Faculty

Barbara ArecesHon. Barbara Areces, Judge 11th Judicial Circuit of  Florida

B.A., Florida International University
J.D., University of Miami

Upon graduation, Ms. Prieto began working at the Third District Court of Appeal as a law clerk for the Hon. Natalie Baskin.  Thereafter, she served as Career Attorney to the Hon. Robert L. Shevin, the Hon. Melvia B. Green, and currently with the Hon. Vance E. Salter.  From 1989 to 1992, she was a research and writing instructor for first-year law students at UM, and, in 1994, she began teaching legal writing at the FIU Legal Studies Institute as an adjunct professor, has taught various substantive courses, and has held various committee positions with LSI, including the Advisory Council, and Coordinator of the New Instructor’s Workshop. As an added attribute, Ms. Prieto is also the developer of the Paralegal Online program.  She has taught Legal Skills and Values III at the FIU College of Law.  Ms. Prieto has served on the Florida Office of the State Courts Administrator’s Appellate Law Clerk Education Committee and the State Courts Case Management Workgroup.

RodriguezJose723Hon. Jose Rodriguez, Judge 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida

B.A., Florida International University
J.D., Indiana University

The Honorable Jose Rodriguez earned his associate’s degree from Miami-Dade Community College in 1976. In 1978, he earned his bachelor degree from Florida International University and went to Indiana University School of Law where he graduated with a doctorate in Jurisprudence in August 1980. He practiced in his own firm, from 1982 to 1994, when he was appointed as County Court Judge by then Florida Governor Lawton Chiles. He served there until May 2000, when he was appointed as a Circuit Court Judge by Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Judge Rodriguez’s extensive career in the judicial system makes him a great asset to LSI. He is bilingual and teaches in English and Spanish, has served as a member of the LSI Advisory Council since 1997 and has been an Adjunct Professor for LSI since 1995.

Hon. Robert Jones, General Magistrate 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida

General Magistrate, Eleventh Judicial Circuit (1990-present); Administrative General Magistrate, Eleventh Judicial Circuit (1995-2005) Member, Executive Council and Legislation Committee, Family Law Section of The Florida Bar; Past Department Head and Co-Department Head, Florida College of Advanced Judicial Studies; Coordinator of the 2008, 2011 and 2012 Magistrates Program at the Florida Judicial College, Adjunct Professor (since 1994), FIU Legal Studies Program: Lecturer, The Florida Bar, other Bar associations and organizations. Received the Gavin Letts Memorial Jurist Of The Year Award from the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers on May 10, 2008.

Robert Angueira, Esq.

Denise_Gavica_Perez_Coral Gables_BodyDenise Gavica-Perez, Esq.

B.B.A, Florida International University
M.S., Florida International Univeristy
J.D., Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Borad Law Center

Denise Gavica-Pereza is a senior associate at Fragomen Worldwide where she counsels hospitals seeking to obtain non-immigrant and immigrant visas for employees including physicians, nurses, residents, fellows and all other hospital professionals. Gavica-Pereza also represents staffing agencies tasked with recruiting health care professionals. She handles a wide range of non-immigrant visas and petitions has gained extensive experience working with higher-education clients as well as clients in the entertainment and hospitality industries.

Christopher Hammon, Esq.

B.A., Florida International University, magna cum laude
J.D., Georgetown University, magna cum laude

Chris Hammon is an attorney in Miami, Florida and a frequent speaker on a variety of legal, human resources, and educational topics. He earned

Mr. Hammon practices in the areas of labor and employment litigation, arbitration, counseling, and investigation. He represents management in all variety of employment disputes before federal and state courts and administrative agencies and before various arbitral tribunals. Mr. Hammon also provides human resources counseling advice to employers on compliance and employee management and relations issues. Mr. Hammon has experience representing employers in a wide rage of industries. Hammon also has significant expertise assisting domestic employers with labor and employment issues relating to their operations abroad, and with counseling foreign companies on compliance issues involving their U.S. Operations.

Mr. Hammon is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.c., where he received a number of distinctions, including induction into the Oder of the Coif. Before law school, he graduated from Florida International University’s School of Policy and Management in Miami, Florida.


Oliver Oliver J. Langstadt, Esq.

B.A., University of Miami
J.D, University of Miami

Oliver Langstadt is the principal shareholder of the law firm Oliver J. Langstadt. P.A, established in 1989. He has accumulated a wealth of expertise and knowledge in his practice areas, immigration, business law, probate/estate planning and family law. He has represented a wide variety of clients in both simple and highly complex matters.

Langstadt is also an Arbitrator who received his training from the American Arbitration Association (AAA), of which he is a commercial panel member. He has also lectured at the AAA Neutrals Conference in Phoenix, Arizona.

Langstadt is a family law mediator who has mediated dozens of family law cases and is well versed in all aspects of family law. He has also been a special master hearing officer for The City of Coral Gables since 2006.

Since 2008, he has served a professor in the Legal Studies Institute, teaching courses in contract law and business organizations. He has also taught seminars in mortgage foreclosure defense and administrative law.

Grace Lopez

B.A., Barry University
M.A., George Washington University

Ms. Lopez has been the Office Administrator for the Miami office of the International law first of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, L.L.P. since April, 1998. Before that she was the Law Firm Administrator for a Litigation Firm, Pyszka, Douberley, Blackmon, Levy & Savola, P.A. Her experience consists of Legal Management, Human Resources, Payroll Administration, Accounting, Finance, Benefits, Pension Plan Administration, Compensation, Purchasing, Diversity Training, and Operations Management. Grace has a Master’s degree in Law Firm Management from The George Washington University and is certified in Legal Lean Six Sigma. She has an undergraduate degree from Barry University in Professional Administration; a Human Resource Management Certificate from Barry University, Law Office Management Certificate from Florida International University and a Graduate Certificate in Law Firm Management from The George Washington University.

Grace has been a member of the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA) and the South Florida Chapter of Legal Administrators since 1993. She has served on the board of directors for more than seven years in the capacity of President, President-Elect, Vice-President, and Director. She has written many articles for the Association of Legal Administrators Chapter’s Network Newsletter and continues to serve as a mentor to the chapter and its members. Grace became one of the first certified diversity trainers at her law firm and has trained attorney and staff members on diversity issues. Grace has been an adjunct professor at the Florida International University in the Legal Studies Institute, teaching the Law Office Management Certificate course since 2000. Most recently, Grace was honored the Associations of Legal Administrator’s Region 2 Volunteer of the Year Award.

Kevin Opolka, Esq.

B.A., Florida International University
J.D., University of Florida

Mr. Opolka is president of Kevin S. Opolka, P.A. since 1984.  He has been a member in good standing of the Florida Bar since 1982 and is a Section member of the Business Law, Family Law, Health Law and Entertainment and Sports Law Sections.  Mr. Opolka is admitted to practice in all Florida courts, as well as the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Since 2004, Mr. Opolka is an Adjunct Professor at the Florida International University / Legal Studies Institute Program teaching courses in Civil Procedures, Advanced Civil Litigation, Trial Techniques, Business Organizations, and Contracts.  He also serves as member of the LSI Advisory Council Committee that assists in curriculum development and adjustment.


Mercedes Prieto, Esq.

B.A., University of Miami, magna cum laude
J.D., University of Miami, magna cum laude

Upon graduation, she began working at the Third District Court of Appeal as a Career Attorney and still currently sits on their staff. From 1989 to 1992, she was an instructor for first year law students at UM, and, in 1994, she began working for the FIU Legal Studies Institute as adjunct professor teaching several core and specialty courses. Since 1997, she has been a member of the LSI Advisory Council, as well as Coordinator of the LSI New Instructor’s Workshop. As an added attribute, Ms. Prieto is also the developer of the Paralegal Online program.

Christopher Reyes, Esq.

Aida RodriguezAida Rodriguez

B.A., Florida International University

Ms. Rodriguez is the Executive Director at Special Counsel, Inc.  Special Counsel Inc.  partners with law firms and corporate legal departments to provide cost-effective managed document review and legal work-force solutions. Special Counsel’s expertise lies in identifying niche candidates for specialized practice areas and hosts a top team dedicated to securing direct hire placements.

Experts in project management on large scale electronic document reviews, Special Counsel boasts a team of in-house Project Managers, as well as a virtual desktop management system found with SightManager.  Special Counsel’s specialty includes foreign language document reviews in all languages including Spanish, Portuguese, German, Korean, Chinese, Turkish, French, Italian, Mandarin and Japanese.

Beatrice “Betty” Rodriguez

B.S., University of Pheonix
Paralegal Certificate, Florida International University

Beatrice “Betty” Rodriguez earned her Paralegal Certificate from Florida International University in 1998. She earned her undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice Administration. She has been a Legal Assistant at Richman Green, P.A. since 2005. She has extensive experience in Commercial and Complex Litigation. Prior to joining Richman Greer, Ms.. Rodriguez worked as a Judicial Assistant for the Miami-Dade County Circuit and County Courts for 16 years where she was assigned to Judge Carol R. Gersten while she sat in the Criminal, Civil and Family Divisions, followed by Judge Carroll J. Kelly in the Domestic Violence Division. She began working for the FIU Legal Studies as an adjunct professor teaching in the Legal Assistant Certificate Program and has lectured on the topic of E-filing. She now also serves as a student career advisor.


Christian Rodriguez, Esq.

LeoLeo Spitale, Jr., Esq.
B.A., Florida International University
M.A., State University of New York at Buffalo

J.D., University of Miami  After graduating law school Leo Spitale, Jr.  first went to work for the State Attorney’s Office in Tampa Florida. He then transferred to the Miami State Attorney’s office headed by Janet Reno where he worked until 1986.  His first job in private practice was in civil litigation.  He then went into private practice for himself until 1991 when he became a partner in Suri and Spitale until 1996 specializing in criminal and civil Litigation.

Since 1996, he has been in private practice specializing in Real Estate matters and is currently a Florida real estate broker. In 2010, he became Board Certified in Real Estate law and has taught both the course for Title Insurance and realtor pre-licensing preparation for Miami Dade College for four years.  Since 2009, he has been appointed attorney special magistrate for the Miami-Dade Value Adjustment Board hearing tax payer appeals.

Vincent-Warger-150x150Vincent J. Warger, Jr., Esq.

Vincent J. Warger, Jr., J.D. is Director, Public Health, Crew Medical, at Royal Caribbean International / Celebrity Cruises / Azamara Club Cruises in Miami, FL. Warger, Jr. graduated from Florida International University in Miami, and the Nova Southeastern Law School, Ft. Lauderdale, FL. He has been an adjunct professor at Miami-Dade College for 22  years, and Florida International University for five years, and is an active member of The Florida Bar. Warger, Jr. joined Royal Caribbean International in 1994 and held various directorship positions there including director of risk management, and director of claims and medical services. Publications include Medicine on the Seas, Tulane Maritime Law Journal (2003), and Amendments to Athens Convention Threaten US Maritime Law, International Travel Law Journal (2001).