Luis Gazitua: Young Lawyer Extraordinaire

luis_headshot_siteLuis Andre Gazitua, Esq. is a man of passion, integrity, and drive who, at age 31, works tirelessly as Senior Adviser in the Mayor’s Office of Miami-Dade County, as founding partner of the law firm of Gazitua Letelier, and as theGovernmental and Community Liaison of the professional networking organization Next In Line. Can you still keep up with this stamina? Guiding business development ventures in both the private and public sectors, Luis tells us that there’s more to be gained by reaching beyond personal gain and financial accumulation. Working with Habitat for Humanityof Greater Miami-Dade County, Luis sits on the Board’s Family Selection Committee where he is able to meet with families and recommend future home ownership. He works incountless ways to continually make community uplift his guiding light, and for these reasons, we are happy to introduce to you a man who will surely make an impact on the The CulturalConnect generation. Read on to find out more in this week’s Young & Professional Profile.

About your current work activities

Mayor Carlos Alvarez is the first strong mayor in the history of Miami-Dade County. The day-to-day operations of the government are overseen by the Mayor. Miami-Dade County encompasses more than 2,000 square miles (larger than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware). I am the Mayor’s legal counsel, special project director and act as the conduit for business development between the Mayor’s office and Chambers of Commerce in Miami-Dade County.

Gazitua Letelier’s clientele includes international and state-chartered banks, entrepreneurs, providers of mezzanine debt capital, and numerous other financiers, as well as borrowers of virtually all forms of commercial credit.

Gazitua Letelier serves as business advisers, providing assistance in areas such as: business acquisitions, developments, sales and mergers, financing transactions and re-capitalization and restructuring of businesses.

Next in Line is a one-of-a-kind networking organization comprised of successful young professionals looking to build their businesses, expand their client base, become involved in their community and advance their careers. Next in Line works not only to build business relationships for its members, but to educate them on pertinent issues in the community. The goal is to create a unique networking group made up of South Florida’s next generation of community pillars.

Most notable milestones

One of my milestones occurred right out of law school through my involvement in the Saperstein v. Palestinian Authority, 2006 WL 3804718 (S.D. Fla. 2006), case.

I was fortunate enough to work for Mr. Bob Josefsberg, of Podhurst Orseck, who is renowned as one of the most respected and gifted litigators in the Country. Mr. Josefsberg assigned me the task of researching and drafting the complaint for this case.

In this case, Plaintiffs allege terrorism claims through the Alien Tort Claims Act against the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Former Attorney General – Ramsey Clark, who served as the 66th United States Attorney General under President Lyndon B. Johnson – represented the Palestinian organizations.

The case was brought by Moshe Saperstein, a US citizen who has lived in Israel for 37 years. He was shot and seriously wounded by terrorists while driving in the West Bank. An Israeli woman and two Israeli soldiers were killed in the same attack. A Federal jury in Miami today ordered the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization to pay $48 million to Mr. Saperstein.

My next milestone isn’t really mine; it belongs to Mayor Carlos Alvarez. The milestone developed from my volunteering for the Alvarez campaign.

The campaign was my first and I became involved because of the message: Accountability, Integrity and Reform. The candidate was the former Police Chief and he was a political unknown. In the end Alvarez won the election and became Mayor of Miami-Dade County because of his honesty and vision.

Thereafter, I was honored when he and his closest adviser and Chief of Staff, Denis Morales, asked me to come on board and hold the post of Senior Adviser.

What makes you unique?

I am a promoter and a facilitator. I assist individuals who have great ideas that can really make a difference but lack access to key decision makers or capital.

What’s the biggest challenge?

“It is not titles that honor men, but men that honor titles.” Niccolo Machiavelli.

The challenge is striving everyday to add value to my post.

What’s in store for the future?

After my work in the Mayor’s office, I plan to expand Gazitua Letelier by developing our practice offshore. In ten years, I’d like to concentrate on helping nonprofits.

Best way to keep a competitive edge

You have to stay humble. If you begin to believe the hype around you, you will fail.

Guiding principle in life

Prioritize community involvement before personal gain.

Yardstick of success

My Father, Ralph L. Gazitua, look him up.

Goal yet to be achieved

Fatherhood.

Best practical advice

Shave in the shower. Most men look in the mirror while shaving, but this is an activity that can be done by feel. If you’re like me, you’re going to linger uselessly in the shower, just standing there, no matter what. Knock out your shaving during your daily standing time. Shaving while in the shower makes shaving easier, because the hot water and steam open up your pores.

Words of Wisdom

In whatever you do make sure of a couple things:

  1. That it is legal.
  2. That it is moral.
  3. That it is ethical.

If the project does not meet those criteria, DON’T DO IT!

Mentors

I have had some great ones.

First, my grandfather Luis Rafael Gazitua or as he was known to everyone, L.R. He came to this country with nothing and became a pioneer in the logistics industry.

Second, my father Ralph L. Gazitua, everything I am is because of him. He is an entrepreneur, philanthropist and a man of God.

Third, Mr. Bob Josefsberg, he mentored me and began the formation of the lawyer I will eventually become. He is always a phone call away for advice and counsel. Furthermore, he now also represents the Mayor.

Finally, Denis Morales, he is my Chief of Staff and my friend. He has assisted me in traversing through dangerous and vile political waters which are obligatory in this profession.

What motivated you to get started?

What else was I supposed to do?

Like best about what you do?

Helping people and promoting great ideas.

Like least about what you do?

Having to deal with charlatans.

At age 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Marine biologist, “Jaws” was a favorite movie of mine.

What was your first job?

Account Executive

Biggest pastime outside of work

Philanthropy

Person most interested in meeting?

I don’t buy into the ridiculousness of celebrity, however, I’d like to meet Arnold Schwarzenegger – because he is the embodiment of the American Dream.

Leader in business most interested in meeting?

Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, Inc. – because he has engineered a media and technology revolution that has changed the world.

Three interesting facts about yourself

  1. I prefer Macs.
  2. Cooking relaxes me.
  3. I am a huge Star Wars and Star Trek fan.

Three characteristics that describe you

  1. Passionate
  2. Wry
  3. Jack Hammer

Three greatest passions

  1. Advocating
  2. Entertaining
  3. Cooking.

Favorite book

“Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card

Favorite cause

Habitat for Humanity, www.habitat.org