Robert D. Rivas
Robert Rivas is a Principal in the Tallahassee office of Sachs Sax Caplan. Previously Mr. Rivas had a career as an award-winning reporter and editor for major newspapers before he entered law school in 1988. He made Law Review and graduated summa cum laude from Nova Law Center in 1991.
Mr. Rivas has a diverse practice in general civil trial and appellate litigation. He tends to concentrate on media law, providing prepublication counseling and representing clients in defamation, Sunshine Law, public records and government ethics matters, including civil and administrative litigation, and the representation of non-media clients in the same types of issues. He also handles federal and state civil rights cases, particularly those based on the First Amendment.
Because of Mr. Rivas’s exceptional writing ability, his appellate cases make up the fastest growing aspect of his practice. Certified by the Florida Bar as an expert in appeals, he is the chairman of Sachs Sax Caplan’s appellate law group. His name appears in the headnotes as counsel for parties in dozens of diverse appellate court rulings available on Westlaw or Lexis.
Notable Client Work
Mr. Rivas was the recipient of the Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award in 1998 for serving as lead trial and appellate counsel for the plaintiffs in McIver v. Krischer, a landmark right-to-die case. McIver v. Krischer, 65 U.S. Law Weekly 2544, 1997 Westlaw 225878 (Fla. Cir. Ct. Jan. 31, 1997) (No. CL-96-1504-AF); rev’d, Krischer v. McIver, 697 So. 2d 97 (Fla. 1997). More recently, he secured a ruling from the Supreme Court of Georgia striking down one of that state’s statutes as unconstitutional under the First Amendment. Final Exit Network, Inc. v. State, 290Ga. 508, 722 S.E.2d 722 (Ga. 2012). As General Counsel to one of the nation’s leading right-to-die advocacy groups, Final Exit Network, he handles its litigation all across the country.
Member, Leadership Florida, Class 16 (1997-98). Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award, 1998. Valedictorian of the Fourth Appellate District on summer 1991 Florida Bar entrance examination. Inducted October 1998, Independent Florida Alligator “Hall of Fame.” Overseas Press Club of Puerto Rico 1984 winner of the annual In-Depth Reporting Award.
The Florida Bar, 1991.
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, 1991; U.S. District Courts, Southern and Middle Districts of Florida, 1991; Trial Bar, Southern District of Florida, 1993; U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida, 1993; Supreme Court of the United States, 1997.
University of Florida, B.A. in journalism, 1979; Nova Law Center, J.D., summa cum laude, 1991.
Professional Memberships and Activities
Member, American Bar Association and its ABA Forum on Communications law, 1991-present. Member, Tallahassee and Palm Beach County bar associations. Chair, Media and Communications Law Committee of The Florida Bar, 1998-99, vice chair, 1993-94 and 1995-96. Chair, Twentieth Annual Florida Bar Media Law Conference, West Palm Beach, 1994; co-chair (with Florence Snyder Rivas), Florida Bar’s Annual Workshop for Reporters on Coverage of the Law and Courts, Oct. 4-6, 2000, Tallahassee, Fla.; chair of same event again in November 2003. Member, Defense Counsel Section, Media Law Resource Center.
Board member, American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, 1991-2007, Florida delegate to the ACLU National Biennial Conference, 1997. Life Fellow, The Florida Bar Foundation. Legal advisor to the two leading right-to-die organizations in Florida.