Justice Raoul G. Cantero, III
Former Justice Raoul G. Cantero, III was appointed to the Court on July 10, 2002, by Governor Jeb Bush. He is the first Justice of Hispanic descent to sit on the Court. Before his appointment, he was a shareholder and head of the Appellate Division of the law firm of Adorno & Yoss in Miami. He specialized in civil and criminal appeals at all levels, and also has extensive experience in commercial litigation. He has been Board-certified in appellate practice since 1995.
After joining the Adorno firm in 1988, Justice Cantero handled more than 250 appeals and more than 100 oral arguments. He handled appeals in all five District Courts of Appeal of Florida and in the Florida Supreme Court, as well as several in the United States Circuit Courts of Appeal and in the United States Supreme Court. His practice also included administrative appeals to the Florida Circuit Courts from various municipal and county boards. Many of the appeals in which Justice Cantero was involved have produced important published opinions.
Aside from heading the Adorno firm's Appellate Division, Justice Cantero was also heavily involved in the Firm's commercial litigation practice. His areas of particular specialty included class action and complex litigation, Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) claims and litigation, public bid protest litigation, defamation cases, and Section 1983 litigation representing both governmental entities and individuals.
Justice Cantero holds a Bachelor of Arts degree summa cum laude in English and Business from Florida State University (1982), with a minor in mathematics and philosophy, and a law degree cum laude from Harvard Law School (1985). After graduation from law school, he was a law clerk to the Honorable Edward B. Davis, United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. He is also a Fulbright Scholar. Starting in 1993, he was a member of the Florida Bar's Appellate Rules Committee, which studies and recommends changes to the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure, serving as its secretary from 1997-99 and as vice-chair from 1999-2002. He was a member of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission from 2001-2002. He was also Treasurer of the Florida Bar's Appellate Practice Section from 1999-2000, Secretary from 2000-2001 and Vice-chair from 2001-2002. He served as chair of the Dade County Bar Association's Appellate Court Committee from 1998-99.
Justice Cantero was also active in the Miami community. From 1991-1995 he was a member of the Board of Directors of Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc. From 1993-2001, he was a member of the Planning and Zoning Board of the City of Coral Gables, and from 1997-2001 served as its chairman. From 1990-1997 he was a member of the Pastoral Council at St. Augustine Church in Coral Gables, and headed its Men’s Retreat Ministry from 1994 to 2000.
Since his appointment to the Florida Supreme Court, Justice Cantero has been deeply interested in issues of professionalism in the practice of law. Since 2002, he has been the chair of the Supreme Court's Commission on Professionalism, and has spoken on the topic to groups of both lawyers and law students.
Justice Cantero has lectured on various topics, including Florida appellate procedure, appellate writing, federal appellate jurisdiction, expert witnesses, jury voire dire, and federal civil procedure. He also has taught at Florida State University's College of Law. He is author of “Certifying Questions to the Florida Supreme Court: What's So Important?” 76 Fla. Bar. J. No. 5 (May 2002); “Changes to the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure,” 71 Fla. Bar J. No. 11 (Dec. 1997); “Discovery from Medical Experts: How Much is Too Much?”, 16 Trial Advocate Quarterly 1 (Winter 1997); “Non-Final Review of Insurance Coverage Issues: Wading through the Quagmire,” 69 Fla. Bar J. No. 9 (Oct. 1995); and co-author of “Controversy in the Competitive Bidding Process,” 68 Fla. Bar J. No. 9 (Oct. 1994). Justice Cantero is also an accomplished fiction writer, having published several short stories.
Justice Cantero was born in 1960, in Madrid, Spain, to Cuban parents who had fled the communist regime in Cuba. He and his wife Ana Maria have three children. They now live in Tallahassee.