Giselle Gutierrez, President

Giselle Gutierrez is a Shareholder in Stearns Weaver Miller’s Labor & Employment and Litigation Departments in Miami. Since earning her J.D. from the University of Florida in 2012, Giselle has demonstrated a continued commitment to the development of Florida’s legal community, to giving back to the community at large, and to advancing UF.

In 2023, Giselle will serve as President of the Cuban American Bar Association (CABA), a culmination of her 10+ years of service to CABA, continuing to achieve its mission of equality and diversity in the law. In 2022, Giselle served as President of CABA’s Pro Bono Legal Services Board, which passionately provides pro bono representation that changes lives of children and individuals who cannot afford legal advocacy with programs for veterans, human trafficking victims, unaccompanied minors, and more.

Giselle serves on UF’s Law Alumni Council, actively supporting alumni engagement, campus outreach, and fundraising. She’s presented for several years at Judge Paul C. Huck’s Navigator Program for law students. Meaningfully mentoring others through UF connections and CABA is a hallmark of Giselle’s life’s work.

From 2018-2023, Giselle served as a Governor on Florida Bar’s Young Lawyer Division Board of Governors, earning the “2022 Most Productive Board Member” Award.

She’s consistently ranked by leading publications: Best Lawyers:Ones To Watch in America, South Florida Legal Guide’s Top Up and Comers, Florida Trend’s Florida Legal Elite, and Florida Super Lawyers.

Giselle is a dedicated and proud new mom and a triathlete, completing one 70.3 triathlon and several sprint/Olympic distance triathlons.

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Miriam Soler Ramos, Immediate Past President

Miriam Soler Ramos is a real estate attorney in Holland & Knight’s Miami office. Ms. Ramos focuses her practice on land use and zoning, administrative law, procurement, state and local government ethics compliance and defense, and internal investigations. She has practiced for more than 20 years in government, including nine in local government ethics and eight in municipal government. Ms. Ramos is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in City, County and Local Government Law.

Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Ms. Ramos served as city attorney for the City of Coral Gables, Florida, serving as the chief legal officer and general counsel for the city, as well as counsel to the city commission, quasi-judicial boards, city officials and city departments, providing legal opinions and interpretations on behalf of the city and supervising the city attorney’s office and outside counsel.

Miriam earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Miami, and her J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law.

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Javier A. Ley-Soto, President-Elect

Seasoned general counsel with almost 10 years’ experience managing cases on behalf of large public entities. Strong advocate and advisor to agency leaders and staff with expertise in budget management, handling various aspects of litigation in both state and federal court and overseeing general counsel functions and transactional matters as well as providing effective agency representation and legal solutions.

Amanda Fernandez, Vice President

Amanda L. Fernandez is an experienced commercial litigator that focuses her practice on complex business matters, securities litigation, and cross-border disputes. She represents foreign and domestic clients across a multitude of industries. She understands her clients come to her when the stakes are high and aggressively defends claims brought against them or pursues claims on their behalf.

Not only does Amanda obtain exceptional results for her clients, but she is also actively engaged in her community. Amanda is the Vice President of the Cuban American Bar Association (CABA), the largest voluntary bar association in Miami-Dade. She is also active in The Florida Bar Business Law Section and is a Past Chair of the Business Litigation Committee and the Uniform Commercial Real Estate Receivership Act Task Force. Amanda is also a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Academy (OLLA) Law Alumni Association and has served as a coach for OLLA’s mock trial team.

Amanda received her law degree from Villanova University School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a Minor in History with honors from Florida International University.

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Jordi Martinez-Cid, Treasurer

Jordi Martínez-Cid is a partner at León Cosgrove LLP where he handles all manner of complex commercial litigation and arbitration.  A graduate of Yale Law School and the University of Michigan, Mr. Martínez-Cid clerked for the Honorable Federico A. Moreno in the Southern District of Florida and also spent time in-house with NBCUniversal and Telemundo, where oversaw a broad range of both domestic and international litigation matters.

Haydee Sera, Secretary

Haydee Sera represents municipalities on a broad range of issues such as contracts, elections, ethics, public records, procurement, and sunshine law compliance. In that capacity, Haydee drafts and reviews proposed legislation, resolutions, and agreements on a variety of matters, always with an understanding of the broader implications of her clients’ interests. Haydee also provides counsel to elected officials on legal matters, including compliance with state and local ethics laws.

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Amanda Demanda, Director

Amanda Demanda is the Founding Attorney of the Amanda Demanda Law Group—a law firm focused on representing people injured due to the negligence or unsafe practices of others. Amanda D. prides herself on being the people’s attorney that fights for those who have been wronged, and she founded her law firm with the mission of providing not only legal services but also community betterment. Aside from her work in the courthouse, Amanda D. gives of her time, energy, and resources to make others’ lives better—she is a true community philanthropist. Helping her community is her life’s work.

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Augusto Perera, Director

Augusto Perera, ESQ. is an active member of the Florida Bar and admitted to practice before the United States District Court Southern District of Florida and the Court of Appeals for Federal Circuit. Attended Shepard Broad College of Law and received his Juris Doctor degree in 2014. Dedicated exclusively to intellectual property matters, specializing in trademark, copyright, licensing, and Internet Law, with a focus on new business development.

