of Law – Children & Youth Law Clinic Miami, Florida Bernard P. Perlmutter is Associate Professor of Clinical Legal Education and Director of the Children & Youth Law Clinic, an in-house legal clinic at the University of Miami School of Law. In addition to his teaching duties at the Clinic, Professor […]

John Jacob Schickel, Esq

Jake Schickel, partner in Jacksonville with the law firm of  Coker, Myers, Schickel, Sorenson & Green, P.A.  He attended the University of Florida and received a BA & JD.  He is a member of UF Hall of Fame and a career letter winner. Professionally he is a board certified civil trial lawyer and workers’ compensation.  […]

Richard Schwamm, Esq.

Richard B. Schwamm, partner and shareholder of Haliczer Pettis & Schwamm’s Orlando office, is an experienced trial attorney who focuses his practice in the areas of medical malpractice, catastrophic brain injury, personal injury, premises liability, wrongful death and complex corporate litigation. He earned Martindale-Hubbell’s top “AV” rating for his high professional and ethical standards. Mr. […]

Richard Slawson, Esq.

Richard Slawson has earned a reputation as one of Florida’s premier Insurance Bad Faith civil trial attorneys.  He has been assisting victims of insurance abuse and personal injury for more than 35 years.  Richard has obtained numerous multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for his clients. The Florida Justice Association (FJA) has recognized Richard with all […]

Julie Silver Talenfeld

Boardroom Communications Plantation, Florida The founder and president of Boardroom Communications, Julie Silver Talenfeld is known for her creativity and superior client service. Prior to establishing Boardroom, she was founder and executive producer of Florida’s first statewide business radio network, syndicated on 30 stations. Julie also served on CNN’s national assignment desk and was a […]

Jennifer Voss, Esq.

Jennifer Voss is a practicing partner with Shook Hardy & Bacon in Tampa, Florida. With significant experience in all stages of litigation, she has successfully represented clients in both bench and jury trials, and on appeal. She has particular knowledge in proposals for settlement and excluding expert witnesses. In the last few years, Jennifer has […]

Christina A. Zawisza, Esq. – Director Emeritus

University of Memphis School of Law Memphis, Tennessee Co-founder of Children First and counsel in Bonnie L., M. E. v. Bush, and Lofton v. Kearney, now Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Child Advocacy Clinic at the University of Memphis School of Law.

Gloria W. Fletcher, Esq. – In Memoriam

Gloria Fletcher Gloria Fletcher is in private practice in Gainesville Florida. Throughout her legal career, Gloria has taken a special interest in children’s issues. Currently, she is serving on the ABA Bar youth Empowerment Project, Florida Advisory Committee. Long active in her local community, she is a Director of Alarion Bank; is serving her second […]


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