Officers 2016-2017

Rebecca Ocariz, Esq.
President

Rebecca Ocariz is a partner at Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP, focusing her practice on product liability and commercial litigation. She has extensive experience defending pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers. Rebecca represented Bausch & Lomb in the Renu® contact lens solution litigation, represented Pfizer in the hormone replacement therapy litigation and represented Boston Scientific in its pelvic mesh litigation. Additionally, she represented Hoffmann-La Roche in litigation involving Accutane® and also represented Stryker in the Rejuvenate® litigation. Before joining the firm, Rebecca served as senior litigation counsel for a generic pharmaceutical company where she oversaw national and international litigation. Rebecca has served as MDFAWL’s President-Elect, Secretary, Treasurer, as a Director, and as a Committee Chair. Rebecca received MDFAWL’s President Award in 2012 and 2015. She is a graduate of Class II of the Florida Bar’s Leadership Academy and a recipient of the FAWL Leader in the Law award. Rebecca has been recognized by The Legal 500.

Katie S. Phang, Esq.
President-Elect

Katie S. Phang is a Partner on Berger Singerman’s Dispute Resolution Team, where she represents a diverse group of clients in complex commercial and real estate litigation, marital law, and white collar/compliance matters. She has more than 16 years of trial experience in state and federal courts. As a former prosecutor and private practitioner, she has tried dozens of jury and bench trials throughout Florida, several of which as Lead Trial Counsel.

AV-Preeminent rated in Litigation, Bankruptcy, Family Law, and Criminal Law, Katie has been recognized several times as a Top Lawyer in Corporate and Business Law by the South Florida Legal Guide and Florida Trend’s Legal Elite, as a Florida Super Lawyer in Business Litigation, and as a Rising Star by American Lawyer Media/Daily Business Review and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s 40 Under 40 Outstanding Lawyers of South Florida. In 2014, Katie was honored by the State Florida Association for Women Lawyers (FAWL) as a “Leader in the Law”, and currently serves as President-Elect of Miami-Dade FAWL for 2016-2017. She has served as the Chair of a Florida Bar Grievance Committee and on the Board of Directors for the Dade County Bar Association. Katie is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Miami School of Law’s Litigation Skills Program, the Vice-President of the Executive Board of Suited for Success/Dress for Success Miami, and the Advisory Board Chair for the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial High School. She also is the Vice-Chair of the City of Miami Beach’s Design Review Board.

The legal panelist for “On the Record w/ Greta Van Susteren” on Fox News, and for Fox Business Network’s “Varney & Co.” and “Mornings with Maria”, Katie frequently comments on the hottest, trending legal issues and cases. She also appears on other national TV and radio outlets, including NPR and WMAL, and for local TV programming such as WPLG/Ch. 10’s “This Week in South Florida” and CBS4.

Lara Bueso Bach, Esq.
Secretary

Lara Bueso Bach is an associate at Weil, Gotshal & Manges and a member of the firm’s Complex Commercial Litigation practice group. Ms. Bach has substantial commercial litigation experience in the defense of multidistrict litigations and has worked on a broad range of commercial disputes in the areas of product liability, bankruptcy, wrongful death, business torts, and contractual disputes, in both the state and federal systems. Throughout her career, Ms. Bach has been an active contributor to the community, mentoring young female law students, and participating in various pro bono matters including the Miami Dade County Public Defender’s Ensuring Equal Justice Initiative and Lawyers for Children. In addition to serving as Treasurer Miami-Dade FAWL, Ms. Bach was recently elected to The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors, and serves on the Alumni Association Board of Directors at Rollins College. Ms. Bach received a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and graduated summa cum laude from Rollins College with a degree in Political Science. In 2015, the Florida Association of Women Lawyers recognized Ms. Bach as one of its annual “Leaders in the Law,” an award bestowed on women who have made significant impacts in their communities.

Elisa D’Amico, Esq.
Treasurer

Elisa D’Amico, a partner in the Miami office of K&L Gates, focuses her practice on sophisticated litigation issues, including internet affiliate marketing, online privacy, cyber and technology law, online consumer deception and fraud, unfair deceptive acts and practices, and bankruptcy related matters. She holds an AV® Preeminent Rating from Martindale Hubbell, and in 2014, Elisa was chosen as the inaugural recipient of the Daily Business Review’s “Attorney of the Year” award. A graduate of the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University, and Fordham Law School, Elisa is well known for her work co-founding her law firm’s Cyber Civil Rights Legal Project (CCRLP), a pro bono project aimed at helping victims of nonconsensual pornography seek recourse and regain control of their online privacy and of their lives. The CCRLP has been recognized both nationally and internationally by various media outlets, including the New York Times, International Business Times, Corporate Counsel, CNN, MSNBC, and The Huffington Post.

In addition to her involvement with Miami-Dade FAWL, Elisa sits on the Advisory Board of Dade Legal Aid, the Development Committee of The Women’s Fund of Miami-Dade, and is the Vice President of the Fordham Law Alumni Association, among other things. She has been recognized for her forward-thinking and dedication to bettering the community by numerous legal and non-legal community organizations, including the Miami Herald, South Florida “20 Under 40” Emerging Leader (2014), Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce HYPE® Miami “Difference Maker” (2014), the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, “Leaders in the Law” ( 2015), and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s “40 Under 40 Outstanding Lawyers of South Florida” award (2015). Elisa is a fierce litigator and passionate advocate who is dedicated to both her clients and her causes. Above all, her favorite line of work remains being a mom and stepmom to two beautiful boys (which is why you will rarely see her sitting still).

Ardith Bronson, Esq.
Newsletter Editor

Ardith Bronson serves as Of Counsel at DLA Piper, where she primarily focuses her practice in complex commercial litigation in the healthcare industry and represents clients in wide-ranging litigations involving Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Statutes, ERISA, Medicare, False Claims Act, Anti-Kickback Statute, RICO, and other claims impacting the managed-care industry. Ardith also has extensive experience handling bankruptcy litigation, derivatives litigation, as well as products liability actions.

Ileana Cruz, Esq.
Immediate Past President

Ileana Cruz serves as Assistant County Attorney for Miami Dade County. Her practice involves advising Miami-Dade County’s Property Appraiser and Tax Collector in administrative and litigation matters relating to ad valorem taxes, value adjustment board decisions, and local business tax issues, among other matters. Ileana specializes in representing the interests of the Tax Collector, and other Miami-Dade County departments in federal bankruptcy courts across the country. In addition to her tax and bankruptcy litigation practice, Ileana counsels the Finance department on legislative items, drafts ordinances and resolutions, and advises the Board of County Commissioners on tax and finance matters. Ileana serves on The Florida Bar’s Voluntary Bar Leaders Committee as Chair (2014-2015), and on the Social Media and Communications Technology Committee, and is a graduate of The Florida Bar’s Leadership Academy, Class II (2014-2015).