“The cliché is, ‘We leave work at the office’, but that’s far from true,” says John Cunill, Operations Manager of Miami Law Title & Trust. “We discuss office matters at home and critique ways we could do things better.” By “we”, Cunill means himself and his wife, Amarilis “Amy” Adorno, the other half of the partnership that founded Miami Law Title & Trust in 2001.
“Amy had been working at the State Attorney’s office in the child support division and I was working my job downtown,” Cunill explains. “We really had different strengths and weaknesses, and these came together best when we would work together.” Cunill’s long-standing interest in real estate, combined with Adorno’s experience working at a real estate firm, inspired the couple to create the title company. Cunill handled the administrative side of things while Adorno tackled the legal work.
From the get-go, the pair worked hard to build and maintain a reputation for personalized service, setting standards that put them far above the competition. “We don’t charge a lot of fees, since so many of our customers are repeat clients,” says Cunill. “And we’re always available to provide a good faith estimate so that a prospective buyer knows the fees prior to their closing. Both buyers and sellers understandably hate surprise fees at the closing table.”
Working together as a married couple hasn’t been without its challenges. “It’s good in a way working together because we never need to ask, ‘How was your day at work?’,” Cunill says. “But on a bad day — well, then both of us have had a bad day.”
One such bad day came in 2007, when the couple realized that the real estate market had hit a bonafide downturn — and wasn’t going to bounce back anytime soon. The real estate law sector was hit particularly hard, with a downturn of at least 40%. But Adorno and Cunill were far from admitting defeat. Instead, they decided to think outside the box, and turned adversity into inspiration for a new venture.
Their new partner at Miami Law Title & Trust, attorney Kenneth Damas, had previously raised the possibility of creating a law office as a sister organization to the title company. “During late 2007, we had a lot of clients coming to the office requesting assistance with their closing. But this time, they weren’t looking to close a sale — they wanted representation to get their escrow deposit back,” Cunill explains. The team realized that creating a separate law office would enable them to meet that need, along with others such as representation in divorce and family law cases. As a result, they founded The Law Office of Adorno, Damas & Associates P.L.
“In the end, the transition was fairly smooth since our clients were already familiar with our quality of work,” Cunill says. The office started by negotiating escrow recoveries, including some of which resulted in clients being refunded 100% of their deposits. However, the firm’s activities quickly grew beyond real estate matters. “Right now, Amy handles a lot of divorce cases where child support is being modified due to the downturn in the economy. Our clients come from our local community, so we mirror the community’s needs, whatever they might be.”
Those clients stick with the Adorno & Damas team thanks to the firm’s commitment to its clients. “We’re always available to take phone calls or emails, where most firms are not available after 5 p.m.,” Cunill points out. “We have ties to the community, and that places an extra burden on us to provide truly excellent customer service. We constantly see our clients in the community so we really have to give 100% on each case.”
Cunill and Adorno have been Brickell Key residents since 1997. “Back then, most people had no idea where Brickell was,” Cunill laughs. The pair love the quality of life in the big city. “It’s a perfect balance of work, family and socializing. Even though it’s condo life, it feels like a suburban neighborhood. I love getting home from work in the evening and taking my kids to the Village Green for a play-date.”
Appropriately, it’s the resurgence of this very area that has brought Miami Law Title & Trust back into the forefront. “We’ve been far busier this year than the past two years. Now the closings we have are for people looking to move into the area — less investors and more actual buyers looking to put down roots here in Brickell.”
It’s a goal the team can help their clients reach, thanks to the mutual strengths offered by the close relationship between the title company and law firm. “I always ask myself, ‘Are we turning out the very best product that we can?’,” Cunill says. “If the answer to that question is yes, we’ll always have clients.”
For more information on Miami Law Title & Trust and The Law Office of Adorno, Damas & Associates P.L., stop by their offices at 1000 Brickell Ave. #1005 or call 305.381.9999.
Miami Law Title & Trust and The Law Office of Adorno, Damas & Associates P.L. is happy to help with a variety of legal needs. They have particular expertise in the following areas:
According to the team at The Law Office of Adorno, Damas & Associates P.L., the most common bankruptcies are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Both have their benefits. In a Chapter 7 all debt is discharged and Chapter 13 is known as a restructuring.
Child support modification is available to clients who have seen a drastic change in their income. Each case is reviewed individually. With city pay cuts looming, many government employees may qualify for child support modification.
In plain terms, this covers lawsuits. The office handles various lawsuits where parties are unable to achieve their goals without litigation. One area of focus is escrow recovery, where clients want to get their real estate deposit back.
An attorney should always be present at real estate closings and handle short sale and deeds in lieu of foreclosure cases. Clients should have real estate contracts reviewed before signing; Adorno, Damas & Associates P.L. offers free contract reviews.