Robert H. Traurig, considered to be the “Father of Miami Land Use Law” and the “Dean of Zoning,' died on July 17 at the age of 93.
The Miami Law alumnus was one of the three founders of global law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP, which they started just over 50 years ago and today has more than 2,000 attorneys in 38 offices worldwide.
“This is a tremendous loss for the community, the legal profession, and for me, personally,” said Larry J. Hoffman, founder and currently founding chairman of Greenberg Traurig. “Bob was unique and a huge influence on all of us at the law firm - lawyers and staff. His accomplishments and contributions to our firm, the legal profession, and our community will remain as standards always. Mere words cannot do justice to his role in all our lives and the personal loss we all feel. Through his example of the love of law, family, and giving back to the community, he taught us all how to lead a fulfilling and successful life. It has been my privilege to have Bob as a law partner and friend for over 50 years.”
Traurig was born in 1925, in Waterbury, Connecticut. The Great Depression permanently relocated the Traurig family to Miami in 1939. Traurig attended Miami Senior High School and upon graduation enlisted in the Navy, serving as a Navy Communications Operator from 1943 until 1946.
After the war, Traurig returned to the city to attend the University of Miami, where he played basketball, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Inspired by his uncle’s law firm, Traurig went on to study law at Miami Law. Two years after earning his law degree, Traurig would start to practice, but first, he returned to the Navy from 1951 to 1952 to serve in the Korean War.
After a brief stint at a local Miami law firm, Traurig began his practice in 1954, and for 13 years focused primarily on real estate, representing small builders and mortgage companies, along with other corporate and business matters.
In 1967, Traurig partnered with Mel Greenberg and Larry Hoffman to establish Greenberg Traurig Hoffman, recognizing a niche they could capitalize on, as each had expertise in a different area of practice: tax, real estate, and corporate. As a team, they brought a “New York City-style approach” of practicing law to a city on the brink of expansion. Traurig, Greenberg, and Hoffman were committed to working hard and achieving results for clients, and staying active in their local community - creating a firm culture that is still its core today.
Traurig stayed connected to UM and inducted into Iron Arrow, the University’s oldest tradition, and highest honor society. In 2012, Greenberg Traurig made a leadership gift to the University of Miami School of Law to name the LL.M. Program in Real Property Development after Traurig.
The program, designed for practitioners interested in fine-tuning their practice, is called the Robert Traurig-Greenberg Traurig LL.M. Real Property Development Program.
“We are immensely grateful and fortunate to be able to train law students and lawyers in real estate development in a program that bears the name of one of the most significant giants in the industry,” said Associate Dean Raquel M. Matas, acting director of the Robert Traurig/Greenberg Traurig Real Property Development LL.M.
He was honored in 2011 by the school's Law Alumni Association with its Alumnus of Distinction award. At the dinner ceremony, Miami Law Dean Patricia D. White said Traurig had made an "extraordinary contribution to this community," and that it was essential that Miami have a great university "that produces people like Bob Traurig."
A generous donor to the Law School, Traurig was also a long-time member of the University of Miami’s Citizen’s Board.
As a Greenberg Traurig shareholder and founder, Traurig continued to be instrumental in nearly every critical land-use case in Miami. He was influential regarding the development of downtown Miami and suburban regions, as well as the westward development to the Everglades. His practice evolved to incorporate a vast number of developers and builders in real estate property and land use matters. He was also active in issues surrounding administrative law of governmental relations.
Traurig, who was the recipient of the Miami-Dade Beacon Council’s 2017 Jay Malina Award for contributions to Miami’s business community, firmly believed in working diligently not only to make the right move for a client, but to produce a product the community needs in terms of professional results and social aspects of growth within the community. Leading by example as a passionate member of the Miami community, Traurig has been a prominent member of many organizations, over the years he served as President or Chairman for many. He has also engaged in significant pro-bono representation of churches, schools, cultural institutions, and social service organizations.
Throughout his career, industry publication often recognized Traurig, including Super Lawyers, The Legal 500 United States, The Best Lawyers in America, and Chambers & Partners USA Guide. In 2015, the Daily Business Review honored Traurig with its Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2001, Traurig was recognized as one of the “100 Most Powerful People in Miami,” by Miami Business Magazine. For several years, The South Florida Legal Guide listed him as one of “South Florida’s Top Lawyers.” Traurig was also acknowledged as one of “Florida’s Influential” in 2004 by Florida Trend Magazine.
A devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, Traurig lived by a commitment to working hard, working honorably, and working in the best interests of others, not just himself.
"He was a member of those wonderful post World War II classes at the law school," said Dean Emeritus Dennis Lynch. "He was a pillar of the South Florida legal community, an unsurpassed real estate attorney, a civic leader, and a mentor to many young attorneys including the school’s graduates. The school is proud to have our Real Estate Program named in his honor. He was one of a kind."
Funeral services will be held at 12 p.m. Thursday, July 19 at Beth David Congregation, 2625 SW 3rd Ave, Miami