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Mihaela Cabulea is a Florida Bar Board Certified Specialist in Appellate Practice. She heads our Appellate Practice group and focuses her practice on liability defense, first and third-party coverage, and extra-contractual matters in state and federal appellate courts. She also provides litigation support with dispositive motions and appellate support at trial.

Before joining Butler, she clerked for the Honorable Patrick A. White, U.S Magistrate Judge in the Southern District of Florida and served as a senior judicial staff attorney in the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida. Mihaela has extensive state and federal court experience. She served on the Florida Bar Appellate Court Rules Committee from 2013 to 2016.

Mihaela received her Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Miami, where she was a Soia Mentschikoff Scholar for the duration of her studies. While a law student, she was a legal intern to the Honorable Shelby Highsmith of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida and she served as a Dean’s Fellow in the Legal Writing Center.

In addition to her law degree, Mihaela holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy and an M.A. in American Studies from Babeş-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. As a doctoral student, she spent the 2001-02 academic year as a Fulbright Scholar at Stanford University, California, where she researched her doctoral dissertation on American Pragmatism.

Mihaela was appointed to the Florida Appellate Court Rules Committee for a second term (2022-2025).


  • Florida


  • 2019 Florida Defense Lawyers Association Trial Advocate Award
  • Board Certified in Appellate Practice


  • Babeș-Bolyai University
    Masters in American Studies
  • Babeș-Bolyai University
    Ph.D. In Philosophy
  • University of Miami
    Doctor of Jurisprudence


  • Florida Appellate Court Rules Committee (ACRC)
  • Florida Bar Association
  • Florida Defense Lawyers Association (FDLA)
  • Hillsborough County Bar Association


  • 11th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • 4th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Florida State Courts
  • Northern District of Florida
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida


Effective immediately: jury requests to review testimony in civil cases is governed by Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.453

Previously, the Second District Court of Appeal extended to civil cases the holding in Hazuri v. State, 91 So. 3d 836 (Fla. 2012), a criminal case addressing readbacks to the jury following a request for trial transcripts. Philip Morris v. Duignan, 243 So. 3d 426, 435 (Fla. 2d DCA 2017). In Hazuri, the jury sent the judge a note asking to see trial transcripts. Hazuri, 91 So. 3d at 839. The defen...

Five Simple Ways to Improve Your Legal Writing Skills

This article was originally published in The Trial Advocate, Vol. 41 No. 3 (2022). Used with permission. There is no shortage of legal writing books and articles that young lawyers can use to improve their writing skills. But given all the demands the legal profession places on us, lawyers, when can one find the time to read and, most importantly, implement all that advice, some of which is most ...

Deal or No Deal: The Florida Supreme Court clarifies what it takes for an offer of judgment to be deemed accepted

Recently, the Florida Supreme Court resolved an interdistrict conflict between the decision of the Second District Court of Appeal in Suarez Trucking FL Corp. v. Souders, 311 So. 3d 263, 272 (Fla. 2d DCA 2020) and the decision of the Fourth District Court of Appeal in Cirrus Design Corp. v. Sasso, 95 So. 3d 308, 312 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012), approving the latter. Suarez Trucking FL Corp. v. Souders, 47...

Today’s Technology in Appellate Practice

Join Partner Mihaela Cabulea for a panel discussion on Today’s Technology in Appellate Practice during the HCBA Appellate Law Section Luncheon/CLE on October 12, 2022 at 12:00 p.m., at the Chester H. Ferguson Law Center. The panel is moderated by Sarah Lahlou-Amine (Banker Lopez Gassler, P.A.) and the co-presenters are Judge Andrea Teves Smith (Second District Court of Appeal), Clerk Mary Beth ...

Trial Lawyers, Don’t Lose Your Appeal

Every appellate attorney’s dream is a well-developed record on appeal without any unpreserved errors. But that is not always possible. The recent amendment to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.530(a), issued sua sponte by the Florida Supreme Court, is one example why sometimes errors are unpreserved. In re Amendments to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.530 & Florida Family Law Rule of Proce...

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Floridians will soon experience swifter justice: Come January 1, 2023, Florida will get a Sixth District Court of Appeal

In an attempt to improve the judicial process, the Florida Supreme Court recommended in November 2021 the addition of a sixth district court of appeal. The court’s recommendation was the result of the work done by the District Court of Appeal Workload and Jurisdiction Assessment Committee, formed by Chief Justice Charles Canady. The Committee concluded that the creation of a sixth district court...

Mihaela Cabulea Re-Appointed to Appellate Court Rules Committee

We are pleased to announce that Mihaela Cabulea has been re-appointed to the Florida Bar’s Appellate Court Rules Committee for a second term, commencing July 1, 2022. She will also be serving as the Committee’s Secretary for the upcoming year. This appointment is a recognition of her substantial achievements, ability, and respect within the Florida Bar....

The Anatomy of a Trial: Jury Selection Process – Trial and Appellate Perspectives

Jury selection is a complex process, during which attorneys can aid or hinder their cases. Join Partner Mihaela Cabulea and co-presenter Amber Inman (Ramey & Kamp, P.A.) as they present on navigating this process and how to create a proper record and preserve potential errors for appellate review. This will take place at Disney's BoardWalk Inn on June 16, 2022 for the 2022 FDLA Florida Liabili...

