MIAMI – Up-and-coming attorneys should handle their mistakes as well as their successes, Pamela Cothran Marsh, former U.S. Attorney for Florida's Northern District who recently joined a Miami law firm, said during an interview.
Handling those mistakes is part of the advice Marsh said she would offer new attorneys, especially women, just entering the field.
"Do your best and work hard," Marsh said in an email interview with the Florida Record. "But when you miss the mark - and we all will at some point - admit your mistake, apologize, learn from the experience and don't be too hard on yourself afterward. Just continue striving to give your best, and be honest with yourself and others."
The business law firm Berger Singerman announced earlier this year that Marsh had joined the firm as a partner serving on its dispute resolution and government and regulatory teams. Marsh now serves clients across the state, working principally out of Berger Singerman’s Tallahassee and Miami offices, according to the announcement.
“Pam is an extraordinary talent," Berger Singerman Co-Chair Paul Steven Singerman was quoted in the announcement. "She has had a truly amazing career. Her decision to join our firm is a testament to Berger Singerman’s collaborative culture and the depth of the talent of our team members. Her impressive background and experience will enhance the firm's reputation as a leading choice for internal investigation counsel, white collar defense, as well as our service as counsel in high level fiduciary appointments, receiverships, and other proceedings. Our entire team is thrilled to welcome Pam to the firm.”
Marsh, the first woman to serve as a U.S. Attorney for Florida's Northern District, was nominated to the post by President Obama in 2010. During about five years in that post, Marsh was the leading federal prosecutor in the state's 23 panhandle counties, overseeing four offices, 35 assistant U.S. Attorneys and 43 support staff. Marsh earned a reputation for prosecuting cases in that time as U.S. Attorney in the district. She oversaw cases related to BP oil spill. Other cases involved drug trafficking, banking and securities, sexual exploitation of minors, international and domestic terrorism, health care fraud, cybersecurity, mortgage fraud, international and domestic terrorism and civil rights violations.
Marsh also was appointed by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to serve on his advisory committee, one of only sixteen U.S. Attorneys so appointed. She chaired the advisory committee's Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Working Group and also served on the subcommittee on Counter-Terrorism and National Security. Marsh established and led the Big Bend Coalition Against Human Trafficking.
One of Marsh's best known prosecutions is in a 2014 Panama City case in which then 32-year-old Jacobo “Kiko” Feliciano-Francisco received a life sentence for the alleged kidnapping and transport a of victim to Mississippi where she was forced into prostitution from 2009 to 2011. Feliciano-Francisco also was convicted of retaliating against a witness and conspiracy, according to the announcement Marsh then issued.
“Prosecuting human traffickers is a top priority for this U.S. Attorney’s office and the Department of Justice,” Marsh was quoted in that announcement. “Congress has given us strong laws to go after this heinous crime, which is often difficult to find and prove because traffickers enforce silence among their victims through coercion and violence, as happened in this case.”
Marsh told the Florida Record she knows from firsthand experience that competition is fierce for those who want to work in a U.S. Attorney's office.
"I can only speak to the applicants who applied for positions when I was the U.S. Attorney," she said. "We regularly received nearly 200 applicants for one position within days of posting the federal job description. Many of those applicants had impressive litigation experience, multiple clerkships, and law school awards and achievements. Hiring from such a competitive field was one of the most challenging parts of my job, but also one of the most rewarding."