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Candice Balmori, Director

Candice Balmori is a municipal attorney with the law firm of Weiss Serota Helfman Cole + Bierman where she counsels municipalities on a broad array of matters that include contract review and drafting, sunshine and ethics laws, the tracking of legislation, review of resolutions and ordinances, and the review and preparation of government contracts.

As a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator, Candice is formally trained with an alternate dispute resolution skill set that she effectively applies to her practice.  Additionally, Candice’s prior practice areas have included commercial litigation matters as well as a variety of corporate-related matters and probate matters.

Candice holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, as well as a Juris Doctor and Certificate in International Law and Comparative Law from Tulane University Law School.

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Daniel Buigas, Director

Daniel Buigas is an associate attorney at Lamelas Law, P.A. His practice is focused on handling commercial litigation matters in the state and federal courts based in Florida. He works on a wide variety of commercial issues, commonly representing business owners in real estate, employment, telecommunications, and corporate controversies.

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Diana Arteaga, Director

Diana Arteaga has been involved in CABA for many years. She is the Chair of CABA Briefs and an active member of the CABA on Cuba Committee where she has worked collaboratively on projects amplifying the voices of the Cuban people after the July 11th protests as well as updates to CABA’s report to the OAS on behalf of Oscar Elias Biscet and 75 other Cuban dissidents. In September 2019, she was recognized as CABA’s member of the year. While at FIU Law, she participated in the mentorship program and was awarded CABA’s Mario P. Goderich scholarship

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Emily Balter, Director

Emily is an associate attorney at Bercow Radell Fernandez Larkin & Tapanes. As a Miami native, Emily is passionate about her home town and has focused her legal practice on land use, zoning, and environmental matters throughout Miami-Dade County.

In law school, she focused on oral advocacy and local government law. Emily volunteered for the University of Miami School of Law Environmental Justice Clinic, which exposed her to Miami’s unique landscape and politics. Pursuing her interests, she served as a Summer Public Interest Fellow with the City of Miami Beach City Attorney’s Office.  Emily was a judicial intern with the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in the Honorable Adalberto Jordan’s chambers.

In the legal community, Emily currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Cuban American Bar Association (“CABA”).  She is also the Editor in Chief of CABA Briefs, which is a digital and print publication that highlights important legal issues and community leaders.  CABA’s leadership and members have recognized Emily’s consistent dedication to the organization in 2019 with the Outstanding Committee Member Award, in 2020 with the Young Lawyer Member of the Year Award, and in 2021 with the Outstanding Member Award.

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Gustavo Ceballos, Director

Gustavo J. Ceballos is an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Coral Gables. In this role, he assists the City Attorney and provides legal counsel to city departments with a concentration on land use and development services. He has held this role since 2018.

Prior to joining the City, Ceballos served as an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Fort Lauderdale beginning in 2016. In this capacity, he was the lead attorney for all land use and zoning matters and served as counsel for the Planning and Zoning and Historic Preservation Boards. Additionally, he also served as a hearing officer and special magistrate for other South Florida municipalities. He previously worked at Greenburg Traurig Miami office in their Land Use and Zoning Group.

Ceballos earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Florida International University and a Juris Doctor from St. Thomas University School of Law. He is a member of the Dade County Bar Association, Cuban American Bar Association, and Belen Alumni Lawyers Section.

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Patrick Montoya, Director

Partner Patrick Montoya is a lawyer with experience in complex and high-profile litigation. His career philosophy—his continued ambition—is to “Be the lawyer you want for yourself.” Mr. Montoya remains committed to ardently defending his clients and protecting their rights, but nonetheless, he also prioritizes a one-on-one relationship with each person he represents. 

With over two decades of experience in practicing law, Mr. Montoya brings his skill and knowledge to Milberg’s team. Meanwhile, Mr. Montoya’s expertise also includes class action and commercial litigation, products liability, personal injury litigation, aviation law, construction law, and toxic torts. 

In the world of academia, Mr. Montoya has taught at the University of Miami’s Paralegal Program, undergraduate business law, and was a legal research and writing instructor at the University of Miami School of Law. He is also a frequent lecturer for CLEs and authored a book on Florida Evidence and Procedure for ALM Publishing. Mr. Montoya also served as Co-Chair of the Davidson College Alumni Chapter representing the South Florida Region. 

Mr. Montoya then went on to complete his law degree at the University of Miami School of Law, graduating cum laude. While there, he was a member of the Inter-American Law Review and the University of Miami Moot Court Board. 

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Fabian Ruiz, Director

Fabian Ruiz focuses his practice on representing domestic and foreign business, and their executives, in commercial disputes and in the defense of complex labor and employment matters.  This includes litigating complex contractual matters, high-stakes trade secret, non-compete, and unfair competition matters, and defending against whistleblower, wage and hour, and other employment-related claims.

In the employment context, Fabian has experience representing employers and executives in both unionized and union-free environments. He has obtained successful resolutions on behalf of his clients in single plaintiff, multi-plaintiff, and class and collective actions in both state and federal courts, and has also represented clients before federal, state, and local administrative agencies including the Department of Labor, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Florida Commission on Human Rights, and the Miami-Dade Commission on Human Rights. Additionally, Fabian has successfully arbitrated public and private sector labor and employment matters from inception to complete dismissal, including in the media, finance, healthcare, restaurant, food and grocery retail, and construction industries.

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