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Joseph Z. Fleming

Joseph Z. Fleming is an experienced litigator and labor and employment lawyer who represents a diverse group of clients, including governmental entities, national and international airlines, utilities companies, land developers, and mining interests in issues of labor and employment matters, workplace safety, hazardous-waste regulatory and insurance matters, environmental and land use, and complex international litigation. In addition, he also works in the entertainment, arts and sports law areas.

Joe's labor and employment practice involves representation of management in matters involving:

  • Opposition to union organizational efforts;
  • Collective bargaining negotiations;
  • Representation in arbitration proceedings and in enforcement of collective bargaining agreements;
  • Affirmative action and equal opportunity compliance and related administrative and judicial proceedings;
  • Defending management decisions in labor and employment discrimination cases (in civil rights discrimination, age, disability, wage and hour, occupational safety and hazard, workplace environment, defamation, and other labor and employment related claims); and
  • Related complex litigation (including the Railway Labor Act, National Labor Relations Act, ERISA and RICO-related litigation).



  • Represented Christo and Jeanne-Claude in connection with the permitting and litigation involving the "Surrounded Islands Project for Biscayne Bay." Representation in connection with federal, state, regional, county and local government permitting and representation in the U.S. federal district court litigation involving federal statutory permitting, resulting in judicial approval of the ability to proceed with the project.
  • Represented governmental, historic preservation and conservation groups on a pro bono basis and, also, developers, utilities and manufacturing entities in federal and state administrative agency tribunals, judicial proceedings and appellate cases involving complex environmental permitting issues, including ADA compliance issues.
  • Represented management in administrative and judicial trials and appellate cases relating to labor and employment laws, and environmental laws, and advised management on labor, employment and environmental transactional issues involving acquiring and selling companies.
  • Served as an arbitrator in commercial, employment and environmental arbitration cases and arbitrated numerous cases on behalf of management.

Recognition & Leadership

  • Listed,The Best Lawyers in America, Employment Law - Management; Entertainment Law - Motion Pictures and Television; Environmental Law; Labor Law - Management; Land Use and Zoning Law; Litigation - Environmental; Litigation - Labor and Employment; Litigation - Land Use and Zoning; Sports Law; Water Law, 1983-2020
    • Named, "Lawyer of the Year," Environmental Law, Miami, 2015
    • Named, "Lawyer of the Year," Litigation - Land Use & Zoning, Miami, 2017
  • Listed, Chambers USA Guide, National - Employment Law, 2003-2019
    • "Senior Statespeople," 2014-2019
    Listed, Super Lawyers magazine, Florida Super Lawyers, 2006-2013 and 2015-2019
    • "Top 100 Lawyers in Miami," 2013 and 2015-2016
  • Listed, The Legal 500 United States, Labor and Employment - Labor-Management Relations, 2014-2017
  • Listed, Who’s Who Legal: Labour, Employment & Benefits 2016, "Labour & Employment," 2016
  • Team Member, U.S. News - Best Lawyers®, Best Law Firms Edition, "Law Firm of the Year," Environmental Law, 2016
  • Listed, South Florida Legal Guide, "Top Lawyer," 2004-2005, 2010-2016, 2020
  • Listed, The International Who's Who of Management Labor & Employment Lawyers
  • Team Member, a Law360 "Employment Practice Group of the Year," 2011 & 2013
  • Team Member, a U.S. News - Best Lawyers® "Law Firm of the Year," Entertainment Law - Music, 2011-2012
  • Listed, Florida Trend magazine, "Legal Elite," Employment Law, 2004-2008, 2010, 2016
  • Honored, The Florida Audubon Society, The Tropical Audubon Society and 1,000 Friends of Florida and other non-profit organizations for efforts on behalf of conservation and protection of coastal lands in numerous cases including:
    • Representation in environmental litigation enabling the protection of Cross Creek;
    • Representation in numerous matters including obtaining the first 404(c) Clean Water Act Veto by the EPA of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit; and
    • Represented a non-profit entity suing the United States and its agencies, the State of Florida, Dade County and the City of Miami Beach to obtain the right to proceed with an experiment that would eliminate secondary treatment pursuant to the provisions of the Clean Water Act in connection with RITE-Research Improves the Environment v. Costle, 65o F.2d 1312 (5th Cir.1981)
  • Honored, Progressive magazine, work on the Miami Beach "Art Deco" Historic District Preservation Plan and representation in administrative and governmental and judicial proceedings ultimately to enable the protection of the district
  • Listed, Who's Who in American Law
  • Rated, AV Preeminent® 5.0 out of 5.0

°AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell DistinguishedSM and Martindale-Hubbell NotableSM are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell® certification procedures, standards and policies.

  • Big Brother Mentor, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami, School to Work Program, 2014-2016
  • Chair-Elect, Florida Bar, Entertainment Arts and Sports Law Section
  • Board Member, Miami-Dade and Broward Chapter of the American Jewish Committee
  • Board Member, New World Symphony, Board of Directors
  • Board Member, Jay Weiss Center for Social Medicine and Health Equity, Miller School of Medicine of the University of Miami, Board of Trustees 
  • Former Member, National Center for Preservation Law, Board of Directors
  • Member, America Arbitration Association, Miami Employment Advisory Council, Arbitrators Panel
  • Member, American Bar Association, College of Labor & Employment Lawyers, Inc.
    • Former Chair and Past Council Member, State and Local Government Law Section, Emerging Issues Committee
  • Member, American Law Institute American Bar Association (ALI-ABA)
    • Co-Chair, Founding Chair, Historic Preservation on Historic Preservation Law Program, Co-Sponsored by the National Trust
    • Chair, Course on Airline and Railroad Labor and Employment Law, Spring, 2006
    • Chair, Course on The Law of the Workplace Environment, November 2004
    • Co-Chair, Founding Chair, Course on Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law, January 2005
  • Member, American Jewish Committee, National Legal Committee
  • Member, Committee on Continuing Professional Education, Advisory Group on Labor Law
  • Member, The Florida Bar
    • Certified, Specialist in Labor and Employment Law
    • Chair-Elect and Former Chair, Entertainment Arts and Sports Law Section
    • Former Chair
      • Environmental and Land Use Section
      • Labor and Employment Law Section


  • LL.M., Labor Law, New York University School of Law, 1966
    • Dean's Letter
  • LL.B., University of Virginia School of Law, 1965
  • B.A., English, University of Florida, 1962
Con licencia para ejercer en
  • Florida
  • District of Columbia
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of International Trade
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida