Executive Council

Melanie Damien


Michael Chesal

Chair Elect

Jay Brown


Leyza Blanco


Jon Polenberg

Immediate Past Chair

JoAnn Shearer

Section Administrator

Melanie Damian represents public and private companies and individuals in a variety of complex business and securities litigation, and serves as Chair of the Business Law Section.  Ms. Damian regularly serves as a Federal Equity Court-Appointed Receiver and Distribution Agent in matters involving violation of Securities, Commodities and Trade laws and as a Receiver and as counsel to Receivers in a variety of state court matters.  She represents and counsels companies on complicated business disputes, injunction matters and high stakes litigation.

Michael Chesal is a partner with Peretz Chesal Herrmann in Miami, Florida and is the Chair Elect of the Business Law Section. Chesal is Board Certified in Intellectual Property Law and helps clients with a variety of trademark, copyright, patent, trade secret, domain names, and computer software protection, registration, and infringement issues. Prior to serving as Secretary-Treasurer, Chesal served as Chair of The Florida Bar’s Intellectual Property Law Committee, Chair of the Legislation Committee, Chair of the Retreat Committee, and has served on the Section’s Executive Council for many years.

Jay Brown is a partner with Akerman LLP and serves as Treasurer of the Business Law Section.   Jay practices primarily in the areas of bankruptcy, commercial litigation, and business law representing business entities and individuals in their capacities as creditors, committees, trustees, and debtors.  Jay’s practice includes workouts and business reorganizations.   Prior to serving as Treasurer, Jay served as Chair of The Business Law Section’s Bankruptcy/UCC, Bankruptcy Judicial Liaison and Legislation Committees and has served on the Section’s Executive Council for many years.

Jon Polenberg is a founding partner of the firm Polenberg Cooper, PLLC, and is the Immediate Past Chair of the Business Law Section. Polenberg represents businesses and the people in business when they become embroiled in disputes.  Before serving as Chair, Polenberg served on the Business Litigation, Legislation, Membership, Retreat, and CLE committees as well as the Executive Council.  The Business Law Section awarded Polenberg the Outstanding Member of the Year and Outstanding Achievement Awards for his work on the Revised Florida Arbitration Code enacted in 2013. 

Role of the Executive Council

The Executive Council is the governing body of the Section and is made up of the Section’s officers, chairs and vice-chairs of the substantive and standing committees, and all members of the Long Range Planning committee.