Prominent Florida Atty. Gary Poliakoff Dies



E-Mail from lawyer Bernie Friedman:

From: Friedman, Bernie []

Sent: Friday, August 08, 2014 12:20 PM

To: (removed)


I am very sorry to inform you that Gary Poliakoff passed away early this morning. Those of us who have been Gary’s partners and colleagues for so many years know that it is impossible to adequately capture in words the impact that he has had on the law firm that he co-founded, on an entire field of law, and on the careers and lives of those of us who had the privilege of working with him. The courage, energy and vision to build a law firm spanning over 40 years does not come along often. It is a profoundly sad day for all of us. All our thoughts and prayers go out to the Poliakoff family.

Funeral will be Monday, August 11 at Noon, at Temple Sinai, 18801 NE 22 Avenue, N. Miami Bch.

Today, the firm is issuing the following public statement:

Statement by Becker & Poliakoff on the passing of firm co-founder Gary A. Poliakoff:

We are deeply saddened to announce the untimely passing of Gary A. Poliakoff, the co-founder of Becker & Poliakoff, and a friend, colleague and mentor to many within the firm, and in the legal, business, charitable, and civic communities.

Gary served as Managing Shareholder from the firm’s inception in 1973 until 2008. In addition to managing the daily operations and growth of one of Florida’s largest law firms, he helped create a new area of law and devoted his practice almost entirely to condominium and homeowner association law commonly referred to as Community Association law. He and law partner Alan Becker helped conceive, draft and pass the laws governing shared ownership housing in Florida. He was a prolific author and lecturer on the subject and even added new terms to the vernacular including “I Speak Condo” and “Prescription Pets”. His leadership was recognized nationally and internationally with published articles, high level positions in national organizations including the prestigious College of Community Association Lawyers, and in providing testimony before the U.S. Senate. Internationally, he was invited to assist post-communist countries with their transition from state housing to private ownership.

In more recent years, Gary established himself as a Municipal Attorney and was instrumental in the incorporation of his own town of Southwest Ranches. He served for ten years as Town Attorney. He also served as an Adjunct Professor teaching Condominium Law & Practice at the Shepard Broad Law Center of Nova Southeastern University where he received the prestigious chair as adjunct professor of the year.

Gary’s honors and awards for his legal work, generosity and compassion are too numerous to mention. He inspired an entire generation of lawyers to embrace the field of condominium law and did so in his own unique style. He was proud of creating many “firsts” in the law business including client seminars with high profile speakers, establishing international offices in China and Prague, and co-publishing a book with his son Ryan on life in common ownership communities, “New Neighborhoods: A Consumer’s Guide to Condo, Co-Op and HOA Living”.

Gary Rosen, the firm’s Managing Shareholder said, “Gary’s imprint on the identity of Becker & Poliakoff is indelible. There are so many of us who owe a debt of gratitude to his vision, courage and legal acumen.”

A man of humble beginnings, Gary never forgot that the law was a people business. He worked hard to make sure his clients and employees always knew how much he cared for them both personally and professionally. He built a culture of friendship and camaraderie at Becker & Poliakoff with theater nights, family picnics and the firm’s annual Thanksgiving pot luck luncheon. Everyone at Becker & Poliakoff was a part of his extended family.

Gary received his B.S. from the University of South Carolina and then he earned his J.D. from the University of Miami, School of Law where he met firm co-founder Alan Becker.

Alan Becker, his lifelong law partner said, “Gary and I were friends since the first year of law school and partners for 42 years. That is quite a run in the law business. Gary had the toughness to build and run a large law firm, combined with a rare compassion and caring for the people who worked for the firm and the clients we served.”

On behalf of the entire firm and the extended Becker & Poliakoff family, our thoughts and prayers go to Gary’s family and the many people whose lives he touched.

The funeral will be held at Temple Sinai, 18801 NE 22 Avenue, N. Miami Bch at Noon.


