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Reflecting on the past 10 years
A decade ago, South Florida Legal Guide launched a new listing of Top CPAs and Litigation Support Professionals. To commemorate that anniversary, we invited several top professionals who have been recognized every year since then to reflect on their practices.  We asked them about changes in their practices, the value of peer recognition and their accomplishments over the last decade.

Cecelia Garber
Marcum LLP
In the past 10 years, the number of professionals who dabble in litigation support has increased. The quality of the work suffers because those who dabble often do not do the extensive work necessary and the layperson only focuses on the fees charged. Peer recognition has helped to build my practice by way of conflicts that become referrals from other professionals. My most important accomplishments are balancing the litigation support work with representing business owners and thus reducing their risk in litigation.
Stanley Foodman
Foodman CPAs and Advisors
The profession of public accounting is flooded with new graduates holding fifth-year degrees, which has led to an erosion of professionalism in the litigation support niche.   In contrast, our firm has been increasingly recognized by our peers with professional referrals.  The accomplishment that stands out the most during the last 10 years is our firm’s recognition as a subject matter expert in the area of international and domestic complex tax controversy and compliance matters.  This has led to being chosen by segments of the regulated financial services industry to assist with their ongoing regulatory implementation efforts as well as being a firm of choice for litigation support during litigated criminal and civil tax matters.  
Maria Yip
Yip Associates
In 2008, I left one of the nation’s largest accounting firms and started my own firm. Six years later, we have 16 people and provide clients with forensic accounting, tax and bankruptcy consulting from our offices in Miami, Boca Raton and New York. In addition, three years ago I was appointed to  serve as a Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee for the Southern District of Florida (Miami Panel), and continue to routinely serve as an expert witness on other matters as well. The recognition and support from my colleagues has been and continues to be greatly appreciated. 
Alan Fiske
Fiske & Company
The demand for our litigation services is increasing due to the need for technology savvy skills for e-discovery as well as the analytics in a case. The advent of the digital age and the paperless environment has impacted the legal profession and forever changed the way we approach a case with counsel. Peer recognition, awards and acknowledgements from within the legal industry can be shared across many media channels, generating referrals and prospects across a wider footprint.  We are proud to be consistently recognized as one of the “Top 25 Litigation Support Firms” in South Florida. We are well positioned to deliver the perspectives and insights needed to win a case or yield a positive outcome.
W. Dave Ellrich, Jr.
Moore, Ellrich & Neal, P.A.
The biggest change in our litigation support practice has been geographical dispersion.  We now routinely work on matters from Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, West Palm Beach and Miami.  We find that today’s technology enables us to provide timely and effective client service without a physical continued physical presence.  The growing demand for our services in the greater Miami market has resulted in our opening a Miami office as of January 2015.  Peer recognition is a valuable asset in our business.  The respect of our peers enhances referral opportunities and increases our credibility.  We make an effort to cultivate our relationships with our peers whenever possible.
  Philip Shechter
Cherry Bekaert, LLP
One big change is the growing recognition of the value of forensic accountants to assist in case strategy, depositions, discovery, pleadings and attending mediation, where most cases settle. Clients appreciate the CPA’s involvement in the case strategy, preparing them for mediation, discovery, pleadings and attending mediations. Peer recognition helps to build a practice from lawyers. In terms of accomplishments, I have participated in nearly 5,000 litigation matters and have testified more than 800 times. I believe that being qualified as an expert in 800 courtrooms is my biggest accomplishment as a CPA.
 Raymond Zomerfeld
Vizcaino Zomerfeld, LLP
My litigation support practice has grown significantly in the past 10 years. I appreciate the opportunity to work with some terrific attorneys in the litigation field, both in family law and corporate litigation matters. Without a doubt, peer recognition helps build our practice. We appreciate the recognition we receive from our peers, and that recognition of a job well done keeps us coming back for more work. Over the past 10 years, we have been able to work with great law firms and learn from terrific professionals, creating a rewarding experience.
 
Sandra Perez
Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors and Accountants
Cases have become more complicated in the past ten years, often because parties have wealth protection strategies in place, such as trust and estate plans and pre-marital agreements to protect family assets in divorce. There are more frequent efforts to find ways to break the prenups and trusts. Another change is that technology has helped clients become more sophisticated. I believe matrimonial and forensic accounting is definitely a referral business, and throughout my career, I’ve done things to build and nurture my network.  Making director was an important personal accomplishment for me.  
 
Barry Mukamal
KapilaMukamal
The Daubert challenge of 1993, further expanded by Kumho Tire Co. in 1999, raised the bar for every expert witnesses involved in U.S. jurisprudence, and the challenges to expert witness testimony have increased exponentially.  While some of these challenges are meritorious, others are being misused as a tactic to drive up costs and create delays in litigation.  I attribute the growth of my practice, in part, to peer recognition.  Over this past decade, I have significantly expanded my litigation support practice in the areas of bankruptcy, accounting forensics and expert witness services.  None of those achievements would have been possible without the building of a team of dedicated, diligent and highly skilled professionals.  
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