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Founded in Miami in 1925, Steel Hector & Davis was a prominent legal presence both in Florida and in the international arena for much of its history. In its heyday under the 25-year reign of former managing partner Joseph P. Klock Jr., the firm boasted more than 200 attorneys. In 2000, Steel Hector was ranked second among South Florida law firms in gross revenues in the Daily Business Review‘s Review 15 survey. The firm has earned accolades for its diversity initiatives and has been named most diverse law firm in the United States by the Minority Law Journal several times. Rumors of financial difficulties have plagued the firm for years, but it was not until this year that cracks in the firm’s image as a powerhouse began to show. The troubles culminated with lawyer defections and the removal of Klock as managing partner in November when Steel Hector began looking for a merger partner. Many blame Klock’s aggressive expansion push for the firm’s financial woes. Beginning in the 1990s, the firm pursued broad global growth, opening offices from Brazil to Israel. The firm’s client list was filled with top South Florida companies and Fortune 500 corporations. Its roster of political players also helped the firm gain prominence. During Florida’s 2000 election recount crisis, Steel Hector had one of its highest profile clients, representing Secretary of State Katherine Harris in the election litigation. Klock’s arguments prevailed before the U.S. Supreme Court, handing George W. Bush the White House. Even before Steel Hector was in the national spotlight, its name was well known and respected. In its early days, the firm helped write the charter for Southeast Bank and represented the bank until its bankruptcy and demise in 1991. Other clients have included boxing promoter Don King and the Fanjul sugar barons.

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