Front page of Becker & Poliakoff’s website today:



Poliakoff’s biography from the Becker & Poliakoff website:

Gary A. Poliakoff


Founding Shareholder
Professional Experience:

Mr. Poliakoff is a founding principal of Becker & Poliakoff, P.A. He served as the Firm’s Managing Shareholder for 35 years, from its inception in 1973 until March, 2008. He has devoted a significant part of his career to the practice of Community Association law and is considered one of the foremost authorities on the subject. Recognized internationally as an authority on common interest ownership housing, Mr. Poliakoff has been a consultant to State Legislatures and the White House in drafting common interest ownership housing legislation. He served as the American Bar Association’s Advisor to the National Conference of Commissioners of Uniform State Laws in its efforts to revise the Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act. In addition, at the invitation of the Minister of Economics of the Czech Republic, he addressed the Parliament of the Czech Republic on issues relating to the conversion of State housing to private ownership, and, at the invitation of the Russian Academy of Jurisprudence, has lectured in Moscow on common interest ownership issues, In 1990, Mr. Poliakoff served as a member of the State of Florida Condominium Study Commission and, in 1992 and 1993, as a member and chairman of the State of Florida Advisory Council on Condominiums. Twice he has testified before Committees of the United States Senate looking into potential areas of abuse in the sale, development and operation of condominiums, Mr. Poliakoff is the past chair of the H­ Group of the American Bar Association, which oversees the Common Interest Ownership Development Committee, the Sports Entertainment & Games Committee, the Hotel, Resorts & Tourism Committee, and the Timeshare & Interval Uses Committee. He served on the Presidential Advisory Board of the University of South Carolina. He also served as a member of the Board of Governors of the College of Community Association Lawyers and as a member of Scribes, an organization which recognizes excellence in legal writing. He is on the Board of Governors of the Shepard Broad Law Center of Nova Southeastern University where he is an Adjunct Professor, teaching Condominium Law and Practice. In 2008, Mr. Poliakoff was recognized as the outstanding Adjunct Professor of the Year for the teaching of Doctrinal Courses.

Mr. Poliakoff has also established himself as a Municipal Attorney. He assisted his own town of Southwest Ranches through their incorporation process and served for ten years as its Town Attorney, advising Council Members on day to day government operations including procurement issues, land use and zoning, Sunshine and other law affection elected officials duties intergovernmental agreements and the provision of municipal services. Upon his retirement in 2010 he was designated Town Attorney Emeritus.

In addition to practicing law, Mr. Poliakoff has gained national recognition as an authority on the development of disaster plans for common interest ownership housing communities, businesses and law firms. Mr. Poliakoff gained his experience working with condominiums and planned

developments impacted by Hurricanes Andrew and Opal, and enhanced that experience by his first-hand involvement in rebuilding following Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Jeanne, Katrina and Wilma. His article, “Disaster Planning and Recovery,” is a primary guide for disaster planning. Mr. Poliakoff is a frequent speaker on the subject at law conferences, business forums and the National Windstorm Conference.


Among Mr. Poliakoffs published articles are: “Prescription Pets,” Common Ground, January/February 2008; “Disaster Planning and Recovery, — Nova Law Review, Vol. 31, Summer 2007, No. 3; “The Effect of the Fair Housing Act on Deed Restrictions and Rules and Regulations within Common Interest Ownership Housing Communities,” Probate & Property, Vol. 17, No. 3 May/June 2003 (American Bar Association); “Casenotes: #1 Woodside Village Condominium Association, Inc. v. Jahren, CAI’s Journal of Community Association Law, Vol. 6, No. 1, Jan. 2003; “Transition of Control of the Community Association from the Unit Owners Perspective,” Probate & Property, March/April 2002 (American Bar Association); “Remodeling Common Ownership Housing Documents for the 21st Century,” Probate & Property, November/December 2000 (American Bar Association); “The Phantom of the Condominium,” Florida Bar Journal, Volume LXXII, Feb. 1998; “Condominium Law, 1992 Survey of Florida Law,” Nova Law Review, Vol. 17, Fall, 1992, No. 1; “The Florida Condominium Act,” Nova Law Review, Vol. 16 Fall, 1991, Number 1; “The Role of the Association in Condominium Living,” 55 Florida Bar Journal 111; “Condominiums – The Assessment Dilemma,” 54 Florida Bar Journal 268; and “Conflicting Rights in Condominium Living,” 53 Florida Bar Journal 756; Mr. Poliakoff also co­ authored “The Woodside Covenants,” Florida Bar Journal, Vol. LXXVII, No. 5, May 2003 and “The Reinstatement of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions Extinguished by the Marketable Record Title Act,” Florida Bar Journal, Vol. 79, No. 5, May 2005. He is co-author of Florida Condominium Law and Practice, The Florida Bar Continuing Legal Education, 2007, and author of a national treatise, The Law of Condominium Operations, West Group, 1988.

