Sonja C. Darby

Sonja C. Darby is an associate at Pathman Lewis, LLP whose practice areas include commercial real estate and transactional law.

Mrs. Darby represents parties in the purchase, sale, refinance, and lease of apartment buildings, single-family homes, condominiums, cooperatives, mixed use buildings, and shopping centers. She navigates complex title documents, financing agreements, and contracts to advise clients on the risks, liabilities and legal consequences of transactions. She also provides counsel in general corporate matters, including entity selection and operating agreements. In the past, she has represented community associations in matters regarding covenant enforcement, interpretation, amendment, and termination—experience which compliments her current practice.

Mrs. Darby received her Juris Doctor from Fordham University School of Law in 2003, achieving Dean’s List honors, and her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Miami in 2000. She is a member of the Real Property Probate and Trust Law Section of The Florida Bar and the Gwen S. Cherry Black Women Lawyers Association.

Mrs. Darby is admitted to practice in Florida, New York and New Jersey.

Jonathan C. Brown

Jonathan C. Brown is an associate in the litigation department. Mr. Brown’s practice areas include commercial litigation, real estate and title litigation, commercial foreclosures, and general business litigation. Prior to joining Pathman Lewis, LLP, he was a litigation associate with a prominent full-service and statewide firm where he practiced complex commercial and employment litigation in both State and Federal Court.

Mr. Brown received a Masters of Business Administration with a concentration in finance and his Juris Doctor, cum laude, from the University of Miami in May of 2009. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Emory University in December of 2004. Prior to attending law and business school, Mr. Brown worked for a major motion picture producer in New York and clerked at a distinguished law firm in Atlanta. Among his various extracurricular commitments during school, he was the President of the Entertainment & Sports Law Society, a finance and accounting tutor and a Staff Writer for the Entertainment Section of The Emory Wheel.

Mr. Brown is a member of the Broward County Bar Association and the Young Lawyer’s Division. He is actively involved in South Florida’s Chapter of Emory Alumni which participates in a series of charity and recruitment-related events. As a native of Miami, Florida, he proudly supports all local sports teams.

Mr. Brown is admitted to practice in Florida and the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Harold L. Lewis

Harold L. Lewis is a co-founder and co-managing partner of the Miami law firm of Pathman Lewis, LLP, and is head of the firm’s real estate and banking departments.

Mr. Lewis is knowledgeable in real property title issues and writes on several nationally recognized title insurance companies.

Mr. Lewis represents numerous businesses, both large and small, and prides himself on providing practical legal and business advice on the day-to-day issues affecting business owners.

He is an experienced real estate, corporate, and transactional lawyer, whose areas of practice include:
  • Loan workouts and debt restructuring
  • Bank litigation and foreclosure
  • Real estate acquisition and development
  • Real estate and asset based lending
  • Leasing, business acquisitions and sales
  • Condominium development
  • Mr Lewis has written and lectured extensively in such varied areas as:
  • Loan workouts
  • Bulk purchase and sale of condominiums
  • Short sales
  • Lease negotiations, enforcement and remedies
  • Contract enforcement and cancellation
  • Structuring of commercial loan transactions'
  • Green building and sustainability
  • Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Mr. Lewis is currently involved with several residential and commercial condominium projects. He is fully versed with state and federal regulatory issues affecting the development of real estate including the Florida Condominium Act and Interstate Land Sales Act (ILSA).

He received his Bachelor of Arts from Duke University where he graduated magna cum laude in 1981. He attended the University of Miami School of Law where he received his J. D. degree cum laude in 1984, and was a member of the Law Review. Mr. Lewis was admitted to practice in Florida in 1984.

Mr. Lewis is a member of the Florida Bar, the Dade County Bar Association and the American Bar Association. He is a member of the United States District Court, Southern District of Florida. Mr. Lewis previously served a five-year tenure as a member of the Board of Directors of the Coral Gables Bar Association and a three year tenure on the Board of Directors of the Industrial Association of Dade County (IADC). He is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers and is currently Program Chair for Miami-Dade County, Florida. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Commercial and Industrial Association of South Florida (CIASF).

