On January 11, the Daily Business Review published an article about our own Attorney Dax Bello, who was recently named the new President of the Cuban American Bar Association.
“I became the first female president of CABA, and there Dax was, coming out of our office, and he became the president of CABA,” said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, who mentored Dax early in his career. “I became so impressed of his trajectory as a young lawyer with his civic-mindedness, deep roots and commitment to the community. He has led during a very difficult time, during a pandemic which only happens once in a century.”
Rundle said Dax has what it takes to excel as CABA president, which is quite an endorsement: Rundle’s father was one of the founding attorneys of CABA in 1974.
About CABA & the Annual Gala
CABA is a nonprofit bar association that addresses issues affecting the Cuban American community of Florida. One of the most important events on the CABA calendar is its annual gala, its primary fundraising event. Dax says that gala proceeds are divided between the CABA foundation, the bar association, and pro bono legal services.
The gathering was planned and executed as a formal event in previous years. Former CABA President Frances G. De La Guardia chose the InterContinental Miami as the venue for last year’s gala. Two months later, the coronavirus pandemic and stay-at-home orders meant Dax would have to do things differently.
This year, Dax moved the gala date from its normal January slot to March 20 and has moved the event from its usual venue to an event on the water titled “Regala 2021,” where the gala guests will be gathering in their own vessels.
“It’s going to be very similar to what Miamians have seen in the past with the Columbus Day regatta,” Dax said. “There’s just this party on the water where everybody is on their own boats, so they can stay socially distanced from others but stay involved with the festivities.”
Past presidents have lauded Dax’s decision to pivot the CABA gala to an on-the-water gathering. “The CABA Gala is the preeminent legal party in Miami-Dade County,” former CABA President Roland Sanchez-Medina said. “It’s packed with judges, political leaders, and not having it would be a shame. If you don’t make money at the CABA Gala, then it’s going to be a dismal year.”
Multiple Appointments with Destiny
The DBR article also traces Dax’s early career and academic accomplishments and how close he came to having a different career entirely. For a long time, Dax thought he was going to go into business administration. He graduated from the University of Miami with a business degree and debated whether to attend law school or continue running a textile factory while earning an MBA.
It was only because Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Philip Bloom arranged a meeting with an associate dean at St. Thomas Law School that Dax ended up choosing law. “When I left that meeting, the associate dean invited me to join the 2008 class,” Dax said. “This was in 2005. This meeting was on Friday, and he said to come in on Monday. We’ve got a spot for you, if you want.”
Dax did well as a law student but was still unsure where he wanted to take his career. It was only in a chance meeting with Rundle on a flight to Las Vegas that he was recruited to join the state’s attorney office in Miami-Dade. It was there that he fell in love with litigation, and from then on, he decided to be a trial attorney.
Since then, his career has been turbulent—he graduated from law school during the Great Recession—but he credits CABA with providing him with the network of support and opportunities that young lawyers need to thrive. That’s why Dax has arranged for CABA to give free memberships to new lawyers who can’t take the bar or have struggled to find work due to coronavirus.
Just a short time into his term, Dax has already exhibited the creativity and community-mindedness required of a great community leader. STFBC is proud to watch him succeed as CABA President and look forward to seeing what else he accomplishes this year.
Read the article in PDF form here.