Early Learning Advisory Services

Early Learning Advisory Services

Becker attorneys offer a unique approach to this practice area, providing clients with access to legal know-how and experience in understanding how government impacts the child care industry.  In addition, Becker has significant experience in other complimentary practice areas such as corporate, real estate, employment, and general business litigation to assist our clients.

Clients benefit from a team of experienced and highly successful attorneys with a proven track record in challenging health and safety violations.  Becker understands the financial implications that a health and safety violation can have when carrying the state’s Gold Seal designation, contracting for school readiness, or voluntary pre-kindergarten (VPK) services.  We stand ready to assist you.

As a client, you receive the following benefits:

  • Consultation for any pending or anticipated violations
  • Risk management tips on how to avoid violations
  • Thought leadership on child care best practices
  • Courses for in-service hours on health and safety standards
  • Updates on pending legislation that could impact your business
  • Monitoring and updates on pending rules that impact your business
  • Lobbying services in Tallahassee as directed by the Child Care Practice Group Advisory Council
  • Potential discounts on hourly rates when challenging health and safety violations or other legal matters that impact your business

Ellyn Bogdanoff and Mark Stempler serve as co-leaders of Becker’s Early Learning Advisory Services Practice. With over 30 years of experience in the education field, Ellyn first served as a political activist, state representative, state senator, and lobbyist, and then as the executive director, general counsel, and lead lobbyist for a statewide association of child care centers.  Her experience is unparalleled and she brings a wealth of knowledge in a complex field that must navigate numerous laws and rules of various government agencies and jurisdictions.

As a seasoned litigator, Mark has an impressive track record when challenging government agencies.  Not only has he won multimillion dollar awards for his large corporate clients, he has also successfully challenged numerous health and safety violations for the owners of child care centers throughout Florida.

Title Insurance Defense

Representing some of the nation’s largest and most respected title insurance companies, Becker is adept at efficiently and effectively resolving our client’s most complex title disputes.

Becker attorneys defend title insurance companies, their agents, and their insureds in all aspects of title claim issues including mortgage fraud, lien and mortgage priority disputes, bad faith claims, bankruptcy proceedings, and title agent due diligence. Additionally, attorneys routinely counsel clients on matters involving the interpretation of insurance policies and various other coverage issues.

Our Title Insurance Defense practice is complimented by our diverse team of real estate transactional, financial services, and litigation attorneys, as well as by the firm’s affiliated title company, Association Title Services (ATS).

Financial Services

Attuned to the intricacies of the financial industry and the numerous legal risks lenders face, our team is deeply experienced in structuring highly-complex transactions and defending the rights of our financial services clients in state and federal courts.

Representing some of the most respected financial institutions globally, our attorneys handle a diverse array of transactions including in such areas as secured lending, asset based lending, commercial finance, debt restructuring, sales and lease transactions, negotiable instruments, letters of credit, documents of title, and real estate secured transactions.

In addition, Becker defends clients in disputes ranging from loan workout, receivership, and lender liability actions to restructurings, mortgage insurance disputes, and regulatory enforcement actions.

Well-known as thought leaders in the financial services industry, attorneys serve in leadership positions and are frequently called upon to speak to industry trade groups and legal organizations such as the American College of Commercial Finance Attorneys, Commercial Finance Association, New York Institute of Credit, Turnaround Management Association, and the Risk Management Association, among others.

Representative Experience:

  • Representation of lender in an approximately $20 million asset based loan to a supplier of complex metal components and products serving the aerospace, power, and general industrial markets. Led the negotiation of a sale of several subsidiaries of the borrower and coordination of a stock purchase where the purchase price was allocated to pay down the asset based loan in part and also toward several negotiated expenses relating to the sale.
  • Representation of lender in a $17 million asset based loan and $6 million industrial development bond mortgage loan to a manufacturer of food service equipment and supplies. Led negotiations involved retiring of industrial development facility, restructure of asset based loan and cross collateralization with real estate loan.
  • Representation of lender in a $13 million asset based loan to a public company and leader in the beverage category. Led negotiations with multiple warehouses involving warehouse liens and intercreditor agreements with private hedge fund which had advanced $17 million in mezzanine debt.
  • Representation of finance company as lender in an ongoing asset based facility, amended ten times to a construction material provider. The tenth amendment involved negotiations with a public company guarantor for its acquisition of privately-held subsidiary which had previously advanced funds to the borrower.

Trust & Fiduciary

Trustees and other fiduciaries often face litigation by beneficiaries and others who allege breach of fiduciary duty. Becker represents corporate, institutional, and individual clients in disputes related to wills, trusts, estates and fiduciary issues. We also have experience representing fiduciaries, including banks and trust companies in their trust and probate disputes.

We have a comprehensive understanding of how fiduciary disputes emerge having represented clients in all types of trust and estate litigation, breaches of fiduciary duty, including improper asset management, self-dealing, conflicts of interest, improper administration and distributions, reformation of instruments, elder abuse, and removal of fiduciaries, contests on the grounds of undue influence, lack of capacity, fraud, duress and forgery.

Data Privacy, Protection, & Cybersecurity

Over the last decade, the risks associated with privacy and data security have grown significantly. In response to these ever-growing challenges the U.S. and international privacy and data protection standards have grown complex.

Becker provides its clients with the practical advice necessary to navigate cybersecurity and data security issues. The team handles litigation, compliance and regulatory counseling and internal investigations. Our lawyers have experience assisting companies in ensuring that their data collection and processing practices, data transfer procedures, privacy policies, and marketing activities are compliant with the relevant domestic, international, privacy, and data security regulations and laws. We work with our clients to provide comprehensive advice and representation in all areas related to cybersecurity, data privacy and data security. We have a wealth of experience assisting in data and breach-related issues, data protection, information security, Internet and computer law, e-commerce, consumer protection, information management and records retention and responding to cybercrimes and network intrusions.

