Mr. William “Bill” R. Scherer cofounded the Firm in 1974 with his late partner Rex Conrad. Over the past almost four decades, Mr. Scherer has grown Conrad & Scherer into one of Florida’s leading law firms and has expanded the Firm’s presence with offices in Brevard, North Carolina, and Quito, Ecuador.
AV® Preeminent™ Peer Rated by Martindale-Hubbell® since 1987, Mr. Scherer is a seasoned trial attorney. He has litigated over 100 trials in both jury and non-jury cases before state, appellate, and federal courts. Mr. Scherer’s cases and legal accomplishments have received coverage by major television networks such as CNN, CNBC, MSNBC and FNN and local and national newspapers such as The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, South Florida Business Journal, the Daily Business Review, the Sun-Sentinel and the Miami Herald.
While his late partner’s mantra “contested matters, any forum” continues to inspire Mr. Scherer’s practice, he primarily handles legally sophisticated matters that involve commercial and corporate litigation, mega-financial frauds, and civil rights litigation.
Most recently, Mr. Scherer was lead counsel for victims of the infamous multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme orchestrated by Scott Rothstein. Notably, Mr. Scherer led his complex litigation team and achieved an historic settlement returning to investors what is said to be the highest percentages of recovery for victims of a Ponzi scheme. News outlets described the settlement as a “huge victory” and a “landmark” lawsuit.
In 2005, Mr. Scherer served as plaintiff’s counsel in a high-profile commercial lawsuit involving the sale of a health insurance company and obtained, by jury verdict, one of the largest damage awards in Broward County history.
During the historical 2000 Presidential Election Litigation in Florida, Mr. Scherer led a team of attorneys representing President George W. Bush and personally represented the President in the Broward County recount.
In addition to his litigation practice, Mr. Scherer has also served as counsel to various government entities. From 1988 to 2005, Mr. Scherer served as General Counsel to the North Broward Hospital District, one of the largest public health care providers in the nation, with four hospitals and nine specialized treatment centers. As General Counsel for the Hospital District, he supervised teams of legal experts in healthcare and malpractice law, and was responsible for all trials and legal actions taken by or against the Hospital District. From 1997 to 1999, Mr. Scherer, along with his partner Albert L. Frevola, served as City Attorney for the City of Miramar. And also, in 2000, Mr. Scherer served as Interim General Counsel/Special Counsel for Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Mr. Scherer was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush to this position.
Mr. Scherer began his legal career as a law clerk to the Indiana Supreme Court and the Honorable Charles Fulton, Former Chief of the United States District Court for the South District of Florida.
Outside his practice of law, Mr. Scherer, along with his wife and partner – Anne, has been developing real estate since the late 1970s. Significantly, Mr. Scherer has developed large scale residential, mixed-use and office developments in Downtown Fort Lauderdale.
- American Board of Trial Advocates, Member/“Advocate,” 1989 to present
- Broward Workshop, Board Member, 2002 to 2012
- Broward County Ethics Commission, 2009 to 2010
- City of Fort Lauderdale Downtown Development Authority, Board Member, 1989 to 1996 and 2003 to 2010
- Franklin College Board of Trustees, 2000 to 2008
- Judicial Nominating Commission for the Seventeenth Circuit, Gubernatorial Appointee (Governor Martinez, Governor Bush and Governor Scott), 1987 to 1999, 2001 to 2003, 2003 to 2007 (Chair in 2006), 2011 to 2012
- Judicial Nominating Commission for the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Gubernatorial Appointee (Governor Bush), 1999 to 2003
- Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Interim General Counsel, Gubernatorial Appointee (Governor Bush), 2000
- Florida Lawyers for Bush, Statewide Co-Chair, 1998 to 2000
- Florida Lawyers for Bush, Broward and Palm Beach County Chair, 1998 to 2000
- Federal Bar, Grievance Panel for the Southern District of Florida, 1995 to 1997
- Florida Patient Compensation Fund, Board of Directors, 1992
- Federal Bar Association, Broward County Chapter, Past President, 1982 to 1983
- Lori Parrish, Broward County Property Appraiser v. Board of County Commissioners, Broward County, Florida, Case No.: 13-023090. Successfully obtained a writ of mandamus on behalf of Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Parrish after the Broward County Board of Commissioners failed to comply with its statutorily mandated duty to fully fund the first quarter payment of the Property Appraiser’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget as approved by the Department of Revenue.
- Mr. Scherer led his team of attorneys and para-professionals in the representation of a diverse group of plaintiffs seeking recovery of over $225 million in investor losses resulting from a multi-billion dollar structured settlement Ponzi scheme. This nationally publicized case focused on Toronto Dominion Bank’s (TD Bank) role in facilitating this criminal enterprise asserting novel claims that the Bank willfully aided and abetted the Ponzi fraud. After months of litigation, the matter was resolved through settlement resulting in the highest percentage recovery for victims entangled in a Ponzi scheme.
- In conjunction with the Rothstein Ponzi scheme civil litigation, Mr. Scherer served as Chairman of the Creditors’ Committee in Rothstein’s law firm’s bankruptcy proceeding from December 2009 through December 2012.
- In 2005, Mr. Scherer co-represented a doctor and health care entrepreneur who had purchased HIP of Florida—now Vista Health Plans of Florida—from HIP of New York. Scherer filed a suit on behalf of his client against HIP of New York alleging that HIP hid financial information from his client who had purchased the company for $40 million. Following a 14 week trial, and despite HIP of New York’s countersuit for breach of contract, a jury awarded one of the largest individual verdicts in Broward Circuit Court history. That award included an award of compensatory damages for fraud and the cancellation of a multi-million dollar note to the defendant. Jurors had found liability for punitive and compensatory damages, but before they could determine an award on punitive damages, the case was settled out of court.
