Michele Vargas devotes the majority of her practice to insurance coverage and defense litigation that often involved million-dollar policies in a variety of areas, including commercial general liability, director and officer liability, and excess liability, as well as other personal lines. Ms. Vargas is involved in all phases of the litigation process, including the drafting of pre-trial pleadings, motions, coverage letters, jury instructions and bench briefs. She has routinely settled contentious multimillion dollar claims.
Prior to joining Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP in March 2014, Ms. Vargas was Associate General Counsel for a national correctional healthcare company overseeing litigation and regulatory compliance. Before that Ms. Vargas was a senior associate in the Miami, Florida office of one of the top 200 firms in the nation. She was also an associate in other local law firms, including a national minority owned law firm. Ms. Vargas is currently the Key Biscayne, Florida Red Light Hearing Officer presiding over red light camera hearings.
During law school, Ms. Vargas was a member of the Dean's List, she was a recipient of an academic scholarship all three years and received a Book Award in Environmental Law. Ms. Vargas clerked for the Honorable Gisella Cardonne, Circuit Court of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit.
Ms. Vargas is an active member of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA). In her role as the Florida Regional Deputy President of External Affairs, Ms. Vargas is responsible for the vetting of judicial candidates seeking HNBA endorsement for state, appellate and federal courts in Miami-Dade County. She is also the HNBA's Human Trafficking Task Force Director and is now helping to develop the undocumented minors border crisis task force in Miami-Dade County.
- Hispanic National Bar Association, Florida Regional Deputy President of External Affairs
- Hispanic National Bar Association, Human Trafficking Task Force Director
Honors & Awards
- Recipient, William Reece Smith, Jr. Pro Bono Award for 200 hours of volunteer service (2010 and 2011)
- 2012 Nominee, South Florida Business Journal "40 Under 40"
- Nominee, Hispanic National Bar Association Rising Star Award
- Scipione v. Advances Stores Co., Inc., (M.D. Fla. 2012)
- De Varona v. Discount Auto Parts, LLC, (S.D. Fla. 2012)
- Jiminez-Carillo v. Autopart Int’l, Inc., et. al., (S.D. Fla. 2012)
- Bray & Gillespie v. Lexington Ins. Co., (M.D.. Fla. 2010)
- Bailey v. Johnson & Johnson, Inc. et al., (11th Cir. 2008)
- Ocean Bank v. Alvarez, (Fla. 3d DCA 2007)
- Chair and Speaker, Human Trafficking Conference, Hispanic National Bar Association, January 2014 and January 2012
- "Congressional Hispanic Caucus," Ready to Lead Project, Miami, Florida, 2011
- Chair and Speaker, Immigration Symposium on Arizona SB 1090, Hispanic National Bar Association, March 2011
- Guest speaker, NBC 6 South Florida Morning Show
- "Florida Domestic Partnership Agreements," chapter author, "Florida Equality Project"
- "Vioxx: Setting the Standard for Future Mass Tort Litigation and Settlements," co-author, What's Hot in Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Litigation, DRI Products Liability Conference, March 2008
Michele travels any chance she can get. When she isn't traveling, she likes to practice budokon yoga and is an avid runner.
DRI, Life, Health & Disability Committee.
- Volunteer, Lawyers for Children of America – pro bono representation of abused and abandoned children in dependency court, 2008 – 2012.
- Chair, First Annual Bra Drive, Hispanic National Bar Association, 2013.
- Co-supervisor of Florida International University and St. Thomas University law school students participating in a clearing house project involving research and analysis of current immigration legislation introduced at the state level, Hispanic National Bar Association, 2011.
J.D., St. Thomas University School of Law, 2003
B.A., cum laude, Political Science and Psychology, St. Thomas University, 2000
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida