Joel E. Bernstein, Partner
Joel was raised in Winthrop, Massachusetts, and attended the University of Massachusetts where he received a B.B.A. degree in 1976. He attended the University of Miami School of Law where he was awarded his Juris Doctor degree, with honors, in 1980. Joel is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell.
Since his admission to the Florida Bar in 1980, Joel's practice has been in insurance defense. Over the last 38 years, Joel has focused his practice on providing counsel to insureds, insurance coverage matters and extra-contractual claims. Joel actively prosecutes declaratory judgment actions on coverage issues on behalf of insurance companies.
Joel is a member of the Florida Bar and is admitted to practice before the United States District Court of the Southern and Middle Districts of Florida. In addition, he is a member of the American Bar Association, the Dade County Bar Association, the Broward County Bar Association, the South Florida Claims Association, the Fort Lauderdale Claims Association, the Florida Defense Lawyers Association and the Defense Research Institute. He is also involved in many community activities.
Joel has two sons, Brian and Daniel. Brian is an attorney. Danny is a computer programmer and lives in Maryland. Joel and Rhonda Lewis reside in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Joel is an avid golfer.
Steven J. Chackman, Partner
Steven was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and raised in Margate, New Jersey. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Dickinson College in 1980 and his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Miami, School of Law, in 1983. Steven is Board Certified by the Florida Bar in Civil Trial Law.
His practice consists of complex insurance litigation, first party property matters, professional liability cases, products liability, premises liability and commercial litigation.
Steven is a member of the Florida Bar and is admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. He is also a member of the Trial Bar of the United States District Court. In addition, Steven is a member of the Dade County Bar Association, the Broward County Bar Association, the Florida Defense Lawyers Association, the Defense Research Institute, the South Florida Claims Association, and the Fort Lauderdale Claims Association. Steven has served on the Florida Bar Grievance Committee. His work has led to numerous public and private speaking engagements.
Steven is individually rated as an AV peer reviewed attorney by Martindale-Hubbell, for very high to preeminent legal ability and very high ethical standards.
Steven and his wife, Ann, have four sons, one daughter and live in Hollywood, Florida. Steve is proud to have his son, Michael, as an associates for the firm.
Jonathan G. Liss, Partner
Jonathan was born and raised in New York City. He attended the State University of New York at Albany, where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts in 1991 and the University of Miami School of Law obtaining his Juris Doctor degree in 1994.
In law school, he participated in the University of Miami’s highly regarded litigation skills program and he achieved recognition in the Annual Client Counseling Competition.
After graduating law school in 1994, he was admitted to practice law in Florida, and joined Bernstein & Chackman P.A. as an Associate. He was also admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, in 1995.
Jonathan became a partner in the firm in 2001.
Jonathan has handled thousands of litigated matters and has tried in excess of eighty cases in state and federal court as lead counsel, in the areas of insurance coverage, premises liability, automobile liability, personal injury protection, uninsured motorists, subrogation, professional negligence and defamation.
He is a member of the Defense Research Institute, Florida Defense Lawyers Association, Broward County Bar Association, and has lectured on various topics related to insurance issues.
He is married to wife and attorney/mediator, Geri Liss, and resides with Geri and their three daughters in Plantation, Florida. Jonathan is also interested in music and athletics. He is individually rated as an “AV” peer reviewed attorney by Martindale Hubbell, for very high to preminent legal ability and very high ethical standards. He has been Board Certified in Civil Trial Law by the Florida Bar since 2007 and was re-certified in 2012 and 2017.
Stephen A. Berkovits, Associate
Born and raised in South Florida, Stephen received his undergraduate degree in business administration from the University of Florida in 2001 and his law degree from Nova Southeastern University in 2004.
During law school, he worked on the ILSA Journal of International & Comparative Law and was involved with the publication’s international citation project. He also wrote an article on the viability of a professional sports franchise in Las Vegas which was published in the June 2005 edition of the Gaming Law Review.
Stephen is admitted to practice in all Florida state courts and the U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Middle Districts of Florida. His practice involves first and third party insurance matters with a focus on insurance coverage issues and probate.