- Mr. Scherer led his team of attorneys representing President George W. Bush during the historical 2000 vote recount and personally represented the President in the high stakes Broward County recount. Conrad & Scherer’s responsibilities as counsel to President Bush included advising the President on his legal strategy in Broward County and also acting as a key contributor in Bush’s distinguished statewide Florida legal team. In fact, President Bush has praised Conrad & Scherer’s attorneys for their important legal contributions to his success in Florida. The Firm’s contribution has also been implicitly recognized in the United States Supreme Court decision of Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000), where the high court freed Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris’s certification of George W. Bush as the winner of Florida’s electoral votes in the 2000 presidential election.
- Mr. Scherer led his team of attorneys in defending a client against a third-party government agency’s interference with Broward County’s public bid process, which put at risk an existing five year janitorial services contract for the Fort-Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport totaling approximately $69 million. The Firm successfully asserted constitutional due process violations challenging the third-party agency’s involvement in the process and deviation from the County Code and Charter. The Firm prepared to file a bid protest and to seek judicial relief for the constitutional violations if a successful political resolution was not reached.
- Mr. Scherer led his team of attorneys defending one of the largest mega-yacht marina and shipyards in the US from being overregulated by a local fire marshal and was able to resolve the matter favorably through the political process and without litigation. The fire marshal had attempted to regulate the shipyard’s spray painting of mega-yachts/large vessels within temporary enclosures – an industry-wide practice already regulated under OSHA. Resolution required multi-government lobbying of the Florida CFO in his capacity as the State Fire Marshal, Broward County Commission, the Broward Board of Rules and Appeals (“BORA”), the City of Fort Lauderdale, and the local Fire Prevention Bureau. If the fire marshal was successful, the impacts to the Tri-County’s multi-billion dollar marine industry would have been devastating. In addition to the government relations aspect of this matter, the Firm prepared to seek judicial relief for the constitutional violations if a successful political resolution was not reached.
- Successfully enforced a $41 million judgment against a prominent real estate developer by attacking an offshore Nevis trust. Pursued multiple court actions in domestic and international jurisdictions, including the Cayman Islands. This was one of the first instances in the U.S. where a U.S. creditor was able to successfully attack a Nevis trust. The case resulted in a settlement of over $44 million for the client.
- Represented a municipality and prevailed at trial in a $100 million dollar lawsuit brought by a large developer against the municipality for breach of an alleged contract to develop 11 acres of Florida oceanfront property.
- Represented a number of shareholders in claims against a large medical company for stock fraud. Was co-lead counsel in multi-week trial, handled multiple witnesses including the cross examination of the defense economic expert. The jury trial resulted in a multi-million dollar damage verdict in favor of the Firm’s clients.
- Represented a large corporate client in a garnishment action involving efforts to collect on a $400 million judgment against Cuba arising out of the torture and murder of a U.S. Citizen in the 1960s. The case involved complex issues under the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act and Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.
- AV® Preeminent™ Peer Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, since 1987
- Listed in South Florida Legal Guide, “Top Lawyers”, 2006-2014
- Listed in Super Lawyers® “Top Lawyers”, 2006 to 2013
- Recognized as an “Ultimate CEO” by the South Florida Business Journal, 2013
- Listed in Florida Trend’s Legal Elite, “Florida Legal Elite”, 2004, 2010 and 2014
- Listed in VerdictSearch’s, “Top 100 Verdicts of 2005”, 2005
- Recognized as “Most Effective Lawyer” by the Daily Business Review, 2005 and 2012
- Profiled as a “Power Broker” by the Sun-Sentinel Newspaper, 2002
- Listed as one of “The 50 Most Powerful People in Broward County” by Gold Coast Magazine, May/June 2002
- Profiled as a “Political Power Broker” by Gold Coast Magazine, April 2002
Publications/Teaching & Speaking Engagements
- C5’s 3rd Forum “Fraud, Asset Tracing and Recovery,” Miami Beach, Florida, Speaker, “Miami Vice—Unraveling the $1.2 Billion Rothstein Ponzi Scheme,” October 2012
- American Board of Trial Advocates and the Fort Lauderdale Chapter of ABOTA “Masters In Opening Statements and Closing Arguments”, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Speaker, May 2011
- BankAtlantic Attorney Seminar, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Speaker, “Unraveling a Ponzi Scheme,” October 2010
- Boys and Girls Club of Broward County Men’s Luncheon, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Featured Speaker, “The Ponzi in its Aftermath,” April 2010
- William R. Scherer Jr., Directors and Officers Face Liability – Check Your D&O Insurance Now, Smart Business – Broward/Palm Beach, April 2005 at 14.
- William R. Scherer Jr., Vital Reforms – Why Everyone Needs to Pay Attention to Proposed Medicaid Reforms, Smart Business – Broward/Palm Beach, March 2005, at 24.
- William R. Scherer, Jr., Medicaid Reform – A Call to Action, South Florida Hospital News, March 2005.
- William R. Scherer Jr., Editorial, Recommended Reforms Must Pass in Session, South Fla. Sun Sentinel, June 16, 2003, at 21A.
- William R. Scherer Jr., Sovereign Immunity in Indiana- Requiem 6 Ind. L. Rev. 92 (1972).