Orders permitting/denying pursuit of punitive damages soon to be immediately appealable

Some Florida practitioners and appellate courts have long pointed to the need to amend the rules of appellate procedure to allow for an interlocutory appeal of an order granting or denying a motion for leave to amend to assert a claim for punitive damages. For example, the Third District Court of Appeal in TRG Desert Inn Venture, Ltd. v. Berezovsky, 194 So. 3d 516, 520 n.5 (Fla. 3d DCA 2016) urged...

Congratulations to our Newest Partners!

As we move into the new year, please join us in congratulating our firm’s newest Partners! You can learn more about them by clicking on their individual photos....

Attorneys’ Fees on Appeal

Join Of Counsel Mihaela Cabulea and Partner Tony Russo as they present for the Appellate Practice Section of the Florida Bar on September 21, 2021. Read the details of the presentation below: We all want to get paid. And if someone other than your client has to foot the bill, all the better. After all, your client wants the most recovery possible. Mihaela Cabulea and Tony Russo will share their e...

Attorney Spotlights | Mihaela Cabulea

  Butler is proud to highlight the diversity among our team of attorneys. Many come from different backgrounds and walks of life. These experiences both professionally and in life are what bring a powerful dynamic and impact to the legal services we provide to our clients. This is especially true of this month’s spotlight attorney, Of Counsel Mihaela Cabulea. Originally from Roma...

Congratulations Mihaela Cabulea | Appellate Board Certification

We are pleased to congratulate Of Counsel Mihaela Cabulea May for receiving her board certification in Appellate practice. This is a highly commendable achievement resulting from her hard work and dedication. Board certification is The Florida Bar's highest evaluation in areas of law approved for specialization by the Supreme Court of Florida. Way to go, Mihaela!...

Florida Supreme Court unveils a revamped summary judgment rule just in time for the May 1, 2021 effective date.

On December 31, 2020, the Florida Supreme Court issued an opinion amending Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.510 governing summary judgment proceedings, to adopt the summary judgment standard articulated by the United States Supreme Court in Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317 (1986); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242 (1986); Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,...

The Federal Summary Judgment Standard Comes to Florida State Courts on May 1, 2021

Last year, the Florida Supreme Court signaled its intention to adopt the summary judgment standard articulated in the Celotex trilogy, by directing the parties in Wilsonart, LLC v. Lopez, SC19-1336, 2019 WL 5188546 (Fla. Oct. 15, 2019) to brief the issue in that case. After having the benefit of the briefings submitted by the parties and numerous amici in Wilsonart, today, in a decision amending t...

The Days Of The “Scintilla” Of Evidence Summary Judgment Standard In Florida Are Numbered

This article was originally published in the FDLA Trial Advocate, Volume 39, No. 2. Legal opinions may vary when based on subtle factual differences. All rights reserved. Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.510, addressing summary judgment proceedings, is modeled after its federal counterpart, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. Although the two rules are substantially similar, the state and federa...

Major Appellate Jurisdictional Shifts In Florida: The Effects Are Yet To Be Determined

          ON JUNE 20, 2020, THE FLORIDA GOVERNOR SIGNED INTO LAW SENATE BILL 1392, which, among other things, divests circuit courts of jurisdiction over appeals from county court orders or judgments. come January 1, 2021, Florida’s circuit courts will no longer have jurisdiction over appeals from county court orders or judgments. The bill amends...

Florida Supreme Court Rewrites the Rules

FLORIDA SUPREME COURT REWRITES THE RULES, LIFTING RESTRICTIONS ON THE IMMEDIATE APPEAL OF ORDERS DENYING ABSOLUTE, QUALIFIED, OR SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY. For those who have kept abreast of the latest opinions issued by the Florida Supreme Court, it should come to no surprise that the court recently amended suas ponte the Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.130 to remove the limitation in the existin...

Mihaela Cabulea – 2019 Trial Advocate Award

Join us in extending congratulations to Mihaela Cabulea for being awarded the FDLA's 2019 Trial Advocate Award. This award recognizes her contributions to the "Trial Advocate", the FDLA's professional journal. Mihaela received this award at the FDLA Leadership Summit on September 27, 2019....

Mihaela Cabulea Appointed to Appellate Court Rules Committee

We are pleased to announce that Mihaela Cabulea has been appointed by the President of The Florida Bar to the Appellate Court Rules Committee, term commencing July 1, 2019.  Standing committees are the backbone of The Florida Bar. This appointment is a recognition of her substantial achievements, ability, and respect within the Bar. Congratulations, Mihaela!...

Offerors relax! Offerees take note! The technical requirements of rule 2.516 do not apply to proposals for settlement

The Florida Supreme Court in Wheaton v. Wheaton, No. SC17-716, 2019 WL 99109 (Fla. Jan.4, 2019), resolved the district split on the issue whether proposals for settlement made pursuant to section 768.79, Florida Statutes and Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.442 must comply with the e-mail service provisions of Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.516. The court quashed the Third District...

International Women’s Day


Mihaela Cabulea