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Herman Russomanno honored by Catholic lawyers

Exemplary trial lawyer given 'Lex Christi, Lex Amoris' award at Miami Red Mass

William VanderWyden, left, presents the

Photographer: MARLENE QUARONI | FC

William VanderWyden, left, presents the "Lex Christi, Lex Amoris" award to Herman Russomanno. Standing with them, at right, is William Mulligan, president of the Miami Catholic Lawyers Guild.

MIAMI | Practicing law runs in the his family, said Herman Russomanno after the Miami Catholic Lawyers Guild gave him the 2015 “Lex Christi, Lex Amoris” award.

“My two sons, Herman and Chris, are lawyers,” said Russomanno at a reception that followed the guild’s annual Red Mass, celebrated April 29 at Gesu Church in downtown Miami. “I call my four grandchildren ‘trial lawyers in training’ even though the oldest is only five years old.”

Flanked by the Knights of Columbus, Archbishop Thomas Wenski processes into Gesu Church for annual Red Mass along with Father Eduardo Alvarez, Gesu pastor. Circuit Court Judge Jason Bloch is on the left.

Photographer: MARLENE QUARONI | FC

Flanked by the Knights of Columbus, Archbishop Thomas Wenski processes into Gesu Church for annual Red Mass along with Father Eduardo Alvarez, Gesu pastor. Circuit Court Judge Jason Bloch is on the left.

The Red Mass dates back to the 13th century when it officially opened the term of the court for most European countries. Celebrants wore red vestments to signify the fire of the Holy Spirit, whose guidance they prayed for. Members of the Miami legal profession — from judges and lawyers to legal secretaries and bailiffs — attended the annual Mass.

Russomanno has a long list of accomplishments. He was president of the Florida Bar in 2000 and president of the Miami-Dade County Bar in 1993-94. He was named 2001 Florida Trial Lawyer of the Year and is one of the top trial lawyers in the country. 

William VanderWyden, the 2014 “Lex Christi, Lex Amoris” award recipient, called Russomanno an honorable man.“He’s been president of almost everything,” VanderWyden said as he presented the award to Russomanno. “However, he never talks about his accomplishments. He’s a man of service.”

Russomanno said that he was honored to be included among the Lawyers Guild award recipients.“I’m so proud of this organization,” he said. “All of you in the audience inspire me. You practice with commitment.”

Archbishop Thomas Wenski delivers his homily at Red Mass.

Photographer: MARLENE QUARONI | FC

Archbishop Thomas Wenski delivers his homily at Red Mass.

Russomanno dedicated the award to his wife Sally, whom he met 50 years ago when they were both teenagers in their native New Jersey. Both attended Catholic schools and he said, for him, it was love at first sight.

“Sally is truly a woman of faith,” he said. “She’s been my moral compass all these years. I accept this award and dedicate it to my wife, Sally.”

Sally Russomanno teaches religious education and pre-school at their home parish, St. Louis in Pinecrest.

Herman Russomanno is an adjunct professor teaching trial advocacy at St. Thomas University School of Law. He also chairs STU’s law school board of advisors. He graduated from Rutgers University in 1971 then obtained his law degree from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala.

In his homily at the Mass, Archbishop Thomas Wenski said that the words from the day’s Gospel, “I come into the world as light so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness,” should both comfort and challenge the legal professionals. 

“You come together as members of the legal profession and members of a faith community to invoke the assistance of the Holy Spirit at this annual Red Mass,” he said. “We seek a renewed outpouring of his seven-fold gifts: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.

“We also invoke the intercession of St. Thomas More, the patron saint of lawyers and public servants,” the archbishop continued. “May the example of this martyr, who professed to be ‘the King’s good servant but God’s servant first’, inspire us, and may his prayers strengthen you and all members of the bar.”   

Taking part in the Red Mass at Gesu Church, front row, from left: Circuit Judge Bertila Soto, Circuit Judge Beatrice Butchko, Circuit Judge Milton Hirsch, Circuit Judge Samantha Ruiz-Cohen, Appeals Court Judge Vance Salter, Circuit Judge Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat.

Photographer: MARLENE QUARONI | FC

Taking part in the Red Mass at Gesu Church, front row, from left: Circuit Judge Bertila Soto, Circuit Judge Beatrice Butchko, Circuit Judge Milton Hirsch, Circuit Judge Samantha Ruiz-Cohen, Appeals Court Judge Vance Salter, Circuit Judge Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat.

 

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