Stephen resides with his wife, Michelle, and two young children in Miami, Florida. In addition to opining on coverage issues, Stephen enjoys providing recommendations for movies, restaurants, or gadgets.
John C. Borrego, Associate
John was born in Cuba and raised in Argentina and Miami. He attended Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan earning a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. In 1988 he earned his law degree graduating from the American University, Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C. and has practiced in South Florida ever since.
John’s areas of practice include bodily injury, automobile liability and insurance defense.
John has also represented injured claimants during his 25 years of practice.
Michael B. Chackman, Associate
After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2010, Michael went on to attend the St. Thomas University School of Law. Michael had the privilege of interning with Judge William Hoeveler in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida and Judge Michael Robinson in the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit in Broward County, Florida. Additionally, Michael interned with the Dade County Public Defender’s office. At St. Thomas, Michael was awarded the book award in his Property I class and became a student instructor to first year students. Michael graduated cum laude in 2013.
Following graduation, Michael decided to follow in his father’s footsteps by joining the firm. He practices in the areas of first party property claims, professional liability, negligence matters, as well as personal injury protection cases.
Outside of the office, Michael enjoys playing sports.
Richard A. Chackman, Associate
Richard was born and raised in South Florida. He attended the University of Florida where he obtained a B.A. in Economics. Richard went on to attend University of Miami, in a dual-degree program, where he obtained his Masters of Business Administration and his Juris Doctor. While at University of Miami, Richard had the pleasure of clerking for the Honorable Judge Robert Rosenberg in the complex litigation division of the 17th Circuit.
Richard joined BCLR in 2011 and has since been working in the area of first party property, insurance agent liability and in matters of construction defect litigation.
Richard and his wife, Helena, live in Hallandale Beach. Outside of the office, Richard can usually be found swimming, biking or running as he likes to compete in triathlons and endurance sports.
Neil Rose, of Counsel
With 29 years of experience as a lawyer in Florida, Neil has a statewide appellate practice. Board Certified by the Florida Bar in Appellate Practice (four times) since 1994, he has handled hundreds of appellate matters and has over 130 published appellate decisions to his credit. From 1980-1994, he was Designated by the Florida Bar as a Specialist in Appellate Practice. He has handled appeals in all five district courts of appeal and in the Supreme Court of Florida, as well as in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Neil was appointed by the President of the Florida Bar as a member of the Appellate Rules Committee of the Florida Bar, 1989-1992 & 2004-2010. He is a Charter Member of the Appellate Practice and Advocacy Section of the Florida Bar. He is also a published author on the law. Neil has been selected by Super Lawyers Magazine as one of the top lawyers in appellate practice for five consecutive years.
Neil Rose devotes his practice exclusively to appellate litigation and complex trial-level motions, assisting trial lawyers in court and handling referrals from attorneys and their clients throughout the state of Florida. Neil is the "best friend" of the trial lawyer, counseling trial lawyers on the creation and protection of an appellate record. He handles appellate litigation, including working with trial counsel to identify the issues on appeal, designating the record on appeal, prosecuting and defending appellate motions, researching and drafting appellate briefs and presenting oral arguments. A representative sample of Neil’s published opinions can be found at www.myappeal.com.
Neil Rose is available for referrals, consultations, and/or co-counsel arrangement, depending on the needs of the trial attorney and client. Neil also offers expert testimony on attorney’s fees or other appellate issues. Fees are on a case-by-case basis and can be on a contingency, hourly, or flat fee basis. No matter what the case, Neil is committed to effective advocacy throughout the trial and appellate court system, whether it’s researching the law, writing a memo or legal brief, or presenting legal argument to the court.
Neil resides in North Miami Beach with his wife Jill, their daughter Summer and son Nathan.