Mr Lewis has been involved with the purchase and development of numerous commercial and residential properties “from the ground up” and has structured numerous sophisticated corporate transactions.

Mr. Lewis is involved with a number of civic and philanthropic organizations in the South Florida area and is a member of several chambers of commerce. He previously served on the Board of Directors of Jewish Family Services and on the Executive Board and Board of Directors of his temple.

Peter L. Meltzer

Peter L. Meltzer is a partner at Pathman Lewis, LLP. His practice areas include real estate transactions, real estate litigation, foreclosures, community association law and civil litigation. Prior to joining Pathman Lewis, Mr. Meltzer was an associate at Siegfried, Rivera, Lerner, De La Torre & Sobel, P.A., based in Coral Gables, Florida, where he represented national and international developers, local builders and contractors, lending institutions and hotel operators.

Mr. Meltzer received his Juris Doctor degree from Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad Law Center in 1998 and is admitted to the Florida Bar and United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida. He received his B.A. degree from Brandeis University in 1994 and earned a place on the Dean’s List.

Mr. Meltzer is on the Board of Directors of the South Florida Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and is a member of the National Association of Realtors.

Mr. Meltzer’s civil litigation appellate victories have been reported in the Southern Reporter 2nd and 3rd Series, and he has been published in the Florida Community Association Journal, quoted in the Sun-Sentinel, authored various blog posts and made frequent Florida radio appearances to discuss relevant issues affecting the real estate market in Florida.

John A. Moore

John A. Moore is a partner with the Miami law firm of Pathman Lewis, LLP in the litigation department. John has over twenty years of experience in state and federal court handling trials and appeals. He is “AV” rated by Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, the highest rating given to practicing attorneys.

John is a member of the Florida and the Texas state bars and has written and lectured on a diverse area of topics including commercial lending and construction law.

John focuses his practice in the areas of:
  • Banking Litigation
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Construction Litigation/Liens/Defects
  • Contracts
  • Federal Trial and Appellate Practice
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Insurance Litigation
  • Insurance Subrogation
  • State Trial and Appellate Practice

John received his law degree from Michigan Law School in 1990, where he was a member of the Order of Barristers, on the Board of Governors, and was the Law School Student President, and was chosen as the student commencement speaker. He received his bachelors of arts in Political Science cum laude from Mississippi State University in 1986, where he was the winner of the four year John C. Stennis academic scholarship. As an undergrad, he was inducted into the honorary academic societies of Phi Kappa Phi, Omicron Delta Kappa, Lambda Sigma, and Pi Sigma Alpha, and into the Mississippi State University Student Hall of Fame and the Mississippi State University Who’s Who, and was a member of the social fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta.

John also is active outside of the legal community and has twice served as the co-chairman of the fundraising committee in Miami for the Fabretto Children’s Foundation, a non-profit which enables impoverished Nicaraguan children and their families in underserved communities to help break the cycle of poverty and to reach their full potential through programs promoting education, nutrition and health, and community development. He also performs volunteer work with the St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, Doctors Charter School of Miami Shores, and coaches youth sports.

Wayne Pathman

Co-founder and managing partner of the firm, Wayne M. Pathman is one of the state’s distinguished lawyers with more than 30 years experience. Mr. Pathman heads the firm’s Land Use, Zoning, and Environmental Law Section.

Mr. Pathman represents businesses, developers and individuals before administrative and regulatory bodies at the municipal, state and federal levels in land use, zoning, and environmental matters. He is a leading authority and lecturer on issues regarding water law and its economic impact on Miami-Dade County and Miami Beach.

Mr. Pathman represents developers of apartment buildings, shopping centers, hotels, and historic properties. He frequently represents residential and commercial developers seeking land use and zoning approval.

Mr. Pathman also represents developers and individuals with regards to marine docks and dockage issues.

