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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 associate attorneys to do so in the history of the prestigious publication).  The following year, he was voted into partnership at the age of 30, becoming the youngest equity partner in the history of that law firm. 

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. 

Rene serves as chief labor counsel for Florida Crystals, American Sugar Refining, and their related affiliates.  Rene also serves as General Counsel for Armando Christian Perez, the artist known internationally as “Pitbull,” and helps direct his business affairs.

Outside of his legal accolades, Rene was a part of former Florida Governor JEB Bush’s bid to purchase the Miami Marlins in 2017.  

Rene also co-founded the Sports Leadership Arts and Management (SLAM!) network of public charter schools with Armando Christian Perez (“Pitbull”). SLAM! serves an overwhelmingly minority and underserved 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 broadcasting, sports medicine, media production, physical therapy, marketing, nutrition, entertainment, entrepreneurship and management.  This has allowed Rene to develop extensive experience with the process of opening charter schools in many different states. Rene has used this expertise to successfully assist clients in navigating the regulatory procedures of differing school districts and establish new charter schools and their supporting foundations.

Rene serves as the President and Chairman of the national SLAM! network of schools, which currently has campuses in Miami, Las Vegas, Palm Beach, Orlando, Tampa, Apollo Beach, Atlanta, Miami Beach, Boca Raton,  San Antonio, and Phoenix serving approximately 10,000 students nation-wide.  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 campuses, as well as the upcoming replications of its successful model throughout the country.

With Pitbull’s 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 and only school to receive such an honor. SLAM! Radio delivers award-winning student generated and produced content every day on Sirius XM Channel 145.

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 also a regular contributor to the Firm’s labor & employment blog, BeLabor the Point.

Representative Experience

  • Represents a leading international sugar producer and refiner in negotiating in all labor-related matters, including 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 (SLAM!)
    • Founder, Chairman of the Board, and President, 2009-Present
  • SLAM! Foundation
    • Founder, Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive, President, 2013-Present
  • St. Thomas University, Athletic and Sports Administration Board, 2015-2020
  • Dress for Success, Men’s Advisory Board, 2015-2018 
  • Miami Children’s Charter School, Chairman of the Board, President, 2006-Present 
  • Mercy Hospital, Board of Ambassadors, 2008-2011


  • The Best Lawyers in America®, 2008-Present
    • The Employment Law Issue, 2021
  • Benchmark Litigation, Future Star, 2017-2022, 2024; 40 & Under Hot List, 2016-2022, 2024
  • 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, 2017-2022
    • Rising Stars, 2010-2011, 2013-2016
  • Law & Politics, “Florida Rising Star," 2009

Publications & Presentations

Publications: Look to Your Left…It’s the New NLRB
BeLabor the Point Blog|March 2023

Publications: The NLRB Joint Employer Pendulum Swings Back Again…
BeLabor the Point Blog|August 2022

Publications: Bottom of the Ninth
BeLabor The Point Blog|February 2022

Events, Firm Announcements, In the Media, Labor & Employment News Update, Publications: Breaking Through the Noise: Labor & Employment Issues Post-Pandemic
Stearns Weaver Miller News Program Special|June 2021

Events: Meet the Gang Part I – NLRB Workplace Rules, What’s Up at the EEOC, Immigration Update
Stearns Weaver Miller's 29th Annual Labor and Employment Law Seminar|May 2019

Events: Nose Out of Joint? What's the Law on Joint Employer Status?
Stearns Weaver Miller's 28th Annual Labor and Employment Law Seminar|April 2018

Publications: Baseball’s Winter of Discontent
BeLabor The Point Blog|February 2018

Publications: Employment Law Changes Likely Ahead
BeLabor The Point Blog|December 2016

Events: 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

Publications: Happy New Year from the NLRB!
BeLabor the Point Blog |January 2016

Events: Secret Union Tactics Employees Can’t Resist
Stearns Weaver Miller’s 25th Annual Labor & Employment Law Seminar |May 2015

Publications: Wrestling with Independent Contractors
BeLabor the Point Blog |November 2014

Publications: SLAM Academy: Disrupting Poverty Through Education
BeLabor the Point Blog |July 2014

Events: “The Art of the Deal”: Negotiation and Psychology In The Workplace
Stearns Weaver Miller’s 24th Annual Labor and Employment Law Seminar|May 2014

Events: Public Sector: Hunting for Hidden Employment Treasures
Stearns Weaver Miller’s 23rd Annual Labor and Employment Law Seminar|May 2013

Publications: Florida Employment Law Manual
Florida Chamber of Commerce|January 2013

Events: The New Dynamics in Public Sector Bargaining
Stearns Weaver Miller’s 22nd Annual Labor and Employment Law Seminar|May 2012

Events: Hitting the Reset Button: How New Fiscal Realities Demand a Different Approach for Public Sector Bargaining
Stearns Weaver Miller Labor & Employment Breakfast Series|September 2011

Publications: The NLRB Requires More From Employers
BenTrust Financial Employment Newsletter|September 2011

Events: Cheesehead Fallout: What is the Future of Public Sector Bargaining and Pensions in Florida?
Stearns Weaver Miller’s 21st Annual Labor & Employment Law Seminar|May 2011

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Events, Firm Announcements, In the Media, Labor & Employment News Update, Publications: Breaking Through the Noise: Labor & Employment Issues Post-Pandemic
Stearns Weaver Miller News Program Special|June 2021

In the Media: Launch of SLAM Radio Signals Radio History in the Making
Radio Facts|December 2017

In the Media: Pitbull's SLAM Academy opening in Tampa
FOX 13 News |August 2017

In the Media: Pitbull attends opening of Vegas-area SLAM! school
7 News Miami|September 2016

In the Media: SLAM student's dreams do come true
CBS 12|August 2016

In the Media: SLAM Charter School
CBS 12|August 2016

In the Media: Under 40 Hot List - 2016
Benchmark Litigation |August 2016

In the Media: SLAM charter school coming to Palm Beach County
CBS 12|June 2016

In the Media: Pitbull attends charter school groundbreaking in Henderson
Las Vegas Review Journal|October 2015

In the Media: SFBJ 40 Under 40 Awards
South Florida Business Journal|August 2014

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