Michelle Suskauer, The Florida Bar’s president, is targeting gender bias in the legal field

Michelle Suskauer is only the sixth woman to lead The Florida Bar in the organization's long history. Photograph by Nick Garcia.

Finding time for family and friends is a priority to Michelle Suskauer, especially now that the criminal defense attorney has taken on a new role as president of The Florida Bar.

Only the sixth woman to lead the organization — the third-largest bar association in the United States — in its nearly 70-year history, Suskauer said she is focusing on gender bias in the legal profession during her tenure.

And she’s determined not to let her professional responsibilities detract from her personal ones, including time with her husband, Judge Scott Suskauer, and their two daughters, Talia and Rebecca.

“Each day is different,” she said. “I have given up on the idea of perfection. There’s no perfect anything: mom, wife, lawyer. You do the best you can, and that needs to be good enough.”

Baking Away Stress

Two ways she tries to be the best she can: making lists to stay organized, and baking when things get stressful.

“Some practice yoga, work out, garden, meditate or paint — I bake,” Suskauer said. “It relaxes me.”

I have given up on the idea of perfection. There’s no perfect anything: mom, wife, lawyer.’

Her favorite kitchen projects are making babka, the sweet cake that’s an Eastern European Jewish tradition, and spanakopita, the spinach pie layered with phyllo that she learned from her husband’s family from Turkey and Greece. She said they’re both “well worth the effort because my husband and kids love them.”

Besides family, Suskauer also finds happiness in her friendships. She said she loves speaking with people, even strangers, and sees value in being a good listener.

“My girlfriends are my family,” she said. “It’s essential to have people in your life who will listen and support you when you need it, lifting you and bringing you back down to earth.”

Florida Bar Michelle Suskauer
Michelle Suskauer. Photograph by Nick Garcia.INDULGE

Appreciating the Arts

Suskauer grew up outside Manhattan and was taught to appreciate the arts from a young age. She counts Impressionist painters like Seurat, Renoir and Monet among her favorites.

And going to Broadway to see shows was a big deal to her back then and is a tradition that continues to this day, especially since her daughters are active in musical theater.

During Miami Art Week, Suskauer said, “I try to go to Art Basel at least for one day. It’s amazing to walk around and see what’s there. It’s breathtaking to see the talent, and the different art forms.”

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