Hinshaw Partner Barbara Fernandez Profiled in DBR: the First Woman to Run Hinshaw's Miami Office
Hinshaw attorney Barbara Fernandez—the partner-in-charge of the firm's Miami office—was recently profiled in the Daily Business Review (DBR). In the article, Barbara discusses her Cuban immigrant roots, her path to a legal career, and her experiences at Hinshaw.
Barbara was born in Miami, several years after her parents emigrated from Cuba. Initially, she was drawn to a career in journalism and worked as a writer for Channel 7 after graduating with a journalism degree from Florida International University. Yet, she was also inspired by an older cousin who was a lawyer. She explained how her cousin helped inculcate in her "a good view and perspective of lawyers ... I always thought lawyers did good for others." With her strong skillsets in research, reading and writing, and public speaking, Barbara decided to enroll in law school at the University of Miami.
Later, after a stint working as an associate at a maritime defense firm, Barbara was recruited to join Hinshaw by now-retired Hinshaw partner Robert Tucker. She made partner in 2007, and in 2019 she was named partner-in-charge of the Miami office—the first woman to hold the position since Hinshaw opened the office in 1988. She currently is co-editor of the firm's financial services blog, Consumer Crossroads, and also serves on Hinshaw's Diversity Committee.
Barbara spoke warmly about her experience at Hinshaw:
"I loved the people at Hinshaw. It has always been and was a great place to work in terms of culture. There wasn't this pressure cooker type situation…. We all worked very hard and put in plenty of hours, but it was always done in a collegial way and in very much a learning environment."
Barbara also discussed how she came to focus her practice on consumer protection litigation, which emerged as a burgeoning area of law in 2008 since the start of the recession with a significant increase in litigation under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. She said she particularly enjoyed the lively motion practice typical of federal court litigation, and also discussed the evolution of case law in the Eleventh Circuit, as well as the impact on her clients of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Finally, Barbara discussed diversity professional development initiatives that she and others have recently helped to introduce:
"We're developing a sponsorship program where we have diverse associates matched with senior partners where the senior partner sponsors this individual. It's above and beyond a mentor, basically looking out for the attorney and figuring out what they need in order to succeed. Whether that's more work, a different type of work, or exposure to clients."
The full article is available on the DBR website (subscription required)
"Meet Barbara Fernandez, the First Woman to Run Hinshaw & Culbertson's Miami Office" was published by Daily Business Review, May 24, 2021.