The question that Danny Hertzberg, JD ‘09 asks at the conclusion of every transaction may surprise you. The JD/MBA alumnus and leading luxury real estate agent asks his client to choose a charity that is close to his or her heart and Hertzberg then makes a donation to that charity in the client’s honor. Hertzberg has been thrilled by how often his act inspires the client to make a donation as well, substantially increasing the impact of his contribution. A Miami Beach native, Hertzberg finds meaning in being able to give back to his community and was inspired by work he did at Miami Law to incorporate charitable giving and community service into his business.
Hertzberg graduated from Tulane in New Orleans a few months before beginning as a 1L. Soon after his first law semester started, Katrina hit New Orleans, devastating the city. The destruction was personal for Hertzberg as he had family and friends in New Orleans who lost their homes and jobs, not to mention the many others in the city who lost their lives.
Hertzberg along with five of his Miami Law friends, decided to organize a benefit and donate 100% of the proceeds to a Katrina relief organization. The event was a success and afterwards, a classmate asked Hertzberg what he and his friends were going to organize next. After a classmate’s father passed away from lymphoma, Hertzberg and his friends felt it was appropriate to host a benefit in the classmate’s father’s honor and donate all proceeds to lymphoma research.
After that second event, the group formalized themselves as “Lawful Productions” and each member picked a charity that was meaningful to him or her to host a benefit.
During his three years in law school, Lawful Productions raised over $75,000 for organization such as Susan G. Komen Foundation, The Student Hurricane Network, StandUP for Kids, and Miami Law’s HOPE Public Interest Resource Center. Lawful Productions did not continue after Hertzberg graduated, but all of the members of the group continue to give to charities in various ways: monetarily, through leadership on nonprofit boards, and fundraising on behalf of charitable organizations.
Hertzberg working at Habitat for Humanity
Hertzberg chose to attend Miami Law because he knew he wanted to make South Florida his home after graduation. While many of his Tulane classmates went off to cities across the United States, Hertzberg always had a love for Miami and wanted to be a part of the progress he saw the city making. He considered law schools from all over the country but knew that the extensive alumni network would be invaluable to him after graduation. He was also drawn to Miami for its international focus—he saw that a lot of law students were from Central and South America and many MBA students were from Asia. This created a truly unique international environment in which to study law and business.
While at Miami Law, Hertzberg was active on the Student Bar Association. Hertzberg knew he had an interest in real estate but was not sure in what area. To gain experience, he spent two summers working for Lennar, first with their in-house legal counsel and then with the business side of the organization. Once working in the business side, he knew he found his niche. Hertzberg was also selected by his peers to be the commencement speaker at graduation, a significant honor for him.
Hertzberg’s family owns a real estate business, The Jills, started by Hertzberg’s mother about thirty years ago, and even though Hertzberg decided that he wanted to join the family business after graduation, he still decided to take the Bar and was admitted to The Florida Bar.
“Even though I am not practicing law in the traditional sense, the legal training I received at Miami Law is incredibly valuable to my work and helps in the complex transactions I execute,” said Hertzberg.
Hertzberg’s sister has joined the family business as well and her marketing background combined with Hertzberg’s JD/MBA make them an unbeatable pair. They started a new division at The Jills called “Second Generation Selling.” As giving back is important to both of them, they also formed “Second Generation Giving,” to focus on their charitable work. Second Generation Giving does not stop with charitable donations after each transaction. The team selling luxury homes and condos on a daily basis does not forget about the importance of affordable housing and often donates to and goes on builds with Habitat for Humanity.
Giving back has always been an important element of Hertzberg’s life. “I believe that you get what you give in life. I have been inspired by the people around me always doing more to give back. I believe that the business world should support non-profits whenever possible with dollars or hours.”
For law students contemplating their path, Hertzberg suggests taking different classes, gaining exposure to different experiences and pushing yourself to do something outside the box—this is the only way to discover your passion.