Areas of Focus

  • Cybersecurity Preparedness and Governance
  • Incident Response and Crisis Management
  • Regulatory Enforcement and Counseling
  • Data Protection and Data Privacy
  • Privacy-Related Class Action and Other Litigation

Maritime & Admiralty

Becker Maritime attorneys have experience assisting clients in resolving all aspects of maritime disputes, including matters involving collision, personal injury, cargo loss, workers’ compensation, maritime commercial disputes and insurance coverage relating to inland marine vessels, oceangoing vessels, and passenger vessels. Our attorneys also have experience regarding the application of the Jones Act to offshore projects, cargo, passenger, and vessel movements.

As skilled litigators who understand the unique challenges confronting the maritime industry, we regularly handle complex and multijurisdictional litigation and have substantial experience defending civil, and administrative enforcement actions. Due to the nature of when and where clients’ needs arise, attorneys in this practice are on call 24 hours and travel to distant and sometimes remote locations. We work with clients to understand their objectives and always seek to resolve disputes as expeditiously as possible.

Areas of Focus

  • Arrests and attachments
  • Cargo Claims
  • Vessel Construction/Shipbuilding Disputes
  • Commercial Disputes
  • Jones Act Coastwise Trade Issues
  • Maritime Personal-Injury Claims
  • Charter Party and Contract Disputes
  • Insurance Coverage and Subrogation Matters
  • Defense of Civil and Administrative Actions
  • Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution

Brand Lobbying™

The Becker Federal Lobbying team includes Washington, D.C. insiders and Capitol Hill veterans. The team is highly regarded by Members of Congress and executive and committee staff members as effective advocates for their clients’ interests. Our lobbying team is politically diverse, which enables the members of our team to work successfully on both sides of the aisle. Because of their collective years of experience on Capitol Hill, they are skilled in identifying federal funding, programs, and services of critical interest to clients.

The team has pursued effective federal relations agendas to their successful conclusion, bringing in federal monies for projects of significant regional and national importance. These successes are the result of the close professional working relationships we have developed with key elected officials, congressional leaders, and members on the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. Furthermore, our years of congressional experience has resulted in long-standing professional relationships with staff members of many committees in the House and the Senate, which we are able to use to the benefit of our clients.

In addition, members of Becker’s local and state government practices have worked closely with House and Senate leaders, many of whom began their career in local and state government. The Federal lobbying team has extensive experience in issues relating to federal appropriations, heath care, higher education, homeland security, defense, taxation, alternative energy, local government issues, and international trade.

We differentiate ourselves by employing a creative approach that we call Brand Lobbying™. Instead of practicing emergency lobbying, or lobbying directed at a specific and oftentimes urgent issue, we seek to create long-term relationships between our clients and our target audience. We spend the majority of our time listening and educating so that when it is decision time for legislators there is seldom a need for a hard-sell – our clients are already top of mind.

Property Insurance Claims

When your home, property or business is damaged by a storm, fire, hurricane, sinkhole, flood, plumbing break, mold, roof leak, or another sudden and accidental occurrence, the instinctive response is to file an insurance claim. You pay your insurance premiums diligently in order to be prepared for this situation. You should be able to concentrate on rebuilding your property or business, rather than fighting with the insurance company. But, insurance carriers routinely wrongfully deny, underpay or delay payment. Since your insurance company has a team of attorneys and adjusters on their side, you should have your own professional on yours.

Becker will help you maximize your recovery.


Marielle E. Westerman has been handling property insurance claims on behalf of community associations since 2005. Since that time, she has recovered close to 50 million dollars from insurance companies.

Marielle has handled claims involving Allstate, QBE, State Farm, Tower Hill, Citizens, FIGA, American Coastal, Nationwide, etc. She has litigated issues involving the application of the Valued Policy Law, application multiple causation, conversion of an insurance contract into a construction contract, changes to the sinkhole statute involving the definition of “structural damage,” ensuing damage, etc., and has also brought bad faith claims against insurers.

The types of loss she has dealt with are hurricane, water, collapse, sinkhole and flood.

Hugo Alvarez has intimate knowledge of how insurance companies handle and defend first party insurance claims. After working for the current Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labarga as a law clerk, in Palm Beach County, he went to work for insurance companies. He defended insurance companies in first party claims, including bad faith matters, and learned how to navigate these claims from the insurance company’s perspective.

Since 2006, Hugo Alvarez has taken that knowledge and put it to work in successfully representing individuals, developers, businesses, and others, in resolving hundreds of first party claims totaling millions of dollars for his clients including numerous Hurricane Wilma and Hurricane Irma related claims. In 2017 the Dade County Bar Association awarded Hugo Alvarez with its top award for attorneys in Miami handling first party related insurance litigation when it awarded him with its Legal Luminary Award.

Mr. Alvarez has also lectured at the annual statewide Windstorm Conference on first party insurance related issues to an audience of claims professionals handling these claims across the State of Florida.

Sanjay Kurian has substantial experience representing community associations, owners and developers in a variety of construction and insurance issues. He also is a member of the firm’s Disaster Recovery team and has handled numerous hurricane claims representing condominium associations against their own insurance carriers. He handles claims stemming from hurricane-related wind and water damage, fire, flood, and collapse.

A frequent presenter on insurance matters, Mr. Kurian has given presentations on hurricane preparedness and post-hurricane disaster recovery and spoken on such topics as insurance claims, mold issues, indemnification obligations, liquidated damages, consequential damages, statutory warranties and common law implied warranties.

Contact Marielle, Hugo or Sanjay today for state-wide property insurance claims counsel.