Overview
Raquel (Rocky) Rodriguez
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EMAIL rrodriguez@mcdonaldhopkins.com

PHONE 305.704.3994

WATCH: Meet Rocky Rodriguez

Experience
Raquel (Rocky) is the managing member of the firm’s Miami office. She has counseled clients on a wide variety of government, business, and litigation matters for over 30 years, providing unique insights and solutions to the legal, business, political, and public relations challenges that private and public companies face. Whether representing Fortune 500 clients, closely held companies, foreign governments, family businesses, nonprofit entities, or entrepreneurs, Rocky focuses on developing creative approaches and innovative strategies to complex issues. From 2002 through 2006, she was general counsel to former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. In that capacity, Rocky worked on some of the most complex and urgent issues facing the state. This included conceiving and co-drafting the legislation for and negotiating the largest economic development project in state history, a $310 million economic incentive grant to The Scripps Research Institute. She counseled Governor Bush with respect to over 200 judicial appointments at all levels of the Florida judiciary.

Rocky’s areas of concentration include:

  • Litigation – banking, commercial, international, real estate, constitutional, administrative, and election law
  • Client counseling on corporate governance and related employment matters
  • Crisis and risk management
  • Data breaches
  • Dispute resolution and strategy
  • Economic development and incentives
  • Government affairs and lobbying
  • Government investigations
 
Rocky has advised both U.S. and non-U.S. clients on issues involving Florida business, financial and healthcare regulations, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the USA Patriot Act and Inter-American Bank anti-corruption investigations.

In addition to her four years in the Florida Governor’s office, Rocky was executive director of the London-based MULTILAW, Multinational Association of Independent Law Firms. Rocky previously was a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig LLC, where she started her legal career in 1985, and a partner at McDermott Will & Emery LLP.

Rocky earned her J.D., summa cum laude, from the University of Miami School of Law in 1985, graduating first in her class. She received a B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Miami in 1982.

Representative Cases/Matters


Business Litigation Experience:

  • Represented flag carrier of the Dominican Republic, Dominicana de Aviacion, and the government’s state holding company, CORDE, obtaining reversal on appeal of a default judgment based on the trial judge’s failure to follow the requirements of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. Compania Interamericana de Export-Import, S.A. v. Compania Dominicana de Aviacion, 88 F.3d 948, 951 (11th Cir. 1996)
  • Co-counsel for Russian Federation, United Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation, Sukhoi Company, Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, and Irkut Corporation, in obtaining reversal on appeal of a denial of motion to dismiss based on the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. Butler v. Sukhoi Company, 579 F.3d 1307 (11th Cir. 2009)
  • Represented proprietary airline computer reservation system on national basis in breach of contract actions against travel agencies for premature termination of system contracts and failure to pay termination fees
  • Represented Venezuelan bank guarantee fund in U.S. litigation on behalf of intervened bank against absconding former bank shareholder/officer who breached fiduciary duties depriving bank of millions of dollars in assets
  • Represented consulate in connection with consular immunity under Vienna Convention on Consular Relations
  • Represented Chinese-based exporter in letter of credit dispute with U.S. bank
  • Represented high net worth individuals in seeking or defending against temporary restraining orders against funds in U.S. bank accounts pursuant to foreign court decrees
  • Represented chairman of public entertainment conglomerate in suit against United States Department of Justice to enjoin service of Chilean Letters Rogatory pursuant to Inter-American Convention on Letters Rogatory
  • Co-counsel in arbitration proceedings for international security contractor with respect to wrongful death claims brought by survivors of contractors ambushed and killed in Iraq
  • Represented developer in defense of claim for breach of oral contract and fraud by employee who claimed a partnership interest in Southwest Florida residential development (settled for four percent of initial demand after cross-examination of plaintiff in jury trial)
  • Represented bank in lender liability action by borrower alleging fraud and breach of contract against bank resulting in involuntary dismissal of counterclaims and foreclosure judgment against borrowers and guarantors in bench trial
  • Represented manufacturer in jury trial against distributor, obtaining involuntary dismissal of fraud and punitive damage claims by distributor against manufacturer as well as a jury verdict in favor of manufacturer for breach of contract and indebtedness
  • Co-counsel in obtaining involuntary dismissal of a claim by a buyer of real property against the seller for fraud in the inducement. Tolin v. Semco Properties, Inc., 507 So. 2d 781 (Fla. 3d DCA 1987)
  • Represented seller in obtaining judgment on the pleadings striking fraud claim as a sham by buyer of real property
  • Represented Spanish-language radio network in obtaining dismissal of federal constitutional rights claim by former head of Cuban National Air Force, who claimed radio personalities had encouraged his mistreatment for advocating normalization of relations with Cuba; also obtained Rule 11 sanctions against plaintiff’s counsel
  • Co-counsel for major petroleum marketer in defense of class action suit by Florida boat owners alleging damage to fuel tanks and systems from use of ethanol-blended gasoline; class certification was denied
  • During first 12 years of practice, represented numerous U.S. and foreign financial institutions and real estate owners in banking, real estate, and landlord-tenant disputes, including commercial foreclosures, receiverships, summary judgment, trial, post-judgment, and fraudulent transfer actions

