|Bar and Court Admissions|
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth, Ninth and Eleventh Circuits
- U.S. District Court for the Southern and Middle Districts of Florida
- J.D., University of Florida, 1977
- B.S., University of Florida, 1974 (in Journalism)
- 2013 Energy Environmental Natural Resources Top Rated Lawyers (The American Lawyer; Corporate Counsel; And the National Law Journal/AV® Preeminent Martindale-Hubbell Lawyer Ratings)
- Martindale-Hubbell AV Peer Review Rating since 1997
- Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ Rating
- Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ Rating for Women Lawyers
- Martindale-Hubbell® Bar Registry of Preeminent Lawyers™
- Selected as Florida Super Lawyer by Super Lawyer's magazine, 2012
- Selected as South Florida Top Rated Lawyer by Lawyer's magazine 2012
- 2013 Energy Environmental Natural Resources Top Rated Lawyers (The American Lawyer; Corporate Counsel; And The National Law Journal/Av® Preeminent Martindale-Hubbell Lawyer Ratings)
- Appointment, Federal Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel for the U.S. District Court, So. Dist. Fl.
- Appointment, Bench and Bar Conference for the U.S. District Court, So. Dist. Fl.
- Appointment, Ad Hoc Committee on Rules and Procedures for the U.S. District Court, So. Dist. Fl.
- Appointment, Federal Judicial Bar and Community Liaison Committee, So. Dist. Fl.
- Assistant United States Attorney, (a) Major Crimes, Criminal Division, Appellate Division (Deputy Chief and Chief); Civil Division; (b) Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney (Chief, Executive Division) (c) Special Counsel to U.S. Attorney (1979-1995)
- Co-chair ABA Section of Litigation, Appellate Practice Committee
- Executive Board, Council of Appellate Lawyers, American Bar Association, Judicial Division, 2009-2010
- Law Clerk for the Honorable Peter T. Fay, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, former Fifth Circuit (1978-1979)
- Instructor, Attorney General's Appellate Advocacy Institute, Department of Justice, Washington, D.C. (Criminal Appeals) (1987, 1998) (Civil Appeals) (1990)
- Member, Florida Bar
- Member, American Bar Association
- Member, Cuban American Bar Association
- Member, Peter T. Fay American Inns of Court, St. Thomas University, 1999-2011
- Web Editor, ABA Section of Litigation, Appellate Practice Committee, 2006-2012
- ABA Environmental Litigation Committee, Subcommittee of Women Environmental Litigators, 2010-present
- ABA Judicial Division, Council of Appellate Lawyers, 2009-present
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Sonia Escobio O'Donnell
Ms. O'Donnell is a Partner in the Miami office of Jorden Burt LLP, co-chair of the Appeals and Motions Practice Team, and Miami supervisor of Jorden Burt's Pro-Bono Program. Following her clerkship for the Honorable Peter T. Fay in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, she became an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida where she was involved in civil and criminal trials and appellate litigation. As an Assistant for approximately sixteen years she participated in criminal cases, wrote and argued criminal appeals, supervised the appellate division and became the Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney and Special Counsel to the U.S. Attorney. As the Executive Assistant she had management and supervisory duties for all areas of the office, she reviewed and approved indictments, she coordinated and created the program for the Drug Task Force in Miami (HIDTA) and drafted and/or argued major motions in high-profile criminal cases. As Special Counsel to the U.S. Attorney, she advised the U.S. Attorney on major legal issues in the office. She was assigned to the civil division for three years where she defended lawsuits against the United States.
In private practice she has represented corporations in civil litigation in both the trial and appellate levels. She advises clients on issues of grand jury subpoenas and white collar defense. She has also litigated, in both trial and appellate levels, Indian tribal sovereignty and immunity issues, Indian gaming issues (Indian Gaming Regulatory Act), constitutional issues and environmental issues. She has filed merits and amicus briefs, as well as certiorari petitions, in the United States Supreme Court. She has briefed and argued hundreds of cases in federal appellate courts and has also briefed and argued cases in the state courts.
- SFWMD v. Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida, 541 U.S. 95 (2004). The Tribe sued the South Florida Water Management District to enforce the Clean Water Act. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Tribe on the question presented (Supreme Court Brief).
