BY BUDDY NEVINS
I first heard Stacey Schulman’s name from a political consultant while we ate lunch.
The consultant said Schulman was running for judge next year.
“She is the perfect judicial candidate,” the consultant said.
I left lunch juiced on the idea of “the perfect judicial candidate.” I had to meet her.
Then family matters and freelance work intervened to push Schulman out of my mind for several months.
Until she called.
We met for coffee.
The perfect candidate? That remains to be seen.
A good, maybe even great candidate. Definitely.
In Broward, where sadly too many judicial candidates are mediocre, Schulman will stand out.
She hasn’t filed for office yet, but will before the end of the summer for an open seat. She said she won’t run against an incumbent judge.
Her one shortcoming is her age. She is 36, married with two children.
In those 36 years she has packed more than many lawyers twice her age:
*A Cornell graduate and Number One in her University of Miami Law School class.
*Nine years as one of State Attorney Mike Satz’s prosecutors, handling roughly 80 trials for charges ranging from capital sex battery to attempted murder.
*A year at Morgan & Morgan (Charlie Crist’s law firm), representing employees who had been the victims of unfair labor practices.
*Since June, 2012, commercial litigator at Greenspoon Marder.
That’s a solid resume, with both civil and criminal experience. I’ve seen many candidates, some of them now on the bench, whose experience was threadbare compared to Schulman.
But that’s not all.
Here are other reasons why political consultants believe next Election Year looks great for Schulman:
*Schulman has the resources to pay for a countywide campaign.
Her father, David Schulman, is what’s known as a Jewish community macher. That’s Yiddish for someone who is important or can get things done.
David Schulman is an insurance executive and the past president of the local Jewish Federation. He remains on the Federation Board, along with his daughter Stacey
Will Borat Campaign?
Her brother Todd Schulman is a key member of Sacha Baron Cohen’s (“Borat,” “Bruno”) movie production team.
Will the Cohen bring some Hollywood glam to the campaign?
The controversial star may not be a suitable celebrity to campaign for a judicial candidate, but movie industry money won’t hurt.
*Schulman should sell well to the average Jewish voter, who still comprise a large bloc in Broward. Her work for abused workers will interest the unions. Her ties to Satz varnish her campaign with a law-and-order patina.
*Schulman says she has signed Florida’s Obama For America head Ashley Walker to be in overall charge of the campaign. The two women are long-time friends. Walker will most likely farm out the day-to-day work to other consultants, who must be drooling for a piece of what is sure to be a well-funded campaign.
*Schulman is a serial networker and has been her whole life. Over the years, she seems to have touched base with many who count in Broward politics.
*Schulman has a long career of activism and has touched many people in Broward. The first mention of her in the Sun-Sentinel is when she was organizing an award for her elementary school teacher. For the past 11 years, she has been a volunteer for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (Her mother Carrie, who is also a leader in Federation, has MS.).
*Last but not least, Schulman is smart, driven and attractive.
She is motivated enough to put in the grueling days of campaigning in a county bigger than many states. Smart? Voters don’t want dumb judges.
Attractive? Now that’s in the eye of the beholder. There is no doubt that Schulman is more appealing than many of the judicial candidates.
I’m not bring this up because I am sexist. I am bring it up because numerous university studies indicate that attractive candidates are more appealing to voters.
(Schulman wears glasses and often pulls her hair back to make herself look older and more judicial.)
One more notable piece of her past she left off her resume.
A Dick Joke That’s Not Funny
Although Schulman didn’t mention it when asked about possible baggage she is carrying, a cursory search of the Internet found that she was once disqualified from a case by a federal judge.
The opposing attorney complained that her jerky co-counsel Richard Celler draw pictures of a penis and played Angry Birds during depositions and had unethical conversations with parties to the case.
It was the ex parte conversations that got Celler and his employee Stacey Schulman thrown off the case.
“The Court finds that in the instant case, the relationship between Celler, Defendants, and Defendants’ counsel has been so impaired that the only proper remedy is Celler’s disqualification,” state the judge’s order.
But it is the penis pictures and the Angry Bird that propels this complaint into the public realm.
A witness “testified that during depositions he witnessed “Mr. Celler . . . drawing photos of — pictures of male genitalia and showing them to Ms. Schulman…(and)observed Schulman “laugh[ing] quite a few times” at Celler’s drawings... During (one) deposition Mr. Celler was playing the game Angry Birds. He admitted it aloud and was bragging that he had just beaten somebody in Minnesota at the game during the deposition.” (Id. 17:6–9). Moreover, Celler would wear a t- shirt and shorts to proceedings to gain ‘a psychological advantage.’ (Id. 17:11–15). Celler chose Dunkin’ Donuts as the site of depositions against Coupal’s wishes.”
The immature co-counsel was accused of being “systematically engaged in inappropriate and offensive behavior” and Schulman got dragged down by her boss when the firm was disqualified!
Schulman immediately left Morgan & Morgan because she felt she could no longer work with Celler. She got a job immediately at Greenspoon Marder, proving the legal community blamed her boss for the ethical lapses and not her.
Broward voters have elected to the bench as late as 2012 lawyers accused of wrongdoing much worse than Schulman’s laughing at a dick joke.
One victorious candidate in the last cycle had a Bar complaint concerning shenanigans with hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Will the penis picture that misfired offset Schulman’s stellar resume?
That’s up the voters.
Still, unquestionably and despite her age, Schulman is a candidate that deserves serious consideration.