Election Law Experience:

As General Counsel to Governor Bush - 

  • Worked with the Division of Elections on numerous issues relating to voter registration, provisional ballots, felon-voting, voter databases, electronic voting, recount procedures and election management
  • Supervised and participated in the Gubernatorial suspension and Senate removal of former Broward County Supervisor of Elections Miriam Oliphant, the first time in recent Florida history in which the Senate removed an election supervisor suspended by a Governor for incompetence
  • Worked closely with the Division of Elections and local election supervisors, local elected officials and utilities in ensuring that voting sites could be promptly restored or replaced to conduct municipal elections in the wake of extensive power outages and hurricane damage in 2005
 
In private practice –

  • One of the lead attorneys representing the Republican Party of Miami-Dade County during the 2000 Presidential Election recounts before the Miami-Dade Canvassing Board and the state courts
  • Local counsel for the Republican Party of Florida – 2008 General Election
  • Local Counsel for Republican Governors Association – 2010 General Election
  • State Campaign Counsel for Romney-Ryan Presidential Campaign – 2012 General Election
  • Miami GOP Volunteer Lawyers – 2002, 2008, 2014 General Election
  • Jeb 2016, Inc. Corporate Secretary and outside counsel on public financial disclosure and other issues – 2016 Republican Primaries
  • Local counsel for National Republican Congressional Committee and National Republican Senatorial Committee – 2016 General Election
  • Represented RPOF and the Miami-Dade Republican Party in 2008 appeal regarding party’s right to require loyalty oath for party offices
  • Represented bipartisan voters seeking to intervene in 2012 federal court challenges to Florida’s voting laws, including the removal of non-citizens from the voter rolls and the legislature’s modification of Florida’s early voting laws
 
Government Advocacy Experience:

  • Obtained favorable resolution for national prepaid debit card company of Florida Attorney General investigation of debit card industry with respect to allegations of unfair and deceptive trade practices
  • Represented hospital system in state and federal Medicaid fraud investigation by Statewide Prosecutor, resulting in no further action
  • Represented medical doctor before state medical board in defense of allegations that doctor improperly and excessively prescribed medication to patients, resulting in finding of no probable cause
  • Favorably resolved federal and state beverage administrative complaints against wholesaler alleging false labeling and violation of beverage laws, saving the importer’s licenses and paying only minimal (state) or no (federal) penalties and taxes based on presentations to federal and state regulators after investigation of allegations
  • Obtained withdrawal of cease and desist notice by state healthcare regulator against ambulatory surgical center within a week of its execution based on aggressive contacts with agency demonstrating unreasonableness of and lack of authority for agency action
  • Successfully represented explosives manufacturer in resolving violation notice from state fire marshal regarding proper documentation of deliveries 
  • Successfully obtained reversal by state healthcare regulator of decision not to process application for change of ownership of home healthcare agency by showing regulator how forms and requirements were unauthorized unadopted rules
  • Provided regulatory advice and advocacy in obtaining approval by the Office of Financial Regulation of six out of six applications for registration under Florida moratorium law for companies that provide services to international trust entities
  • Co-counsel in defense of international infrastructure and engineering firm in sanctions proceeding by Inter-American Development Bank, resulting in minimal sanctions as a result of the thorough investigation performed on behalf of the client and the client’s candor in addressing the situation
  • Co-counsel in representing president of telecommunications company owned by Latin American government before U.S. Embassy in successfully preserving U.S. visa in face of smear campaign alleging corruption
 
Economic Development and Lobbying Experience:

  • Developed the strategy and structure for obtaining nearly $200 million in state and local incentives for the Max Planck Society, one of the leading scientific research institutes in the world in the establishment of an institute in Jupiter, Florida
  • Negotiated terms of grant agreement for $60 million in state incentives for establishment of non-profit scientific research institute in Port St. Lucie, Florida
  • Co-representation of research institute in obtaining $3 million appropriation for pilot research program in 2014-2015 state budget
  • Advised a financial industry technology client with respect to economic incentive programs
  • Advised bio-fuels company on Florida incentives
  • Advised medical device start-up on Florida incentives and opportunities for government contracts in healthcare and medical device areas 
  • Advised Spanish infrastructure firm on bidding and political strategy for lease of major interstate highways and “greenfield” proposals for design-build-own-operate projects, including identifying potential future projects and introducing clients to key government and business decision-makers
  • Advised Consulate General of Israel in establishment of Israel-Florida Business Forum to promote trade and investment between Israel and Florida
  • Obtained amendment of Florida insurance laws to permit back-office operations of international health insurance companies in state without certificate of authority
  • Obtained amendments limiting scope of bill seeking to restrict application of foreign law in certain cases; bill ultimately did not become law
  • Lead lobbyist in obtaining amendment to Florida international banking corporation laws granting one year moratorium on licensure requirements under s. 663.04 for entities that comply with requirements for moratorium 
  • Part of volunteer team that successfully advocated for amendments to Florida’s international arbitration laws
  • On behalf of the Florida Governor’s Office, conceived the structure, co-wrote the legislation, and negotiated the contract terms for the award and oversight of $310 million in state incentives to The Scripps Research Institute
  • On behalf of the Florida Governor’s Office, negotiated the contract terms for innovation incentive program grants to The Burnham Research Institute, Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, and Stanford Research Institute

