Tania Williams is the Founder and Director of Programming for The Skilled Advocate Company. Tania is an experienced trial lawyer who began her legal career as an Assistant State Attorney in Orlando, FL. During her time as a prosecutor, Tania served as lead trial counsel for over 70 trials. Tania’s current practice focuses on employment litigation and appeals.
Tania has counseled clients through the EEOC process and represented clients in the litigation of harassment, discrimination and retaliation claims. As appellate counsel, Tania has briefed and/or argued appeals covering diverse issues including premises liability, automobile liability, extraordinary writs and issues of first impression regarding the interpretation of the Florida Statutes.
Prior to returning to civil practice, Tania served as a Critical Skills Instructor and adjunct faculty member at Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad College of Law. While at Nova, Tania taught students how to maximize their advocacy skills to achieve desired educational goals. Tania also served as the coach for Nova’s Black Law Student Association’s mock trial team. She successfully coached numerous teams to win regional and national competitions.
After transitioning back to civil practice, Tania continued to offer her expertise in trial advocacy by serving as an advisory board member and problem writer to the National Black Law Students Association’s Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition.
Tania has successfully completed the National Institute of Trial Advocacy’s (NITA) Advocacy Teacher Training Certification. She is a member of NITA’s Faculty for its Florida trial advocacy program. As a NITA Faculty member, Tania has taught trial advocacy skills to attorneys in all areas of practice.
Sorraya Solages-Jones is the Director of Education for The Skilled Advocate Company. She is an accomplished appellate practice and trial support attorney. Sorraya began her career as a judicial clerk at the Fourth District Court of Appeal.
From there, she handled a number of multi-million dollar cases in litigation and on appeal for national and boutique firms. Presently, Sorraya is the Owner and Managing Member of SMS|JONES LAW, PLLC where she primarily focuses on appellate law and trial support. Throughout her career, Sorraya has published articles and served on panels with an emphasis on appellate topics. She is likewise devoted to the legal community at the local, state and national levels.
Sorraya is a former President of the Dade County Bar Association Young Lawyers Section, a former Eleventh Judicial Circuit Governor for the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors, former Chair of the Florida Bar Journal/News Editorial Board, former Vice-Chair of the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Litigation Committee and former Vice-Director of its Diversity Team.
B.S., Bethune Cookman University
LaToya Robles is the Director of Operations for The Skilled Advocate Company. After receiving her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Marketing, LaToya started her career at Hewitt Associates, LLC in Orlando, FL.
During her tenure at Hewitt, LaToya held several critical roles including Business Analyst, Quality Assurance Manager, Lead Systems Analyst and Implementation Project Manager. She has maintained and managed the benefits administration for several Fortune 500 companies including the annual enrollment of employee benefits for over 12 thousand employees which accounts for millions in revenue.
As the Director of Operations, LaToya manages vendor relations and ensures that participants have a smooth and seamless on-site experience.
Y. Lisa Colon
Y. Lisa Colon is a Partner in the Fort Lauderdale office of Smith Currie & Hancock. Lisa is Board Certified in Construction Law by the Florida Bar. She is certified by the Supreme Court of Florida as a Circuit Mediator. Lisa represents owners, contractors and subcontractors, design professionals, and sureties in public and private real estate and construction matters. Lisa has experience with federal, state, and local government contracting issues including bid protests, Miller Act bonds, licensing and development agreements. Lisa is deeply immersed in matters relating to small and disadvantaged business enterprises and can assist with small business certification issues. She is a former fellow with the American Bar Association, Forum on Construction Law. She has lectured on a variety of real estate and construction industry topics.
Lisa is the General Counsel of the National Association of Minority Contractors. Lisa is a Regional Director and Board Member of Women in Construction Owners and Executives. Lisa is a charter member of the National Association of Black Women in Construction. Lisa is active in the American Bar Association Forum on Construction Law. Lisa was recognized as a Super Lawyer Rising Star in 2012.
Andrew Courtney is an Assistant State Attorney in the Felony Division for the 17th Judicial Circuit in Broward County, Florida. Andrew has prosecuted hundreds of cases involving DUI, Battery and Theft. Andrew has tried dozens of cases to verdict. Andrew’s dedication to trial advocacy began during his law school career at Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law. While a student, Andrew was appointed as the Vice President of the Nova Trial Association and competed in the Earl Zehmer Trial Competition.
Michael Hersh is proud to fight for victims injured by the negligence and misdeeds of others as part of the Kelley/Uustal team. He focuses his practice on personal injury, products liability, and wrongful death resulting from defective products, motor vehicle accidents, unsafe premises and other unforeseen circumstances. When it comes to protecting the rights of injured or wronged clients, Michael is relentless and unafraid to stand up to anyone. In recognition of his ability and passion, he was named to the List of Florida Super Lawyers® Rising Stars each year between 2014 and 2017.
After graduating magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, Michael attended the University of Florida Levin College of Law. After graduating 3rd in his law school class, Michael was admitted to the Florida Bar and began his career as a litigation associate with an international law firm. During his tenure with the firm, Michael prosecuted and defended complex commercial and consumer finance cases, representing and advising numerous Fortune 500 companies in corporate and general business disputes, employment matters, and state and federal statutory violation claims.
