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Howard Srebnick plays a major role in the Firm’s criminal division, chairs the Firm's appellate practice, and handles select high-stakes, commercial litigation. He helps set the standard for the thorough, zealous representation that our practice delivers. Selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America,® clients agree "he's thorough and creative, preempts everything and leaves no stone unturned."
Chambers and Partners recognizes him as being a "great tactician and masterful trial attorney," a reputation earned through his handling of complex, high profile cases, many of which have centered on financial charges such as money laundering, racketeering, tax evasion and public corruption. Mr. Srebnick was counsel in the 6-week criminal tax fraud trial of 3-time, Indy 500 winner and Dancing with the Stars champion Helio Castroneves and his sister Katiucia, both of whom were acquitted. [Closing Argument Audio] He was also lead trial counsel for NFL Super Bowl wide receiver Tony Martin who was acquitted of money laundering charges following a 3-week federal trial in Miami.
Mr. Srebnick has the rare distinction of having had two certiorari petitions granted by the Supreme Court of the United States. In the 2013 Term, Mr. Srebnick argued Kaley v United States, addressing the rights of criminal defendants to have an immediate hearing when the government freezes assets need to retain private counsel. [News Media -- Oral Argument Audio]
On November 10, 2015, Howard argued Luis v. United States, another challenge to asset freezes that interfere with a client’s Sixth Amendment right retain to counsel of choice. [News Media -- Oral Argument Transcript -- Oral Argument Audio -- Case Docket Link] On March 30, 2016, the Supreme Court agreed with Mr. Srebnick's argument in a 5-3 decision overturning the judgment of the Eleventh Circuit. [U.S. Supreme Court Opinion]
As an attorney who focuses on identifying and preserving appellate issues, Mr. Srebnick has argued numerous cases in the state and federal courts of appeal. Mr. Srebnick was appellate counsel for the famed gentlemen’s club impresario who founded "Solid Gold," "Pure Platinum" and "Thee Dollhouse,” in his successful bid to vacate his RICO conviction. United States v. Peter, 310 F.3d 709 (11th Cir. 2002). Click the case link for Mr. Srebnick’s oral arguments in State of Florida v. Godinez and State of Florida v. Justin Bieber.
Mr. Srebnick began his career with a magna cum laude degree from Georgetown University Law Center. Before he entered private practice, he served as a law clerk to Chief Judge Edward B. Davis of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and Judge Irving L. Goldberg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, then spent three years as a trial and appellate attorney with the Federal Public Defender in Miami.
In addition to his full-time legal practice, Mr. Srebnick has been an Adjunct Professor at the University of Miami School of Law for more than fifteen years, teaching “Criminal Prosecutions and Defense Lawyering Workshop: Situational Ethics in the Adversarial System of Justice.” He has also written extensively and lectured at continuing legal education seminars across the country on ethics, trial techniques and appellate practice.
- In his second case before the Supreme Court of the United States, Luis v. United States, Howard challenged as unconstitutional a pretrial injunction prohibiting a defendant from spending untainted assets needed to retain private counsel. Certiorari was granted, and Howard delivered oral argument on November 10, 2015. In a landmark decision announced on March 30, 2016, a 5-Justice majority agreed with Howard’s argument and vacated the injunction, thus guaranteeing that his client could exercise her Sixth Amendment right to retain counsel of choice.
- United States Supreme Court granted Writ of Certiorari in the case of Kaley v. United States. The question was whether criminal defendants who cannot use their assets to retain counsel of choice because of an asset freeze have the constitutional right to challenge the government's underlying charges during a pretrial hearing. Argument was held on October 16, 2013, and a decision was rendered on February 25, 2014.
- Working with Firm Partner Mark Shapiro, he successfully resolved the case of a 24-year-old Chinese national who was charged with attempted first degree murder, after attacking another young woman while both were in attendance at the Art Basel Exhibition in Miami Beach. After becoming obvious that the young woman was suffering from a severe mental health disorder, Mr. Srebnick and Mr. Shapiro arranged for her to undergo mental health treatment with a legal strategy to prove that she was not legally responsible for the attack and to get her back home with her parents in Beijing. The coordinated effort was highly successful. After a lengthy evidentiary hearing before a criminal court judge, she was declared not legally responsible for her actions at the time of the incident and she was permitted to leave the United States and return home to China. See newspaper accounts of the case here.
- Acquittal for three-time Indy 500 champion and Dancing with the Stars winner Helio Castroneves and his sister Katiucia on charges of income tax evasion.
- Acquittal and hung jury for a former Justice Department attorney charged with racketeering in the 5-month trial of the "Cali Cartel" case.
- Acquittal of NFL Super Bowl wide receiver Tony Martin of money laundering charges following a 3-week federal trial in Miami.