Selected Government and Internal Investigations:


  • As General Counsel for Governor Bush, investigated harassment allegations against a state agency head, which resulted in his termination
  • As General Counsel for Governor Bush, investigated circumstances of bid award by local transportation authority, which resulted in withdrawal of award and audit by State Auditor 
  • General
  • Conducted internal investigation for audit committee of not-for-profit hospital involving possible diversion of pledge from donor
  • Conducted internal investigation of entity to verify compliance with regulatory requirements
Credentials

Admissions - Court

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado

Admissions - State

  • Florida

Education

  • University of Miami
  • University of Miami School of Law

Honors and Awards

  • Named one of the Best Lawyers in America (2016-2018)
  • Selected for inclusion in Florida Super Lawyers (2008-2017)
  • Named leader in Florida Litigation: General Commercial - Chambers USA (2009-2017)
  • Selected as one of the 25 Most Influential Business Women, South Florida Business Journal (2011)
  • Selected as a Key Partner by the South Florida Business Journal (2011)
  • Florida Trend’s Legal Elite, Government Lawyers (2005-2006), International (2010-2011)
  • South Florida’s Legal Guide, “Top Lawyers”
  • AV Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Exceptional Participation Pro Bono Service Award, Dade County Bar Association and Eleventh Judicial Circuit “Put Something Back”
  • Named one of the "Top Women in Law" by the Daily Business Review (2017)

Professional Membership

  • American Bar Association
    • Former positions: Standing Committee on Election Law; Chair, Young Lawyers Division; House of Delegates; Executive Committee, Section of International Law
  • Florida Bar
    • Former positions: International Law Section, Executive Council and Co-Chair, Amicus Committee; Judicial Nominations Procedures Committee
  • Dade County Bar Association
    • Former position: President, Young Lawyers Section
  • Federalist Society
    • Former Position: President, Miami Lawyers Chapter

Public Service and Volunteerism

  • Chair, Judicial Nominating Commission for the Third District Court of Appeal of Florida (November 2016-present); Member (2011-present) (appointed by Governor Rick Scott)
  • Board of Directors, BioFlorida; Co-Chair, Government Affairs Committee 
  • Board of Trustees, Foundation for Florida’s Future; Member, Audit Committee
  • Member, Investment Advisory Committee, Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy (2016-present)
  • Board of Trustees, Florida Workers Compensation Joint Underwriting Association (2011-2015) (appointed by Governor and Cabinet): Chair, Audit Committee; Member, Investment Committee and Compensation Committee
Insights

External Publications

Events

Events

Speaking Engagements

  • Guest Lecturer on Governors and the Judicial System, Governor Jeb Bush’s Course on Governors in the State, Nation and World, Texas A & M University (January 2017)
  • Guest Lecturer on 2000 Presidential Election, Election Law Course, St. Thomas University School of Law (November 2016)
  • Panelist, General Counsel and Judicial Visionaries Seminar (2016)
  • Panelist, Election Law, Republican Lawyers Association (2016)
  • Panelist, Presidential Campaign General Counsels Panel, Republican National Lawyers Association (2015)
  • Panelist, Casinos in Miami? The Rest of the Story, New Miami Forum (2012)
  • Panelist, Immediate Opportunities to Grow New Sectors, Florida Jobs Summit (2010)
  • The Terri Schiavo Case, University of Miami Law Review Symposium, Coral Gables, Florida (2006)
  • Separation of Powers, Symposium Co-Sponsored by the Florida Bar and University of Florida School of Law, Gainesville, Florida (2006)
  • Ethical Considerations for In-House Counsel: Case History of an International Crisis, ABA Section of International Law, Fall Meeting, Miami, Florida (2006)
  • The Terri Schiavo Case, Federalist Society South Florida Chapter, Miami, Florida (2005)
  • Who is the Client?, Florida Government Lawyers Association, Tallahassee, Florida (2003)
  • USA Patriot Act and Money Laundering, Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, Coral Gables, Florida (2002)
  • USA Patriot Act and Money Laundering, Seminar Sponsored by Panamanian Ministries of Justice and Banking, Panama City, Panama (2002)
  • Human Rights Considerations in International Business Transactions: Perspective of the United States, Annual Congress, L’Association International des Jeunes Avocats (2001)
  • Money Laundering: Are We All Guilty? Perspective of the United States, paper presented at Money Laundering Conference organized by L’Association Internationale des Jeunes Avocats and the Paris Bar (2000)
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