Contributed By: Diana Davila, Esq.
Kadisha Phelps is an attorney with an extraordinary personality. As many lawyers, she is the spotlight in any room, but unlike many lawyers, she uses her spotlight to speak not only about law and business but her other passion: Being active in the community in order to give back. Kadisha lives by the principle, “To much is given, much is expected”.
A born and raised New Yorker, she knew she wanted to be a lawyer since she was a little girl. Growing up watching the Cosby show she saw the television character Mrs. Huxtable as a strong, smart, black female attorney which left a lifelong impression on young Kadisha. Her commitment to law was confirmed after she watched the late Johnnie Cochran defend OJ Simpson during the murder trial of the decade. Kadisha found her way to Florida because of her love of History, a subject that up to this day, she is passionate about. She embarked into the adventure of attending college at Florida State University, where she deepened her knowledge of history. While at Florida State she participated in the Study Abroad program, where she studied at FSU’s London Campus and got to spend time at the British Museum. During her time at Florida State she also had internships with Senator Bob Graham and Attorney General Bob Buttersworth.
After graduation, Kadisha headed to Washington and Lee School of Law where her commitment to law distinguished her. After her 1L year she interned with the Florida based law firm Sweetapple, Broeker, & Varkas. During the summer of her 2L year, Kadisha headed to New York to intern at the New York Stock Exchange where she learned security litigation. Upon graduation, Kadisha returned to Florida to work fulltime with Sweetapple, Broker & Varkas P.L. in their Miami office where she has been ever since.
Kadisha concentrates her practice on Business Litigation, representing businesses and their legal needs and specifically representing former NFL players, in both their plaintiff and defendant capacity. Kadisha has also defended Condominium developers when the Real Estate boom took place in Florida back in 2009. Being the fearless woman she is, she went to her firm’s Boca Raton office and handled almost 200 Real Estate cases in Tampa and West Palm Beach. These types of cases specially enhanced Kadisha’s litigation experience and proved her ability with complex areas of the law.
Although initially drawn to law for the search of criminal justice and equality and being briefly involved with defending capital cases, while participating at Washington and Lee’s Virginia Capital Case Clearing House clinic, Kadisha found that criminal law was emotionally draining for her. She decided to give back to the community in a different way. Kadisha volunteers with the Junior League of Miami, where she devotes her time to young children who find in her a prominent role model. Kadisha is also on the Board of the Gwen S. Cherry Black Female Bar Association. Passionate about everything she engages herself in; Kadisha took the words of her mentors, amongst who are Cynthia Hibnick and Anne Bloom (former and current Board Members of the Woman Chamber of Commerce) to get involved, and take a leadership position within an organization that advocates for women in business.
Having now the opportunity to give back in one of the most important ways, Kadisha has taken, following the advice of her mentors, a leadership position. She is currently a Board Member of the Miami-Dade Woman’s Chamber of Commerce and is serving as Chair of the Membership Committee.
A mentor herself Kadisha acknowledges the importance and benefits of a mentor-mentee relationship for business woman, and shares a few points to make the most of the relationship. First, Kadisha shares, in order to maximize the meetings with a mentor it is a good idea to have a goal for each meeting. Always keep in mind what one wants to learn or get advice on from your mentor. Lastly and perhaps most important for young mentees, keep in mind that it takes time for meetings, new business and referrals to come to fruition, don’t get frustrated, enjoy the time with your mentor and learn as much as you can, become a “sponge”!
One of Kadisha hobbies is traveling; she has a passion for seeing the world. Thanks to her passion for history she has traveled around the world including Europe, Australia, and Asia. Traveling has been an educational and eye opening experience for her. She admits, despite her History degree she didn’t know much about her black ancestors until she found herself in a wedding in Sierra Leona, West Africa. Visiting Tokyo is to this day her favorite trip, she was impressed by how technologically advanced Japan was, and how much culture and history Asia has a continent. Being half Panamanian Kadisha also enjoys Latin Christmases and still has seeing South America on her bucket list.
Kadisha is committed to enhancing the membership for the Women’s Chamber and invites all members to contact her about how the Miami Dade Women’s Chamber of Commerce can benefit its members.
Kadisha D. Phelps, Esq.
Sweeapple, Broeker & Varkas, P.L.