MIAMI, FLORIDA – January 11, 2021 Spiritus Law announced today that Steven W. Zelkowitz has joined the firm as Managing Partner. Mr. Zelkowitz previously worked with the firm’s founding partners, Marbet and Robert Lewis, for more than 10 years. Today, the team is reunited to expand Spiritus Law’s core services and bolster recovery efforts for its hospitality clients that are struggling to recover from the pandemic. Jonathan Portuondo is also joining Spiritus Law as an associate and will work closely with Mr. Zelkowitz.
As the former Managing Partner of Fox Rothschild’s Miami Office, Mr. Zelkowitz brings more than 30 years of experience in business and transactional matters in the real estate and financial services industries, including infrastructure & development, hospitality, and public/private partnerships. His government relations experience and knowledge of commercial real estate transactions and finance will enhance the firm’s niche regulatory practices and offer more comprehensive representation for its struggling hospitality and restaurant clients. Mr. Zelkowitz also brings the additional benefit of his law firm managerial experience, having previously served as Managing Partner of the Miami offices of Am Law 100 and Am Law 200 law firms.
Mr. Zelkowitz’s practice includes complex real estate, land use and zoning matters for public and private clients including the sale and purchase, development, and financing of commercial and multi-family residential projects. His expertise enables him to attract a diverse client base including an array of foreign and domestic clients, including condominium and hotel development and major public infrastructure construction projects, such as airports and sports complexes. He also has significant financial services representation for institutional and private lenders and borrowers. Mr. Zelkowitz assists businesses establishing in and/or relocating to Florida by leveraging tax and other financial incentives. Steven’s government relations practice includes serving as general and special counsel to Community Redevelopment Agencies across South Florida.
“The natural synergy between Steven’s practice and our existing practices supports our firm’s strategic growth plan.” said Robert F. Lewis, Co-Founding Partner, and the firm’s COO. “Over the past 15 years as friends, colleagues and even competitors, we have been fortunate to build a relationship of trust with Steven. Our mutual respect and our commitment to collaboration will enable us to develop innovative solutions for our clients as they adjust to their new normal and rebuild their financial platforms.”
“In addition to his legal expertise, we are confident in Steven’s leadership. Steven served as the Managing Partner at one of the first law firms I worked with as a young associate, so we have already experienced the best and worst of each other through those growing pains.” said Marbet Lewis, Co-Founding Partner and CEO. “Steven shares our common vision for the future of Spiritus Law. Steven will benefit from our flexible client management platform while our team and clients will benefit from his diverse experience in legal services that are vital for our clients in the hospitality and entertainment industries especially restaurants and movie theaters.”
“Spiritus Law is already known as a powerhouse nationally in the alcohol and hospitality industries. I am confident that my depth of experience will further cement the firm’s reputation in those industries in 2021 and beyond,” said Mr. Zelkowitz. “I am both humbled and excited to reunite with Marbet and Rob, and in applying my decades of experience growing law firms for the benefit of Spiritus Law and its clients at this pivotal moment in history.”
Mr. Zelkowitz has been recognized for his innovative work in the real estate realm over the years. Most notably, he was recognized as a Top Lawyer by South Florida Legal Guide, Rated AV Preeminent™ by Martindale-Hubbell, was deemed a Florida Trailblazer by the Daily Business Review and was ranked in the category of Real Estate by Chambers & Partners USA.
In addition to Mr. Zelkowitz’s professional endeavors, he is a supporter of his home communities. He previously served as Vice Mayor and Councilman for Miami Shores Village.
Mr. Zelkowitz earned a Juris Doctorate Degree and Master of City & Regional Planning from Rutgers University School of Law. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Massachusetts. He is admitted to practice law in Florida, New Jersey, and New York.
Mr. Portuondo graduated with a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Miami School of Law. He has interned at the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office and worked as an associate for several small to midsize law firms in South Florida. Mr. Portuondo, who is fluent in Spanish, has been admitted to practice law in the Southern District of Florida.