Mr. Pathman represents numerous businesses and individuals with complex commercial litigation matters regarding contract disputes with zoning and real estate matters.

Mr. Pathman frequently addresses various government agencies and private institutions on land use/zoning and water related matters.

Areas of Experience
  • Land Use, Zoning, and Environmental Law
  • Water Law
  • Commercial Litigation
Notable Projects
  • Hennes & Mauritz (H & M), Swedish Retailer, obtained all land use and zoning approvals for Historic Lincoln Theater Property, Land Use and Zoning
  • Fifth and Alton Development, Miami Beach, handled all land use and development negotiations – first vertical commercial center on Miami Beach
  • Aqua Project on Allison Island, obtained permits for dockage, zoning and drafting condominium documents and handled the closings on the island
  • Represented leading real estate company in handling zoning analyses and acquisition for the acquisition of nearly 2,000 apartments located in six separate Florida counties
  • Opa-Locka Executive Airport, handled land Use and zoning for commercial development of airport
  • Crown (Miami Beach/now the Thompson Hotel) – handled zoning for conversion of historic hotel to apartments
  • Palau Project – luxury condo project on Miami Beach
  • CBS Outdoor/Outfront Media - successfully handled RFP for countywide bus, rail, and shelter (bus) contracts
  • Represent municipalities as outside counsel on special projects
Memberships & Activities
  • Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce – Member, Board of Governors and Executive Board of Governors, Chairman of Subcommittee on the Impact of Rising Sea Levels on Miami Beach and surrounding areas
  • Mt. Sinai Medical Center, Founders Club
  • Friends of UM/Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Miami Children’s Museum, Board and Executive Committee Member
  • Former Executive Committee member, Museum of Science Capital Campaign Committee
  • The Victory Center for Autistic Children, Former Board Member
  • Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce
  • Greater Miami Jewish Federation
  • Beacon Council
  • Capital Campaign Committee, Miami Beach Jewish Community Center
  • Member of the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact
  • American Institute of Architects (AIA), consultant on Rising Sea Levels and participant on “Climate Issues and the Future”
  • Chairman of Advocacy Committee and Chairman of sub-committee on Rising Sea Levels and Economic Impact, Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, Chairman - Climate Symposium on Sea Level Rise, Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce
  • University of Miami, Congressional Field Hearing by Congressmen Joe Garcia (Florida) and Frank Pallone (New Jersey) regarding climate change
  • National and Local Media source on Climate Change: The New York Times, Rolling Stone, National Public Radio (NPR), CBS National Radio, and the South Florida media
  • The Florida Bar, Litigation and Environmental Law Sections
  • Miami-Dade County Bar Association
Awards & Recognition
  • Urban Land Institute, Project of the Year Award, Hennes & Mauritz (H & M), Swedish Retailer at Historic Lincoln Theater Property, 2014
  • Urban Land Institute, Project of the Year Award, Fifth and Alton Development, Miami Beach, 2010
  • Florida Super Lawyers, 2007
  • Wall Street Journal, “Florida’s Top Attorneys” 2013
  • Best Lawyers in America, 2013
  • South Florida Legal Guide, “Top Lawyers,” 2005-2015
  • Legal Leaders – “Top Rated Lawyers” 2008-2014
  • AV Preeminent Top Rated Lawyer, Martindale-Hubbell, highest legal ability and ethical standard rating
  • South Florida Business Journal, “Heavy Hitter” 2004, 2007
  • South Florida Business Journal, Finalist, Key Partner Award
  • University of South Florida, B. S., Political Science and International Law
    • Cum Laude, 1981
    • Vice President, Tau Epsilon Phi
    • Member, Phi Kappa Pi, University’s highest academic honor society
    • President, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Florida State University College of Law, J.D., 1985
    • Clerked for Chief Judge Larry Smith of the First District Court of Appeals
    • Special Assistant to the Honorable Robert Graham, Governor
  • Miami Beach Senior High School
  • Born in Miami Beach, Florida
  • Resides in Miami Beach
  • Married with two children

David E. Sacks

David E. Sacks is a partner with the Miami law firm of Pathman Lewis, LLP, where he practices in the areas of real estate, land use, zoning and environmental law.