Since joining the Kelley/Uustal team, Michael has tried numerous cases to verdict, and has recovered many millions of dollars on behalf of his clients. In 2016, Michael was named co-lead counsel of a nationwide class of vehicle owners in a suit against an automotive manufacturer relating to approximately one million defective vehicles on the nation’s roadways. Earlier this year, Michael obtained a $23 million verdict on behalf of a client who suffered a severe traumatic brain injury after falling thirty feet to the ground. Michael remains dedicated to fighting for his clients who have been severely injured by defective products and others’ carelessness.
Phyllis W. Kotey
County Court Senior Judge
Director of the Externship and Pro Bono Program
Clinical Professor of Law
FIU College of Law
Phyllis Williams Kotey
Phyllis Williams Kotey is a senior judge and a Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Externship and Pro Bono Program at FIU College of Law. As Director of the Legal Externship Program, she has assisted students in judicial, civil and criminal placements at the local, state and national levels. She has facilitated student initiated pro bono service in Columbia, South America and around the country including New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Phyllis was selected as an FIU Top Scholar in 2014 and presently serves on the FIU faculty senate. She was selected as a Fulbright U.S. Scholar for the 2012 – 2013 academic year in Accra Ghana and conducted research in the area of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and Access to Justice. While conducting research in Ghana, she taught Comparative Constitutional Law, Ghana Legal Systems and Legal Research and Writing as a member of the Faculty of Laws at Mountcrest University College in Accra, Ghana. Prior to 2012, Phyllis served as Director of the Juvenile Justice Clinic and developed the Delinquency, Educational Advocacy and Dependency Clinics. She has taught Criminal Procedure, Children and the Law, the American Caribbean Law Initiative Seminar and Community Law Teaching (Street Law in the Miami-Dade Juvenile Detention Center).
Prior to becoming a judge, Phyllis served as an assistant state attorney specializing in capital sexual battery cases and serving as chief of the County Court Division. She has also served as the Associate Dean of the Florida Judicial College and is a faculty member for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the National Judicial College. She specializes in the area of judicial ethics, criminal procedure and trial practice.
Ashley Mitchell is an Assistant Public Defender with the Broward County Public Defender’s Office. As an Assistant Public Defender, Ashley has handled hundreds of misdemeanor and felony cases. She has been lead counsel or co-counsel in numerous jury trials for charges ranging from Domestic Violence Battery to First Degree Murder. As a law student, Ashley’s love for trials led her to compete in the National Black Law Students Association Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition and the Texas Young Lawyers Association National Trial Competition. Ashley serves her legal community by participating in the TJ Reddick Bar Association and the Broward Association for Criminal Defense Attorneys.
Molena Mompoint is a native of Miami who has dedicated her professional life to public service, using her legal talents in service of the poor. Molena is an Assistant Public Defender with the Miami Public Defender’s Office. Before beginning her position as an Assistant Public Defender, Molena worked as an Assistant State Attorney with the Broward County State Attorney’s Office for two years. She has tried numerous jury trials, including DUI and battery cases, and has handled over 1,000 criminal matters throughout her career.
Francisco (“Frank”) Ramos
Francisco (“Frank”) Ramos, Jr. is the administrative partner of the Miami litigation boutique firm of Clarke Silverglate, P.A., where he practices in the areas of personal injury defense, product liability, employment and commercial litigation. He serves on the board of the Defense Research Institute (DRI), is a member of the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC), where he served as co-chair of the Deposition Boot Camp and serves as co-chair of the Art of Marketing Seminar. He is a Past President of the Florida Defense Lawyers Association and Past Chair of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Historical Society. He has served on the boards of the Miami-Dade County Defense Bar Association, FIU Honors’ Alumni Association, FIU Alumni Association, Parent to Parent of Miami, Miami Legal Services and Florida Christian School. Frank has written five books – Go Motivate Yourself – Stop Chasing Gurus and Do the Hard Work, From Law School to Litigator, The Associates’ Handbook, Attorney Marketing 101 and Training Your Law Firm Associates. He has written over 150 articles and has edited four books – The Defense Speaks, The Trial Tactics Defense Manual, The Deposition Manual and Leadership for Lawyers.
Athena Pearl Riley
Athena Pearl Riley began her career as a prosecutor in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She continued her career as a prosecutor after moving to Northwest Florida. She has been lead counsel in numerous jury trials and has a clear understanding of the skills needed to effectively persuade a jury panel. Athena recently transitioned into civil practice with the law firm Cotton & Gates with a focus on wills, trusts, probate and real estate litigation.
At an early stage during her law school career, Athena realized she had a love for everything trial. During law school, Athena was a member of New Mexico School of Law’s National Trial Competition team, winning Regionals and advancing to Nationals. She competed in the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) Tournament of Champions, which was by invitation only, and was the recipient of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) Mock Trial Student of the Year Award. Athena continued this passion for trials by becoming an adjunct with Golden Gate School of Law as their National Trial Competition Coach.