- Negrete v. Allianz, 523 F.3d 1091 (9th Cir. 2008) reversal of trial court's jurisdiction prohibiting Allianz from settling cases in other forums that might affect claims of class members (appeal).
- Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida v. EPA, 105 F.3d 599 (11th Cir. 1997) and unpublished opinion, 1998 WL 1805539 (S.D. Fla. 1998). Clean Water Act challenge to Florida's Everglades Forever Act (litigation at trial level and appeal).
- Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida v. USA, No. 04-21448 (S.D. Fla.) District Court and Appellate Proceedings involving enforcement of court order in environmental litigation.
- Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida v. USA, No. 10-23507-10-23511 (S.D. Fla.). Challenge to IRS Summonses for Tribal records involving issues of Tribal sovereign immunity (trial level).
- Center for Biological Diversity v. Salazar, No. 09-01684 (D.D.C.). This matter involved a critical habitat designation for the Cape Sabal Seaside Sparrow. The Miccosukee Tribe of Florida, as Intervenor, supported the government's position to not designate the areas at issue as a critical habitat.
- Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida v. Kraus-Anderson Construction Co., No. 04-22774 (S.D. Fla.); No. 07-13039 (11th Cir.). Petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court regarding federal question jurisdiction in an action to enforce a Tribal court judgment and supplemental brief in response to Solicitor General's brief.
- Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida. v. State, 656 So. 2d 505 (Fla. 3d DCA 1995). Case against the State of Florida involving request for rulemaking to set phosphorus level in surface waters of the Everglades at ten parts per billion. The Third District Court of Appeals held that the Tribe had been denied procedural due process (appeal).
- United States v. Roggio, 863 F.2d 41 (11th Cir. 1989). Mail and bank fraud case involving major financial institutions (trial and appeal).
- United States v. Casamayor, 837 F.2d 1509 (11th Cir. 1988). Racketeering (RICO) and conspiracy case against police chief and other members of Key West Police Department (appeal).
- United States v. Noriega, No. 88-0079-CR (S.D. Fla.). Head-of-state issues, international jurisdiction issues, sixth amendment issues based on recording by prison officials of General Noriega's prison conversations (litigation support at trial level).
- United States v. Cortez, 757 F.2d 1204 (11th Cir. 1985). Case involving federal charges against officials of the Cuban government for narcotics trafficking (appeal).
- United States v. Marino-Garcia, 679 F.2d 1373 (11th Cir. 1982) - challenge to federal statute's extension of U.S. jurisdiction over stateless vessels on the high seas; United States v. Romero-Galue, 757 F.2d 1147 (11th Cir. 1985) - challenge to federal statute's extension of jurisdiction to foreign vessels on the high seas (appeals).
- Florida Paraplegic, Ass'n. v. Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida, 166 F.3d 1126 (11th Cir. 1999). Tribal sovereignty decision in which the Eleventh Circuit found that the Americans with Disabilities Act did not provide a private cause of action against Indian Tribes (appeal).
- Tamiami Partners, Ltd. v. Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida, 177 F.3d 1212 (11th Cir. 1999). Involved issues of contract, jurisdiction, sovereign immunity and the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (litigation at trial level and appeal).
- Lobo v. Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida, Eleventh Circuit case no. 07-15073-JJ. (The Eleventh Circuit found that the Fair Labor Standards Act did not apply to Indian Tribes (appeal)
- Friends of the Everglades v. SFWMD, No. 02-80309, 2006 WL 3635465 (S.D. Fla. Dec. 11, 2006) (litigation support at trial level; appeal).
Speeches and Publications
- ABA Section of Litigation, A Practitioner's Guide to Appellate Advocacy (chapter on Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals rules and procedures)
- Instructor, United States Attorney General's Appellate Advocacy Institute, Department of Justice, Washington, D.C. (Criminal Appeals) (1987, 1998) (Civil Appeals) (1990)
- Florida Bar First Amendment Seminars 2000, 2001 and 2002 (panelist).
- ABA TIPS Annual Spring CLE and Leadership Forum: "Winning Strategies for Jury Instructions," 2011 (panelist).