Mr. Sacks provides legal advice for the negotiation and structuring of major land acquisitions, determination of zoning and property rights and entitlements, and due diligence analysis for complex commercial and residential real estate acquisitions including the securing of required development permits and approvals. To that end he regularly appears at public hearings before city, county and the State of Florida legislative and administrative authorities.

Additionally, Mr. Sacks regularly advises clients on large-scale complex real estate matters. He has extensive experience in obtaining planned unit development approvals, amendments to master plans, redevelopment of environmentally challenged properties, including Brownfield Initiatives, securing economic incentives to the developer for remediation and redevelopment, as well as obtaining dock and marina rights for waterfront development for both developers and single family homeowners throughout Florida.

Mr. Sacks regularly gives seminars on real estate development, including such topics as the re-development of environmentally contaminated property, including lender liability protections and economic benefits and tax incentives, commercial leasing, representation of foreign buyers/investors, commercial and industrial redevelopment, for developing waterfront properties.

Mr. Sacks is the co-chair of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce Law Council. He chaired the Chamber’s Pillar Trustees Board of Directors from 2011-2013. Mr. Sacks was a member of the Chamber’s Executive Board of Governors and remains a member of the Chamber’s Board of Governors, a position he has held since 2011. Mr. Sacks is a past member of the Florida Department of Transportation Alton Road Project. He is a member of the Environmental & Land Use Law Section, Real Property Probate & Trust Law Section, City, County and Local Government Law Section, Administrative Law Section, and Government Lawyer Section of the Florida Bar.

The South Florida Legal Guide named Mr. Sacks a “Top Lawyer” in its 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 editions, and he was also selected by the Guide as one of “South Florida’s Up and Comers” in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

He also serves as an adjunct professor at Florida International University, teaching the “Legal Environment of Business.”

Mr. Sacks has written articles for Florida Real Estate Journal, including “Development Strategy Can Mitigate Fees’ Impact,” and “Docks Take Due Diligence in Waterfront Purchases.” He has also written for The Miami Beach News.

Mr. Sacks is a 1989 graduate of the University of Florida, holds an MBA from Florida International University, and received his Juris Doctor degree in 1993 from University of Miami.

Sara Walters, Esq.

Sara Walters is an associate in the litigation department at Pathman Lewis, LLP. Ms. Walters’ practice areas include commercial litigation, commercial foreclosures and general business litigation. She was previously a litigation associate with a nation-wide law firm where she litigated complex tort cases.

Ms. Walters received her Juris Doctor in May 2003 from the Florida State University College of Law. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Mass Communication, with a major in Advertising, from Boston University in May 2000. While attending school in Boston, Ms. Walters devoted a significant amount of her time to the performing arts as an apprentice member to the Boston Ballet.

Ms. Walters is a member of the Dade County Bar Association, and Young Lawyer’s Division, the Broward County Bar Association, and the Quebec-Florida Chamber of Commerce. She currently serves as a Placement Mentor for the Florida State University College of Law, providing law students with guidance and support as they transition from law school into their careers. She is also sits on the Alumni board for her elementary, middle and high school alma mater, Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, focusing primarily on alumni of the performing arts. In 2006, Ms. Walters was honored by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation as one of “Fort Lauderdale’s Finest” for her success in business, outstanding leadership and fundraising commitment to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Ms. Walters is also active member of PetSet, a South Florida organization dedicated to making a difference in the lives of animals by raising funds and awareness for the Humane Society. She is also part of the “Host Committee” for Miami City Ballet’s Upper Room, which seeks to cultivate interest in ballet among South Florida's growing class of young professionals.

Ms. Walters is admitted to practice in Florida and the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. She is a native of Montreal, Canada and speaks fluent French.

