The faster you can become known as the go-to specialist, the more likely potential clients will seek you out than you having to seek them out.
Todd Levine is a founding member at Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine, P.L., and an attorney with experience in several types of complex business disputes. With a strong focus on commercial real estate litigation, he regularly represents real estate brokers, property managers, buyers and sellers, investors, contractors and more in disputes dealing with commercial real estate projects and transactions. Having handled disputes in sports and entertainment, he has also managed many cases closely associated with investment partnerships and finance arrangements.
As a musician who enjoys art and science outside of his practice, Levine utilizes his unique creative and analytical skills to provide a winning strategy to his clients.
He graduated from the University of Florida in 1988 with a Bachelors in Finance. He later studied law at the Florida Levin College of Law, where he finished in 1991.
Levine has helped him to earn the Best Lawyer Award for Real Estate Litigation by the US News and World Report in 2018. He has also been noted in Super Lawyers Business Review, Florida Trend Magazine, the Daily Business Review, and the South Florida Business Journal for his wide array of accomplishments.
His dedication to his clients and diagnostic skills have led to his success.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
My specialty in complex commercial litigation grew out of my natural ability to simplify the intricate. Early in my career, I was put on a very complex case, and discovered that I had a knack for litigating. Specifically, reframing issues and arguments to make them easier for a judge or jury to understand. That case ended up settling in our favor, and I kept seeking out complex matters to take on. As I have had more success in the courtroom, I’ve had the privilege to have numerous clients refer other matters to me.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
When you are a complex commercial litigator, no day is typical. One day I could be in trial in Fort Lauderdale, the next I could be taking a deposition in West Palm Beach, and another meeting with clients in Miami. To stay productive, I try to utilize all of my available time. This often means taking calls while I travel across the tri-county region.
As meeting deadlines are critical in litigation, I also make sure I look ahead to the upcoming days, weeks and month to make sure I prioritize my work properly. From there I make a series of to-do lists to ensure I tackle each and every individual task that is priority, so all of my clients receive the service they expect.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Every piece of litigation is different with its own unique set of facts and evidence. However, I have found that the best way to spur creativity in the legal world is to have in-depth knowledge about your case and the law, and then boil down the key issues to its simplest form. It is important to understand – whether you are making arguments in front of a judge, jury or arbitrator – that at the end of the day, they are humans and the more you can keep it simple the better chance you have to succeed.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Always be prepared. Preparation is the key to success for any complex commercial litigator. Being thoroughly prepared allows a litigator to be able to rebut and address any counter argument the opposing counsel may make. It also allows attorneys to better manage their priorities and meet client expectations.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Become known for being the best in a particular practice area. Find a specialty that you love and quickly go about developing your practice. The faster you can become known as the go-to specialist, the more likely potential clients will seek you out than you having to seek them out.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
As part of my preparation, I always prepare an outline of any brief or written argument before committing them to paper. Preparing an outline allows me to organize my thoughts and ensures that I present them in a clear, concise, simple and logical matter. An outline also allows me to more clearly see any potential holes in my arguments and enables me to proactively address them in my briefs.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I believe in letting my work stand for itself. I have built my practice by doing the best job possible by being responsive to my clients and having success in the courtroom. I believe in being very attentive with clients as they are the lifeblood of any legal business, but also because I truly care about my clients and their cases. I respond to any inquiries from a client within 24 hours, if not sooner. By living by this client-first philosophy, I have been able to build my practice mainly through client referrals.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Part of being a litigator means expecting the unexpected. When I was a very young lawyer I did not appreciate this as much, and I did not consider all of the possibilities before engaging in legal arguments. I learned to forecast the many routes a case or argument can take, and plan ahead for the various possibilities clients.. As a result, I have been able to think better on my feet, and quickly develop creative solutions to help my
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently bought my younger son new equipment for his stage piano. I’m an avid musician myself – having played the guitar since I was 10 – and have been fortunate to share that enthusiasm with my sons, who are both talented muscians. I enjoy helping my children pursue their artistic expression and spurring their creativity.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
We use many different kinds of software and internet services at Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen, and Levine P.L. Among these, Westlaw and Eclipse have dramatically improved our lawyers’ efficiency and productivity. Westlaw allows litigators to effectively find relevant case law in state, federal and international courts, enabling lawyers to effectively analyze issues. Eclipse allows attorneys to better manage a large amount of document-based evidence, by creating a searchable database. Before these tools were available, it took litigators weeks or even months to go through the relevant precedent and numerous documents in a case. Further the attorney might only view a document once or twice before going to trial. Lawyers can now comb through documents more efficiently and have more intimate knowledge of their contents. Moreover, the latest version of Westlaw is very user friendly and enables litigators to more efficiently locate and analyze necessary legal precedent.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. Its theme of individual vs. collectivism remain relevant to the modern world. Those themes have influenced my legal practice as I believe characteristics of individualism help spur creativity and out-of-the-box which are essential for litigation success.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.