Mr. Poliakoff also writes a weekly Condominium Column which is published in several leading newspapers throughout Florida , including The Palm Beach Post, The Fort Pierce Tribune, The Daytona Beach News Journal, The Stuart News, The Port St. Lucie News, the Jupiter Courier and Florida Today, as well as other newspapers in the State.

Mr. Poliakoff’s new book, co-authored with his son, Ryan Poliakoff, entitled “New Neighborhoods: The Consumer’s Guide to Condominium, Co-op and HOA Living” was released in August 2009 by Emerald Book Co., a Division of Greenleaf Book Group LLC.

Honors and Awards:

Mr. Poliakoff is listed in Marquis’ Who’s Who in American Law, Who’s Who in America, and Who’s Who in the World. He is the recipient of the Judge Learned Hand Human Relations Award presented by the American Jewish Committee in recognition of Mr. Poliakoff’s outstanding work, nationally and internationally, in co-ownership housing and, specifically, for his efforts to raise the level of clarity and justness in the law. In 2002, Mr. Poliakoff was recognized by the South Florida Business Journal as a Diamond Award Honoree for excellence in business leadership. Florida Trend Magazine recognized Mr. Poliakoff in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008 among its “Legal Elite.” This designation was based upon a poll of Florida attorneys, who selected peers in the top 2% of their respective practice areas. He was selected by the Miami Herald as one of the “Top Florida Lawyers.” Mr. Poliakoff was also selected by Florida Super Lawyers magazine based on peer reviews and independent research. Super Lawyers are limited to 5% of lawyers statewide. He is also listed in “The Best Lawyers of America” as one of the best Municipal Law Practitioners in America. Additionally, Mr. Poliakoff was rated “superb” by Avvo Ratings, an online lawyer listing that rates and profiles attorneys. The rating is based on a mathematical model that considers the information in a lawyer’s profile, including years in practice, disciplinary history, professional achievements and industry recognition. Mr. Poliakoff was designated by the Broward County commissioners and the Broward County Historical Commission as a “Pioneer” for his effects in the growth and development of Broward County, Florida. In January 2011 Mr. Poliakoff was recognized by the College of Community Association Lawyers with its highest achievement, the Gurdon Buck Award for his contribution to the development, nationally of the field of Community Association Law.

Bar Admissions

Florida, 1969
District of Columbia, 1971
Colorado, 1999


University of South Carolina, B.S., 1966

Selected by faculty and administration as one of the twelve outstanding seniors in Class of 1966; listed in Who’s Who in American Students; Student Senate

University of Miami, J.D., 1969

Editor in Chief and Chairman of Publication of the Student Newspaper Slipsheet; Editor in Chief of Amicus Curiae, Yearbook, Senator, Student Bar Association, President of the Bar & Gavel Legal Society

3 Responses to “Prominent Florida Atty. Gary Poliakoff Dies”

  1. Tony Torence says:

    Gary was one of the finest individuals I ever met. RIP, Gary.

  2. jack latona says:

    My wife, Kay, became a partner at Becker Poliakoff in the early 80’s, the first major firm to make a woman partner in Broward County. Gary and Alan Becker created condominium law, not only for Florida, but throughout the country. Gary made Becker Poliakoff into a state wide legal force. He remained a friend over the years. He will be missed. Jack and Kay Latona

  3. West Davie Resident says:

    It is not too often that a human being’s work has such a profound impact on his community, state, country, and even worldwide.

    Although I never met Gary, he needs to be thanked for being one of the pioneers in condominium and other multi-family shared property ownership law.

    One of the Associations in which I am involved was able to win financial relief, ironically, from one of his firm’s developer clients thanks to the legal protections he helped put into place.

    RIP Mr. Poliakoff.