Immigrant Spirit Award

Lida Rodriguez-Taseff 

Lawyer, Advocate and Activist

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Lida Rodriguez-Taseff is a lawyer and partner with Duane Morris LLP, a Philadelphia-based firm with over 700 lawyers and offices throughout the United States and around the world. 

Lida is a consummate trial lawyer with an active and very successful civil trial practice.  She has achieved impressive victories in state and federal jury trials, bench trials, arbitrations and administrative trials in the areas of business and contract disputes, non-competes and trade secrets, construction defects and bid protests.  In June of 2014, Lida was named to Duane Morris LLP’s governing Partners’ Board, an honor and a tangible indication that she is considered a leader within her firm.

Even though her entire legal career has been spent at large law firms, Lida also has an impressive track record as an advocate, an activist and a lawyer in the public interest sector. 

Due to her commitment to civil rights and civic participation, Lida has dedicated much of her pro bono time over the last two decades to voting system reform, especially the issue of minority language access in voting.  In 2012, Lida represented plaintiffs as co-lead counsel in a federal lawsuit challenging Florida's purges of alleged non-citizens. In April of 2010, Lida teamed up with attorneys from Latino Justice/PRLDEF in a lawsuit advocating for the rights of United States citizens born in Puerto Rico and living in Volusia County, who were being denied their right to vote. The lawsuit resulted in a ground-breaking settlement benefiting all Hispanic and Spanish-speaking voters of Volusia County.

Lida’s legal and advocacy work in the area of voting rights started in September 2002, when she co-founded the Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition.  Under her leadership, the diverse, non-partisan coalition won significant victories in the areas of individual voting rights and voting system reform, and gained national stature as a result of its legal and advocacy work. The coalition successfully pushed for the use of independent outside monitors to oversee the November 2002 election in Miami-Dade County. This victory had national implications as it was the first time in the history of U.S. elections that independent outside monitors were used to monitor a U.S. election.  That same year, the coalition forced Miami-Dade County to provide basic voter information in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole.  The coalition also gained a national reputation for its scholarship and its 2004 report of poll closing observations “Get It Right the First Time,” was cited as definitive authority by the U.S. General Accountability Office. Her proudest moment as a voting rights advocate came in 2007 when the coalition succeeded in convincing Miami-Dade County to procure precinct-counted optical scan readers capable of giving voters feedback in three languages: English, Spanish and Haitian Creole – a first in the United States.

From June of 2001 until March of 2004, Lida served as President of the ACLU Greater Miami Chapter, where in her three years as President, she faced what The Miami Herald called a "remarkable series of challenges."  During her tenure, Lida worked with a coalition of community groups as they successfully campaigned for a referendum to create the Civilian Investigative Panel, an independent civilian oversight board to review allegations of police misconduct and to suggest policy reform within the City of Miami Police Department.  Lida was also part of the coalition that fought to protect the rights of low income families who were being displaced from their public housing units by County officials who were seeking to gentrify the neighborhood using monies from the federal housing program known as HOPE VI.  In November 2003, Lida represented a large coalition of protest groups in their negotiations with county and city officials during the FTAA Ministerial meeting.  After the Ministerial meeting, Lida and the ACLU took the lead in a series of important lawsuits designed to challenge violations of the First and Fourth Amendment rights of protesters.  Lida twice represented a large coalition of former Cuban political prisoners as they fought for their First Amendment right to protest at the Latin Grammys.  In 2002, Lida worked hard to educate the voters of Miami-Dade County about the ramifications of excluding LGBT persons in Miami-Dade County from the protection of local anti-discrimination laws and she was a vocal advocate for extending basic legal rights to LGBT persons, including the right to marry and the right to adopt.

Lida is a frequent television commentator and from September 2002 until July 2005, she appeared weekly on CNN's Saturday morning segment, Legal Briefs.  In 2005, Lida served as a Guest Editor on the Miami Herald’s Editorial Board.

She currently serves on the Boards of two national civil rights organizations, Latino Justice/PRLDEF and OWL-The Voice of Women 40+, and the state-wide Board for Audubon Florida.  She is co-chair of South Florida Voices for Working Families and is Secretary of the Friends of the Bass Museum.

Lida received her law degree from the New York University School of Law in 1992, where she was honored with the Vanderbilt Medal for Extraordinary Contribution to the Law School, the highest honor bestowed by NYU. She was also a recipient of the prestigious Root-Tilden-Kern Scholarship and the Public Interest Law Foundation Research Grant, and she was the colloquium editor for NYU’s Review of Law and Social Change. Lida began her legal career in New York City, with the Wall Street firm of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver and Jacobson. 

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AI Justice is an award-winning non-profit law and advocacy firm that protects and promotes the basic human rights of immigrants. In Florida and on a national level, we champion the rights of unaccompanied immigrant children; advocate for survivors of trafficking and domestic violence; serve as a watchdog on immigration detention practices and policies; and speak for immigrant groups who have particular and compelling claims to justice.