Rene Ruiz is a Shareholder in the Firm’s Labor & Employment Department and a member of the Firm’s Board of Directors. Rene has been honing his craft as a labor & employment attorney in Miami since his admission to the Florida Bar in 2001, at the age of 23. Rene began his career at a prominent national law firm, and was mentored by John-Edward Alley, a titan in the labor law field. In 2007, Rene was first included in The Best Lawyers in America as an associate lawyer (one of the very few attorneys to do so in the history of the prestigious publication). The following year, he was voted into partnership at the age of 30.
Rene partners with private and public sector employers to formulate winning strategies for achieving effective labor relations and other business goals. A skilled negotiator, Rene has helped save his clients millions of dollars through collective bargaining, administrating union grievances, handling arbitrations, defending unfair labor disputes before the National Labor Relations Board and the Public Employees Relations Committee, and managing union certifications and elections. In addition, Rene trains employers on union avoidance and strike preparation, and has successfully navigated through actual and threatened strikes and other work stoppages. Rene also litigates wage and hour disputes, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblower and harassment cases, and matters arising under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Rene has amassed an impressive list of international and national clients and has achieved many notable victories on their behalf. For example, Rene has successfully negotiated numerous collective bargaining agreements for his unionized clients that were ratified by the respective labor unions without a work stoppage. These labor agreements have helped save his clients costs by expanding their management rights, restructuring pensions and other future liabilities, and attaining numerous union concessions. In addition, Rene has successfully defended the broad application of the “agricultural exemption” under the Fair Labor Standards Act by winning summary judgment collective actions challenging the application of the overtime exemption for various agricultural employees. Rene has also successfully defended numerous restaurant and retail clients throughout Florida against cases alleging barriers to disabled access.
Outside of his legal accolades, Rene co-founded the Sports Leadership Arts and Management (SLAM!) Academy network of public charter schools. SLAM! serves an overwhelmingly minority student population and unlocks seemingly unattainable opportunities within the sports industry for its students by preparing them for a myriad of sports-related careers including sports medicine, media production, physical therapy, marketing, nutrition, entertainment, entrepreneurship and management.
Rene serves as the Chairman of SLAM!, which currently has campuses in Miami, Las Vegas, Palm Beach and San Antonio. Rene also serves as the President and Chief Executive of the SLAM! Foundation, which helps direct the network’s growing list of corporate partnerships and supports the network’s current campus expansion in Miami, as well as the upcoming replications of its successful model in Tampa, Orlando, North Miami Beach, Huntsville, and beyond.
SLAM! has received immense support from global superstar Pitbull, a co-founder and the network’s Brand Ambassador. With his dedicated support, SLAM! has garnered significant national attention through features on The Today Show, Good Morning America, The Tonight Show, the Katie Couric Show, National Public Radio, The Washington Post, ABC Nightline, and CNN, among countless others. SLAM!’s journey from “305 to Worldwide” took an important step in 2016, when it was awarded a channel on Sirius XM Satellite Radio to be produced by students of the SLAM! network, the first-ever school to receive such an honor. SLAM! Radio is set for its global launch in winter 2017.
While in law school, Rene interned with the Honorable Stephen T. Brown and the Honorable Ted E. Bandstra in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Rene also served on the Editorial Board of the University of Miami Law Review.
Rene is a veteran member of the Firm’s Latin America (LATAM) Practice Group and advises LATAM clients regarding U.S. matters. Rene is also a regular contributor to the firm’s labor & employment law blog, BeLabor the Point.
- Represents a leading international sugar producer in negotiating collective bargaining agreements with their farm and industrial employees, handling union grievances, and defending arbitration hearings and unfair labor practice charges.
- Represents a leading national provider of food, beverage, and retail services throughout airports and service plazas in all labor matters, including collective bargaining.
- Represents an international aircraft manufacturer in negotiating collective bargaining agreements with flight simulator technicians.
- Represents a national clothing retailer with employment litigation and disability access under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Represents numerous local and national restaurants with disability access under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Represents numerous municipalities in Florida in negotiating collective bargaining agreements with members of their police and fire departments and general employees.
Professional & Community Involvement
- Sports Leadership Arts and Management Charter School, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board, 2010-Present
- SLAM Foundation, Founder, President, Chief Executive, and Chairman of the Board, 2015-Present
- St. Thomas University, Athletic and Sports Administration Board, 2015-Present
- Dress for Success, Men’s Advisory Board, 2015-Present
- Miami Children’s Charter School, Chairman of the Board, 2006-Present
- Mercy Hospital, Board of Ambassadors, 2008-2011
- The Best Lawyers in America®, 2008-2018
- Benchmark Litigation, Future Star, 2017-2018; Top Litigator Under 40, 2016
- South Florida Business Journal, "40 Under 40," 2014
- Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, “40 Under 40 Outstanding Lawyers,” 2014
- Daily Business Review, "Rising Stars: Top 40 Under 40," 2013
- Florida Trend’s Legal Elite, selected for inclusion, 2006-2011
- Areas USA, Labor and Employment Counsel of the Year Award, 2013-2014
- Florida Super Lawyers, 2017; Rising Stars, 2010-2011, 2013-2016
- Law & Politics, “Florida Rising Star," 2009
Publications & Presentations
Employment Law Changes Likely Ahead
BeLabor The Point Blog|December 2016
Off The Rail Policies and Approaches That Can Help You to Stay on the Right Track
Stearns Weaver Miller's 26th Annual Labor and Employment Law Seminar|May 2016
Happy New Year from the NLRB!
BeLabor the Point Blog |January 2016
It’s Unbelievable! – Bill Introduced Into Congress Would Turn Labor Relations On Its Head
BeLabor the Point Blog |September 2015
Secret Union Tactics Employees Can’t Resist
Stearns Weaver Miller’s 25th Annual Labor & Employment Law Seminar |May 2015
Wrestling with Independent Contractors
BeLabor the Point Blog |November 2014
SLAM Academy: Disrupting Poverty through Education
BeLabor the Point Blog |July 2014
“The Art of the Deal”: Negotiation and Psychology In The Workplace
Stearns Weaver Miller’s 24th Annual Labor and Employment Law Seminar|May 2014
Stearns Weaver Miller Receives Top Ranking in Benchmark Litigation 2018
In the Media:
Pitbull's SLAM Academy opening in Tampa
FOX 13 News |August 2017
In the Media:
Project Baltimore goes inside Pitbull’s charter school
Fox News|June 2017
Stearns Weaver Miller Lawyers Recognized in Florida Super Lawyers 2017
Stearns Weaver Miller Receives Top Ranking in Benchmark Litigation 2017
In the Media:
Pitbull attends opening of Vegas-area SLAM! school
7 News Miami|September 2016
In the Media:
2 charter schools, 1 planned for Huntsville, move ahead with plans to open in Alabama
WHNT News 19|September 2016
In the Media:
Rapper Pitbull celebrates grand opening of his new SLAM charter school in Henderson
KSNV NBC Las Vegas|September 2016