- Vacated racketeering conviction of Michael J. Peter, the famed gentlemen’s club impresario who founded "Solid Gold," "Pure Platinum" and "Thee Dollhouse,” on a writ of error coram nobis. (United States v. Peter, 310 F.3d 709 (11th Cir. 2002)
- Reversed conviction obtained in United States v. Lopez-Vanegas, 493 F.3d 1305 (11th Cir. 2007) based on argument that a conspiracy hatched in the U.S. to distribute cocaine in foreign countries was not a crime under U.S. drug statutes.
- Interlocutory reversal of pretrial restraining order in United States v. Kaley, 579 F.3d 1247 (11th Cir. 2009), holding that a defendant has a due process right to a pretrial hearing on the restraint of assets needed to retain counsel of choice.
- Not Guilty verdict obtained (along with counsel Roy Black) for a Miami jewelry supplier and his sales manager on charges they laundered more than $8 million in cocaine profits for Colombian drug lords.
- Not Guilty verdict for a Cuban exile accused of conspiring to assassinate Fidel Castro. Verdict made international news.
- Charges dropped against a real estate developer accused of public corruption in the "Stadium Naples" scandal after the court granted a motion to exclude evidence and to change venue based on prejudicial pretrial publicity.
- Assisted as lead trial attorney defending one of the largest charged financial crimes involving derivatives in the Southern District of New York to date, this Senior Executive and Vice President of the once leading residential mortgage lender in Puerto Rico, , received a 5-year sentence following the government aggressively seeking a 27-34 year sentence. Mr. Srebnick shared the responsibility of cross examining government witnesses, which included stock analysts, regulatory personnel from the Federal Reserve, financial company employees, financial consultants, investment bankers, alleged financial victims, a New York Stock exchange representative, valuators, internal and external auditors, and an SEC custodian, as well as presented the defense case.
Prior to joining the Firm, Mr. Srebnick served as a law clerk to former Chief U.S. District Judge Edward B. Davis of the Southern District of Florida and the late Judge Irving L. Goldberg of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Mr. Srebnick then spent three years as a trial and appellate attorney with the Federal Public Defender in Miami.
Awards and Recognition
- Invited by Law.com to author an article and lecture on the ethics of lawyering in the post-Enron era.
- Formerly served as the youngest member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), the nation’s premier criminal defense organization with more than 10,000 lawyer members. Remains co-chair of the NACDL’s Lawyer Assistance Strike Force, defending fellow lawyers facing subpoenas or sanctions in connection with their zealous advocacy. Also is co-chair of the NACDL’s Oral Argument Panel, which Mr. Srebnick launched in 2002 to assist other lawyers prepare for their appellate advocacy.
- Serves as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Miami School of Law teaching "Situational Ethics in the Adversarial System of Justice."
- AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
- Chambers & Partners Legal Guide, Florida Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations, 2004-2017
- "Best Lawyers," U.S. News 2005-2017: Miami Non-White-Collar Criminal Defense, 2006-2017; White-Collar Criminal Defense, 2006-2017; Commercial Litigation, 2016-2017
- Best Lawyers Business Edition, Criminal Defense: General Practice, 2016
- Lawyer of the Year - U.S. News Best Lawyers, Miami Criminal Defense: White-Collar, 2015
- "Most Effective Lawyers: Appellate," Daily Business Review, 2016
- “Most Effective Lawyers: Criminal Justice,” Daily Business Review, 2009
- "Most Effective Lawyers: Criminal Defense," Daily Business Review, 2005
- "Top Lawyers," South Florida Legal Guide, 2003-2017
- "Super Lawyer," Florida Super Lawyers, 2006-2016
- "Top 100 Miami Super Lawyers," Florida Super Lawyers, 2010-2015
- “Top 100 Florida Super Lawyers,” Florida Super Lawyers, 2006, 2008-2016
- "Florida Legal Elite," Florida Trend, 2006-2012, 2014-2017
- "Best of the Bar," South Florida Business Journal, 2003-2010
- Who's Who Legal: Business Crime Defence, 2008-2016
- Who's Who Legal - Compendium Edition, 2017
- "South Florida Power Player," South Florida Business Leader, 2010
- "Top 250 Lawyers in South Florida," South Florida Legal Guide, 2003
AV® Preeminent™ and BV® Distinguished™ are certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies.
- California, 1989
- Florida, 1992
- U.S. Supreme Court, 1995
- U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit, 2006
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, 2011
- U.S.Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, 2014
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, 1995
- U.S. District Court, District of Colorado, 2002
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, 1995
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, 2010
- U.S. District Court, District of Puerto Rico, 2005
- National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (Life Member)
- The Miami-Dade County Bar Association