Government Relations & Public Policy

Conrad & Scherer offers a combination of political experience, substantive understanding of state and local policies, and strong, ethical relationships with key individuals at multiple levels of government to help clients realize their objectives. In particular, our attorneys offer such services as the management of interaction with government officials, the development of effective legislative answers for clients impacted by governmental policies, and the assistance to clients seeking to reach government decision makers with their messages. Our government relations attorneys strive to reach a resolution to a dispute without litigation, but when a political solution cannot be reached, they work in concert with the firm’s litigation attorneys to obtain an appropriate resolution through the court system.

  • JOHN J. SCHERER
    AREAS OF PRACTICE
    BIO
    JOHN J. SCHERER
    Partner
    JOHN J. SCHERER
    EDUCATION
    • Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad law Center, Juris Doctor, 2004
    • University of Florida, M.E. Rinker School of Building Construction, Bachelor of Science, 2000
    BAR ADMISSIONS
    • Florida Bar, 2004
    BIOGRAPHY:

    John Scherer is a partner in the firm’s Fort Lauderdale office. Mr. Scherer’s government relations practice focuses on providing clients throughout South Florida with strategic counsel on procurement and government contract issues. Mr. Scherer focuses his litigation practice on construction and land use litigation.

    As a Certified General Contractor with significant experience in construction, Mr. Scherer is able to serve the firm’s clients either as special counsel or as an expert witness on large complex commercial and residential construction cases.

    In addition to his role at Conrad & Scherer, Mr. Scherer is the President and Owner of Gulf Building and Gulf Design Group. Mr. Scherer’s experience at Gulf affords his clients the benefit of his business acumen and his hands-on knowledge of construction, development and government contracts.

    Community Involvement/Affiliations
    • Broward County Enterprise Zone Board, Board Member, 2013 to present
    • City of Fort Lauderdale, Economic Advisory, Board Member, 2013 to present
    • Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Council, Board Member, 2013 to present
    • Florida Building Commission, Board Member, Governor Crist Appointee, 2009 to present
    • Construction Association of South Florida, 2006 to present
    • Board of Directors for Associated Builders and Contractors, Southeast FL Division, Director, 2006 to 2012
    • Associated Builders and Contractors, Florida Chapter, Member, 2006 to 2012
    • Unsafe Structures Board for the City of Fort Lauderdale, Board Member, 2006 to 2012
    Awards/Recognitions
    • Named “Top 40 Under 40” by South Florida Business Journal, 2014
    • Named “Top 40 Professionals Under 40 – Broward County Rising Stars” by Gold Coast Magazines, 2009
  • MICHAEL E. DUTKO, JR.
    AREAS OF PRACTICE
    BIO
    MICHAEL E. DUTKO, JR.
    Partner
    MICHAEL E. DUTKO, JR.
    EDUCATION
    • Florida State University, College of Law, Juris Doctor, 2009
    • Georgetown University, Walsh School of Foreign Service, Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service, 2006
    BAR ADMISSIONS
    • Florida, 2009
    BIOGRAPHY:

    Michael E. Dutko, Jr. is a partner in the firm’s Fort Lauderdale office. Mr. Dutko’s practice focuses on government relations and public policy, procurement and government contracts, zoning, land use and development, land use and real property litigation and general commercial and civil litigation.

    Mr. Dutko has extensive experience in the field of local government law, representing developers and builders in private practice as well as having served as Assistant City Attorney for the City of Delray Beach. In addition to providing legal services on a wide range of local government matters, he also served as the City’s board counsel for the Site Plan Review and Appearance Board, Historic Preservation Board, Code Enforcement Board, Board of Adjustment, Planning and Zoning Board and City Commission, guiding each body through the consideration of complex legal and controversial matters.