Douglas de Almeida, Associate
Doug was born in West Virginia and raised in South Florida. He attended the University of Florida earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1979. He obtained his law degree in 1982 also from the University of Florida. He was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1983 and is also admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
In 1985 he returned to South Florida and began his career in the area of insurance defense litigation mainly in the areas of motor vehicle negligence claims, motor carrier claims, uninsured motorist claims and premises liability. Over the past twenty three years he has tried in excess of twenty five cases in state and federal court as lead counsel, obtaining numerous favorable verdicts in counties throughout Florida.
Doug is also a member of the Florida Defense Lawyers Association. In the past he was an approved instructor by the Florida Department of Financial Services to teach continuing education courses to insurance adjusters throughout the State of Florida.
Doug and his wife, Jane, have two lovely daughters and live in Davie, Florida.
Steven A. Woods, Jr., Associate
Mr. Woods helped establish the Miami staff counsel office for the personal lines automobile division for AIG. The division soon joined with Farmers Insurance Company, and eventually became the Law Offices of Brown & Leano.
Mr. Woods became a Staff Attorney in the Law Offices of Brown & Leano, which was the branch legal office for Farmers Insurance Group. Mr. Woods vigorously handled all automobile insurance defense files in addition to Personal Injury Protection defense files. Mr. Woods was responsible for the management of his cases from their inception through trial.
Mr. Woods is admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of the United States, District of Columbia, New York and all Florida state courts and the U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Middle Districts of Florida. His practice includes bodily injury, automobile liability and insurance defense.
Talal Rashid, Associate
Talal was born and raised in South Florida. He attended Florida International University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in 2014.
Talal went on to earn his Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law, graduating in 2018. While in law school, Talal interned with the Honorable John J. O’Sullivan of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. He also served as a Senior Notes and Comments Editor for the University of Miami Business Law Review.
Rafael Torres, Associate
Rafael was born and raised in Central Florida. He went on to attend the University of South Florida where he obtained B.A. degrees in Criminology and Psychology.
Rafael received his law degree from Florida International University, where he competed in several Trial Team Competitions throughout the State of Florida. He also served as President of the Trial Team as a student and as a Coach after graduation.
Outside of the office, Rafael enjoys kayaking and camping.
Vanesti E. Bennett, Associate
Ms. Bennett is admitted to practice law in Florida, Washington D.C. and Georgia, as well as the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. She received her Juris Doctor, Cum Laude, from St. Thomas University School of Law, where she was actively involved as a member in the Phi Delta Phi International Spellman Inn (Legal Honors Fraternity), Peter T. Fay Inn of Court, Caribbean Law Students Association, Public Interest Law Students Association, Black Law Students Association and served as an Ambassador of Student Bar Association. She was also on the Dean's List, was a Dean's Merit Scholarship Award recipient, worked as a Law Clerk, was a Judicial Intern for the Honorable Gisela Cardonne-Ely of the 11th Judicial Circuit, as well as for the Honorable Michael A. Robinson of the 17th Judicial Circuit during her time in law school. Prior to becoming an Attorney, Ms. Bennett obtained her Paralegal degree and worked as a Certified Paralegal for several years.
Ms. Bennett’s practice areas include construction litigation, bodily injury claims, auto negligence and insurance defense. Prior to joining Bernstein Chackman Liss, Ms. Bennett represented clients in the following areas, including, but not limited to: commercial litigation, civil litigation, construction litigation, premises liability, auto negligence and insurance defense.
Ms. Bennett is currently an Adjunct Professor of Law at Nova Shepard Board College of Law for the Masters of Science in Law Program.
Ms. Bennett is a member of the following professional and legal organizations: Broward County Bar Association (Commercial Law, Construction Law), Stephen R. Booher Inn of Court, and the National Association of Women In Construction. She is also currently serving as an executive board member for the T.J. Reddick Bar Association (2018-2019).
Joel E. Bernstein
Steven J. Chackman
Jonathan G. Liss
Stephen A. Berkovits
John C. Borrego
Michael B. Chackman
Richard A. Chackman
Neil Rose, of Counsel
Douglas de Almeida
Steven A. Woods
Vanesti E. Bennett
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Suite 610 North Tower
Hollywood, FL 33021
Tel. 954-986-9600 | Fax. 954-929-1166