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Glen H Waldman

Glen H Waldman

Waldman Barnett, P.L.3250 Mary Street, Suite 102Coconut GroveFloridaUSA33133

Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Glen Waldman ranks highly among peers for his superb work representing clients in high-value construction and real estate disputes.

Questions & Answers

Over more than three decades of litigation practice, Glen H Waldman has secured multimillion-dollar verdicts and defended claims of equal size in business, commercial, construction, land use and probate disputes. As the Best Lawyers 2020 “Lawyer of the Year” for litigation – construction in Miami, he excels at managing the complexity and scope of his cases; ones usually reserved for larger firms. Glen is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates and a fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.

What qualities make for an effective trial lawyer?

Confidence; poise; intuition; presence; the ability to communicate effectively with jurors at their level; passion; organisation; knowing your facts; and strong cross-examination skills. Everything that is done in front of a jury is under a microscope and you are always being judged, so you must look and talk the part.

What did you enjoy most about establishing your own firm?

Three things. One, the ability to take the cases I want at whatever rate structure I favour. Two, the ability to make a decision on the spot and then execute it without discussion or red tape. And, three, the ability to create a firm environment and set an example for our team that I always wanted when I worked for others, filled with a commitment to each team member, steeped in caring and family and community first. I want them to come to work every day happy to be there and ready to go, knowing we always have their backs.

What has been your most memorable case to date?

Two come to mind.

In the mid-1990s, when I was a young lawyer, I was hired to represent CEL, the El Salvadorean government-controlled power and light company. During the nation’s civil war in the 1980s, rebels had destroyed many power stations to turn the citizenry against the government. When the war ended, the government needed to rebuild them. One was in Acajutla, where CEL had contracted with General Electric (GE) for three combustion turbines and hired Black & Veatch (B&V) as project engineer. Within a year of completing the US$20 million project, all three combustion turbines failed. GE and B&V blamed the El Salvadoreans who were running the plant, inferring they were third-world operators. The GE case went to an International Chamber of Commerce arbitration. On the other side was a large firm out of Washington and New York. I had my five-person firm and no clue how a combustion turbine worked. I travelled to El Salvador, where we spoke with the Acajutla team mostly in Spanish – not my best language – and learned about the plant. I assembled a team of experts to make up for my lack of expertise, and put together a fantastic set of demonstratives and a plan of attack to show that GE and B&V were culpable for the failure. GE was very confident, but didn’t have the bench that I did and we rolled over them at the nine-day hearing. Every morning I kissed my pregnant wife’s stomach – the birth was imminent – and asked for a few more days to get through this trial. We routed GE, ultimately received an award of over $13 million, and two days later my beautiful daughter was born.

In late 2018, we were asked to evaluate a lawsuit that one of the Big Three Michigan automakers brought against the company that assembled and tested parts of one of its engines. In 2014, some moving vehicles started to experience intermittent stalling. Ultimately the automaker had to recall 88,000 vehicles at a cost of over $20 million. The automaker sued my client, claiming our faulty testing apparatus led to a sporadic loss of electrical connectivity, so we were responsible for the recall costs. A non-binding arbitration panel agreed and concluded my client should pay at least $12 million. I was called in to determine whether the case was winnable. If the company lost, it might have to pay a crippling $30 million. Again, though I had very limited expertise, I concluded it was winnable and was chosen as lead trial counsel. The trial ran from Monday 12 August to Friday 13 September. Counsel for the automaker was formidable. I opened, closed, picked the jury and handled virtually every key witness. I made several crucial strategic decisions, some risky. The jury was out two hours and found no liability for my client, leaving the automaker with a big goose egg. We are awaiting an award of attorney’s fees in the millions and the case is on appeal. The best Friday the 13th ever!

What advice would you give younger lawyers looking to specialise in litigation?

This is a gruelling area of the law. If you want to be good you really have to work at it. You have to find a place where you can get yourself into court often. Believe in yourself – you will get your butt kicked at first. Trust your gut, and watch and learn from other really good lawyers. Show up every day, on time and ready to roll. Be patient – it takes years to become really good at this, if you get there at all. However, if you do get there and a jury awards you north of $20 million (like they have for me twice in the last few years) or zeroes when you’re on defence, the feeling is incomparable.

Global Leader

Litigation 2019

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Glen Waldman ranks highly among peers for his superb work representing clients in high-value construction and real estate disputes.

Biography

For more than 30 years, Glen H Waldman has secured multimillion-dollar verdicts and pursued claims of equal size in business, commercial, construction, land-use and probate disputes. The complexity and scope of the disputes with which he excels are usually reserved for larger firms. 

His work was recently underscored by clients and peers who selected him as litigation-construction "Lawyer of the Year" in Best Lawyers 2020. He’s noted as an accomplished commercial litigator with strong experience in complex cross-border disputes. Consequently, he is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) and a fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.

In 2019, Chambers USA recognised him as a "highly competent lawyer," who "brings a unique sense of pragmatism". Most recently, Glen and his firm successfully won a trial in a protracted legal battle over a historic building in Brickell building in Miami, FL.

Additionally, Glen’s wide-ranging arbitration experience, following International Chamber of Commerce and American Association of Arbitration rules, includes numerous international awards in the multimillion-dollar range.

In 2017, Glen co-founded Waldman Barnett, PL, with litigator Eleanor Barnett, to establish a boutique firm with a focus on complex commercial litigation. The firm’s partners and associates, all with big-firm backgrounds, manage cases in the areas of real estate and development, land-use trust-and-estate contests, corporate governance and dissolution actions, copyright and trademark disputes, fraud and unlawful trade, insurance claims, construction litigation, entrepreneurial initiatives, employment litigation, and contract disputes. Waldman Barnett was also recognized as a notable firm in Chambers USA 2018.

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