    In particular, Mr. Dutko worked closely with the City’s Planning and Zoning Department regarding the review and processing of applications for development in the City, which is widely regarded as one of South Florida’s premier locations. In addition to land development and zoning work, Mr. Dutko was a primary attorney responsible for the preparation of government contracts, review and drafting of solicitations for competitive procurements, ethics and Sunshine Law consultation, and labor and collective bargaining negotiations. Mr. Dutko was the City’s chief litigator in lawsuits arising during his tenure, including but not limited to writs of certiorari, negligence actions and ballot challenges.

    Prior to the City of Delray Beach, Mr. Dutko served as an Assistant State Attorney with the Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office. There, he gained significant and valuable jury trial experience in cases ranging from driving under the influence to first degree murder. While at the State Attorney’s Office, Mr. Dutko was selected to join the office’s Public Corruption Unit, leading a team of investigators and prosecuting complex crimes committed by public employees, police officers, and elected officials. In addition to numerous other high profile and highly publicized cases, Mr. Dutko led Palm Beach County’s first successful prosecution to trial verdict of violations of Florida’s Sunshine Law, involving a city commission’s attempt to secretly authorize unlawful payments to a city manager.

  • SYLVIE RAMPAL
    AREAS OF PRACTICE
    BIO
    SYLVIE RAMPAL
    Associate
    SYLVIE RAMPAL
    EDUCATION
    • Columbia University School of Law, Juris Doctorate, 2011
    • University of Florida, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Economics), 2006
    BAR ADMISSIONS
    • Florida Bar, 2018
    • New York Bar, 2017
    BIOGRAPHY:

    Sylvie Rampal is an Associate in the Fort Lauderdale office, where she concentrates her practice on complex commercial litigation.

    Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Rampal worked in various capacities in the business and legal industry in Florida, New York, and London, England. While working at an AM Law 100 law firm, Ms. Rampal assisted with liability and compliance issues related to Brownfield Redevelopment as well as reinsurance litigation matters.

    Ms. Rampal assisted with e-discovery disputes, securities litigation, and SEC regulatory compliance reviews for a business advisory firm.  Ms. Rampal also has significant experience working at not-for-profit legal centers, handling matters in immigration, domestic violence, and poverty law.

    Ms. Rampal’s experience in law, finance, and economics intersected while working for a public benefit corporation, where she assisted with legal and financing issues related to joint ventures between the City of New York and private developers that increased the public and affordable housing stock in New York City.

    In addition, Ms. Rampal has extensive experience in public policy research for quasi-governmental agencies, policymakers, and an economic think tank. Specifically, while at the New York City Housing Development Corporation, she undertook research on housing, economic, and public finance matters. Relatedly, while at the Adam Smith Institute, she undertook research on economic and tax policy issues.

    Outside of the law, Ms. Rampal has a passion for prosocial projects and service. Ms. Rampal regularly volunteers for a homeless outreach project at her church and has recently gone on a mission trip to Jojutla, Mexico.

    Awards/Recognitions

    • University of Florida, Presidential Scholar
    • Columbia University, The American Review of International Arbitration, Staff Editor
  • JORDANA L. JARJURA
    AREAS OF PRACTICE
    BIO
    JORDANA L. JARJURA
    Of Counsel
    JORDANA L. JARJURA
    EDUCATION
    • Pepperdine University, Juris Doctor, 2004
    • Pepperdine University, The George L. Graziadio School of Business, Master of Business Administration, 2005
    • University of Florida, Bachelor of Arts, 2001
    BAR ADMISSIONS
    • Florida Bar, 2005
    BIOGRAPHY:

    Jordana L. Jarjura serves as Of Counsel in the firm’s Fort Lauderdale office. Ms. Jarjura has significant land use and local government law experience to assist with government projects. Ms. Jarjura handles exclusively land use and government relations matters for the Firm.

    Ms. Jarjura is the former Vice Mayor of the City of Delray Beach, where she managed a $132 million general fund budget and a $250 million capital improvement plan.  She also previously served on the Palm Beach County MPO, the South Central Regional Wastewater and Disposal Treatment Board, the Delray Beach Planning and Zoning Board, and the City of Fort Lauderdale Beach CRA Advisory Board.