Richard N. Schermer

Richard N. Schermer is a commercial real estate partner at Pathman Lewis, LLP. He is the leader of the firm’s retail development group, a multi-disciplinary, collaborative team of attorneys offering thoughtful and responsive industry-focused service with respect to all areas of retail development including acquisition, development, leasing, financing, land use/zoning, brokering and enforcement of the agreements related to same, for all forms of real estate offering a retail component. Having practiced law for almost 30 years, he specializes in the area of commercial real estate. Prior to his joining the firm, he led the Florida real estate practice of a large national firm and chaired its National Retail Development Group.

He represents developers, investors, lenders and users of commercial real estate (institutional, mid-size and entrepreneurial clients) in the acquisition, financing, development, leasing and sale of shopping centers, office buildings, mixed-use projects, resort properties and single occupancy structures. He also specializes in preparation of restrictive covenants and operating agreements for commercial developments and analysis of title to real estate. His practice includes restructuring and workouts of troubled financing related to these types of projects, representing lenders and owners throughout the process. He is an authorized agent and signatory for several national title insurance companies.

Richard delivers efficient, cost effective and responsive service to clients in today’s highly competitive environment as a result of his extensive experience and thorough understanding of the commercial real estate business.

Richard has significant experience in sophisticated commercial transactions and particular expertise in the area of retail development and shopping center law. Having negotiated and drafted numerous purchase and sale agreements, financing and CMBS documents, leases (shopping centers, malls, street retail, build-to-suit leases, and ground leases) and reciprocal easement and operating agreements and site development agreements for some of the most prestigious shopping centers in the country, large grocery anchored centers, mixed-use projects and major single tenant projects, he has a deep knowledge of the acquisition, disposition, development and leasing issues, and provides clients entering into these types of transactions with an understanding of the standards and customs associated with obtaining maximum benefits and protections. At the same time, he remains sensitive to the nature of the marketplace and the need to continuously advance toward the closing of a deal.

Richard regularly lectures on commercial real estate topics including shopping center acquisition, development financing and leasing. He served for several years as a member of the Florida Program Planning Committee of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and has chaired several ICSC programs for the Miami-Dade Chapter. He was also a member of the editorial board of the ICSC’s monthly publication, Retail Law Strategist.

Richard was selected by his peers for inclusion in the 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 editions of The Best Lawyers in America in the area of Real Estate Law and named among the Most Effective Lawyers by The Daily Business Review in 2005, due to his role as lead real estate counsel in several of the largest and most significant real estate transactions in Florida.

Richard is a 1982 cum laude graduate of Florida State University, where he majored in business management. He earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Florida in 1988.

Articles & Presentations
  • Roundtable Discussion Leader at ICSC, Open Air Conferences, South Florida Conference and National ICSC Deal Making Conference, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2016
  • ‘Florida Lease Enforcement Actions, Remedies and Defenses,’ presentation to the Institute of Real Estate Management, 2012
  • Quoted on loan workouts in South Florida Real Estate Journal, 2009
  • ‘Developing and Implementing an Effective Loan Workout Strategy,’ presentation to the ICSC Florida Conference, 2009
  • ‘Mixed-Use Projects,’ presentation to the ISCS Florida Conference, 2007
  • ‘Working with Outside Counsel,’ presentation to the ICSC US Shopping Center Law Conference, 2006
  • ‘How to Stop Delays – Streamlining the Lease Negotiation Process,’ presentation to the ICSC Florida Conference, 2006
  • ‘Ground Lease, Restaurant and Outparcel Issues,’ presentation to the ICSC US Shopping Center Law Conference, 2004
  • ‘Leasing to National Franchise Tenants’
  • ‘Legal Issues in Retail Leasing in Florida – Construction, Operation and Reciprocal Easement Agreements’
  • ‘Restaurant Leasing Issues’
  • ‘The Hit List of Retail Leasing Issues That Always Seem to Get Negotiated’

Aaron Tandy

Aaron Tandy is a partner in the firm’s Commercial Litigation Department, and is head of the firm’s Employment Law Section. Mr. Tandy places a special focus on resolution of business torts, regulatory and administrative hearings, employment and HR litigation, and ecommerce and intellectual property disputes, including the gathering and proper use of electronic and social media evidence.

