For those of you (like us) who don't shell out the shekels for the DBR, here is a highlight of what was written:
Richard was born, he was precocious in school, one day a teacher predicted he would be a lawyer, and voila, one day he became a husband, a lawyer, a dad, a pilot, a diver, and a champion pinochle player (just kidding about the last item.)
When he's not on the bench, you're likely to find Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Richard Hersch high in the air or deep in the sea.
He loves to fly and dive, and credits both with teaching valuable life skills.
"They're things you better do with some focus and precision," he said. "They're exercises in risk reduction."
Hersch got his pilot's license in law school...
He wanted to fly as long as he can remember.
"My father was a flight engineer on B-24s," Hersch said, "When I was old enough to look over the coffee table there was a flying magazine. So I always knew from when I was about 2-foot tall that I was going to be a pilot."
Deciding to be a lawyer came just a little later, in elementary school.
His parents went to a parent-teacher conference and asked how their son was doing, Hersch said. "The teacher told them, 'He talks a lot. He could be a lawyer.'...
Wife And Partner
"I had been clerking long-distance for a group of six or seven lawyers," Hersch said. They didn't hire him, but they offered him space and a flow of cases. Plus, his wife got a job as an associate with a South Florida firm. "We graduated, got married and opened our law firm all in the same summer."
Hersch ran his solo practice until 1998. Then his wife, Patty Talisman, joined him.
"When our youngest was born, she came over to me," he said. "We were a mom-and-pop firm until she died about four years ago. It was great working with her."
Talisman did appellate work. Hersch did criminal work, including drunken-driving cases that had a lasting impact in Key West.
"I closed down their breath-testing program," he said. "It's still closed down, since December 2008. ... I convinced a county judge there they had to provide the source code, the software and a machine for us to test before they would allow the introduction of any further."
After his wife died of polymyositis, "what had been a mom-and-pop firm became just a pop firm...
Their two daughters helped him through it. "It was difficult at the time, but I was fortunate to have a mission with these girls."
Be On Time
Governor Rick Scott appointed him to the bench in February 2012, and Hersch has been in the juvenile division ever since...
"I was a lawyer for 30 years," he said. "I think what influenced me the most about that was sitting in the courtroom waiting. I think judges should be punctual. ... Since you're a public servant, you're there to do the job to run this unit. You could at least be on time."
He said he has a dual role on the bench — dealing with the juveniles and guiding new attorneys.
"Here in juvenile, these are young lawyers at the beginning of their careers. So I like mentoring them. I like working with them. They have tremendous passion, intelligence. Seasoning will come," he said. "I'll stop right in the middle of trial and say you can't do that. Don't do that again."
Rumpole says: Nice article about a nice guy who is a really good judge.