    Ms. Jarjura served on Palm Beach County State Attorney Aronberg’s Sober Homes Task Force since its inception.  For three consecutive Legislative sessions, the Task Force made recommended statutory modifications that provided additional regulations and stiffer criminal penalties on community recovery properties.  Additionally, during her City Commission tenure, Ms. Jarjura supported sweeping changes to Delray Beach’s land development regulations that allowed the City to define community recovery properties and to determine whether these community recovery properties were in fact operating legally and providing a minimum standard of care to its residents.  Other cities in South Florida, including the City of Fort Lauderdale, used Delray’s code changes as a template for their own.

    Before moving into land use and government affairs, Ms. Jarjura began her legal career handling land use and zoning appeals with a prominent Florida law firm.  She has found that the combination of knowledgeable lobbying with a mindful eye on litigation is very effective in meeting her clients’ needs.

    Significant Matters/Cases

    • Site plan approval from the City of Delray Beach of a 143-room hotel. In connection with the site plan approval, she assisted with the approval of four waivers to allow for underground parking and an enhanced pedestrian experience as well as architectural approval for a LEED-certified Tropical Modern structure with living walls and a 45% vegetation covered green roof.
    • Site plan approval from the Fort Lauderdale City Commission of a 175-room hotel. In connection with the site plan approval, she successfully defended against historic designation of two existing structures on the property.  She also successfully defended against a petition for writ of certiorari challenging the development order for the site plan and another challenging the denial of the historic designation.
    • Site plan approval and residential unit allocation from the Fort Lauderdale City Commission for an 18-story, 210-unit luxury apartment building. In addition to the City entitlement approvals, she successfully negotiated several agreements related to the property’s 99-year ground lease with Broward County and a plat note amendment to accomplish the desired development.
    • Site plan approval, residential unit allocation and a parking reduction from the Fort Lauderdale City Commission for an 850-unit, six-acre mixed-use marina and residential development. In conjunction with these approvals, she obtained City approval for relocation of a Protected African Rain Tree to a dedicated public park.
    • Assisted with successfully obtaining 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 Property Appraiser’s budget as approved by the Department of Revenue. In addition to the judicial relief, resolution required multi-government and public affairs advocacy with the Property Appraiser, the Broward County Commission and the Governor’s Cabinet.
    • Assisted in the successful defense of the largest marina and shipyard in the United States. The shipyard was being improperly regulated by a local fire marshal for an industry-wide practice related to spray painting of yachts.  She resolved the matter favorably for her client through the political process and without litigation.  Resolution required multi-government lobbying of the State CFO in his capacity as the State Fire Marshal, the Broward County Commission, the Broward Board of Rules and Appeals, the City of Fort Lauderdale and the local Fire Prevention Bureau.
    • Assisted with the successful passage of State legislation amending the Florida Statutes to change the legal boundary of Broward County and Palm Beach County. The boundary change resulted in accessibility to public services for the 2000+ acres as well as automatic doubling of the permissible density.
    • Assisted with the preservation of the national register designated Stranahan House before the City of Fort Lauderdale, the Fourth District Court of Appeals and the Federal Legislature.

    Awards/Recognitions

    • AV® Preeminent™ Peer Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, since 2010.
    • Recognized by Florida Super Lawyers® “Rising Star”, 2009 and 2010
    • Recognized by Daily Business Review “Rising Star: Top 40 Under the Age of 40”, 2014
    • Recognized by Lifestyle Media Group “Leaders in Law” – Finalist for Environmental Law, 2014
    • Recognized by Fortune’s Most Powerful Women in Business Issue “Women Leaders in Law”, 2015
    • Recognized by the South Florida Legal Guide “Top Land Use Attorney”, 2015 and 2016
    • Recognized by the South Florida Business Journal “Top 40 Under 40”, 2018
    • Selected as one of 50 statewide members of Leadership Florida Class 35 and now serves on the Leadership Florida’s Regional Council Board, 2017.
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