In addition, Mr. Tandy provides counsel to entities looking to comply with federal and state antitrust laws, including the establishment of domestic and international distribution agreements and joint ventures.

Areas of Experience
  • Business Torts
  • Regulatory and Administrative Hearings
  • Employment and HR Litigation
  • Ecommerce and Intellectual Property Disputes
Professional Associations & Memberships
  • Florida Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
    • Section of Litigation
    • Section of Antitrust Law
  • New York State Bar Association
  • Bar Association of the City of New York
Civic & Community Service
  • Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, executive board
  • Miami Beach JCC, board of trustees
  • Employment and HR Litigation
  • Ecommerce and Intellectual Property Disputes
Publications & Presentations
  • “Antitrust Issues and the Internet,” Center for International Legal Studies, October 2005, Suffolk University Law School, Boston, panelist and presenter
  • “Use of Class Action Arbitration Waivers”, October 2014, Law Council of Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, presenter
  • “Social Media: Use, Misuse and Presenting Evidence in Court,” May 2015, Miami-Dade County State Attorney General CLE Forum, presenter
  • AV Rated as independently determined by Martindale-Hubbell, highest legal ability and ethical standard rating
  • Outstanding Board of Governor, “James McDonnell Award,” 2009
  • Employment and HR Litigation
  • Ecommerce and Intellectual Property Disputes
  • New York University, J.D.
    • Cum Laude, 1991
  • Haverford College, B.A., 1988

Laura Lefebvre

Laura Lefebvre is an attorney in the real estate and litigation departments at Pathman Lewis, LLP. Ms. Lefebvre’s practice areas include real estate and corporate transactions, as well as general business litigation.

Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Lefebvre served as in-house counsel for SAS Antygone, a debt collection company in Toulouse, France, where she was in charge of negotiating settlements with debtors. Ms. Lefebvre received her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from The University of Miami School of Law. During her tenure in law school, she clerked for Legal Services of Greater Miami as part of its Community Economic Development program and, among other things, handled real estate transactions for non-profit corporations.

Ms. Lefebvre is a native of Toulouse, France. She obtained a Master’s degree in Business Law, Diplôme de Juriste Conseil en Entreprise (D.J.C.E.) from Université Toulouse I Capitole. Prior to attending the Université Toulouse I Capitole, Ms. Lefebvre graduated from Université Paris I – Pantheon Sorbonne where she obtained her Bachelor in Law equivalent, Licence de droit privé.

Ms. Lefebvre is admitted to practice in the State of Florida. She is, of course, fluent in French and is a member of the French-American Chamber of Commerce.

Ms. Lefebvre is a member of the following organizations:

  • French American Bar Association
  • French American Chamber of Commerce
  • Miami-Dade County Bar Association
  • The New World Center (Downtown Miami) Committee with the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce

Matthew Haber

Matthew Haber is an associate attorney with Pathman Lewis whose practice areas include land use, zoning and environmental matters.

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Haber was an attorney with the City of Miami, where he routinely advised the mayor and city commission on environmental, energy and land use matters, as well as government ethics. He represented the City in hearings concerning water quality, climate change impacts, and electric utilities, including proceedings before the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Florida’s Public Service Commission, and Florida’s Governor and Cabinet. Mr. Haber helped to modernize Miami’s public records practices by creating a training program for all City staff and helped to build the City’s first Public Records Division. He has experience negotiating contracts, reviewing grant applications, drafting legislation, and also served as the attorney advisor to Miami’s first Sea Level Rise Committee.

Mr. Haber received his B.A. degree from the University of Florida in 2007, magna cum laude, and graduated from Duke University School of Law in 2013. He is a member and former board member of New Leaders Council – Miami.

Mr. Haber is admitted to practice in the State of Florida and in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida.