Oppenheim & Pilelsky Attorneys and Civic Leaders who have Blazed a Trail through our City
(Weston, Florida) – Roy Oppenheim and his wife, Ellen Pilelsky, decided to move to Weston over 15 years ago when they saw the massive, sweeping interchange of I-75, I-595 and the Sawgrass Expressway under construction. “These roads will lead to somewhere,” Oppenheim recalled saying at the time.
So the couple left their respective Wall Street law practices to set down roots in what was mostly cow pasture. “My friends and family didn’t understand the rationale back then,” Oppenheim said. “But we followed our gut instincts and today we have no regrets.”
Those who know Oppenheim well say they’re not surprised he was a pioneer. “Roy has one of the most entrepreneurial spirits of anyone I’ve ever known,” said Jonathan Awner, a fellow lawyer with Akerman Senterfitt in Miami who has known Oppenheim for 16 years. “He’s not afraid to take risks.”
Oppenheim is a pioneer on many frontiers. Besides being one of Weston’s first residents, he was the first to open a law firm in the city and was on the groud floor of several community and charity organizations. Over time, he has grown into a prominent business and civic leader.
The Oppenheim Pilelsky Law Firm has flourished because of the sound philosophy of doing good and well at the same time; that is, taking on cases that not only help solve problems for the people directly involved, but also have broader public policy implications.
Early on, Oppenheim earned a name for himself by representing homeowners who lost their deposits to unscrupulous builders. That experience helped pave the way for larger high-profile cases. In 2000, the law firm sued Firestone and was credited with keeping thousands of potentially defective tires off of the nation’s highways. Oppenheim has also brought statewide attention to the dangers of bacterial meningitis and forced a major supermarket chain to make its stores safer. He has been at the center of the medical malpractice debate in Florida and he was instrumental in informing the public of the health problems associated with toxic mold. Because his experience fighting for the consumer, he is regularly called on by the local and national news media for his expert commentary.
As Weston has grown, so too has the demand for Oppenheim Pilelsky’s legal services. Late last year, the firm relocated from the Republic Bank Building in Country Isles to a larger home at the Weston Corporate Centre. The law firm’s name and that of a title company owned by Oppenheim are proudly emblazoned on the building’s exterior, a sign of how far both businesses have come in such a short amount of time.
For Oppenheim, it all began back in his native Bronx, New York. As a teenager, he developed a strong work ethic which still sticks with him today. After attending Bronx High School of Science, he went on to graduate from Princeton University and then Northwestern Law School, where he met his future wife. The pair landed their first jobs with top New York law firms, but after a few years, both identified remarkable professional and personal opportunities here in South Florida and decided to make the move.
In South Florida, Oppenheim and Pilelsky practiced law for two prominent firms in Miami. But again, more chance was on the way. Pilelsky became pregnant with the couple’s first child and made a lifestyle decision to open her own firm. Husband Roy soon joined her and Oppenheim Pilelsky was born. Shortly after the firm started taking shape, the couple started Weston Title & Escrow, which today serves various high-end builders, developers, banks and real estate professionals.
The law firm’s business and real estate expertise has earned it some major clients in both fields. When Weston-based developer Ignacio Martinez was selected to revamp the old Hollywood Fashion Center into a discount shopping center, he turned to Oppenheim to negotiate the deal. The South Florida Business Journal later singled out the transaction as one of the area’s Biggest Deals of the Year.” Oppenheim is also counsel for Windmill Reserve, a new luxury home community being built off of South Post Road.
“Roy Oppenheim is extremely thorough. He has a clear vision of where he wants to go and who he wants to be,” said Brenda Nestor, chairman of Victor Posner Enterprises, the developer of Windmill Reserve.
Rick Bell, who built dozens of custom homes in Weston’s early days, including Oppenheim’s, echoes Nestor.“Oppenheim is not only dedicated to being an excellent attorney, but he and Ellen are also very committed to giving back to the community and making Weston a better place to live.”
Look around the city and you can see their community service fingerprints all over town. Oppenheim was a founding member of the Weston Business Chamber of Commerce and the Weston Democratic Club, to name a few. He also helped build B’nai Aviv, Weston’s first temple, where he and his wife are very active. Pilelsky is past chairperson of the Social Action Committee that puts on an annual fair to showcase nonprofit organizations in Broward County. Through the synagogue, the Oppenheim family is also very active in Broward Homebound, a nonprofit group that organizes visits to shut-ins. In addition, they make regular trips to Broward homeless shelter to serve hot meals and share time with folks who are less fortunate.
Tom Kallman, owner of Kallman Insurance in Weston, is both a client and a close personal friend. “Roy is clearly an accomplished businessman, and he’s also everything you would want in a community leader,” said Kallman.
“In this life, it’s not what you take out that measures your success, but what you give back,” said Oppenheim. “That is a core principle Ellen and I live by and one that we instill in our three children.”
Shortly after the 9-11 attacks, daughter Melissa followed in the family tradition. At age 12, she raised almost $20,000 for the September 11 Fund by making and baking patriotic items, a proud moment in the Oppenheim household.
Whether it’s offering advice to his children or to a client, Roy Oppenheim has made his mark in Weston. As he settles into his new office and maps out a plan for taking his law firm to a new level, he can’t help but to reflect on the paths already created and focus on the new trails yet to be blazed.
# # #
About Oppenheim Pilelsky:
Oppenheim is a partner in the firm, along with his wife Ellen Pilelsky. Oppenheim Pilelsky, the oldest law firm in Weston, is a general practice concentrating in real estate, litigation and consumer related matters. The law firm of Oppenheim & Pilelsky is located at: 1290 Weston Road, Suite 300, Weston, FL 33326 (954) 384-6114 or 1-888-384-6114. Oppenheim Pilelsky can also be found at www.oppenheimlaw.com
For more information contact: Christine Manna or Julie Silver at Boardroom Communications, 954-370-8999.