Cara Higgins joined Horan & Higgins as an associate in December 2004 and became a partner in 2007. Cara devotes a large percentage of her practice to litigation, has tried numerous state and federal cases, and argued appeals before both the Florida Third District Court of Appeal and the Federal Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. She has years of experience in the defense of investigations and prosecutions by the U.S. Government and its agencies against both individuals and businesses. Cara is dedicated to protecting her clients and their businesses.
Cara received her Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, from West Virginia University in 1995 where she was honored as a University Honors Scholar and as Outstanding Freshman of the Year, 1993.
After graduating from Villanova School of Law in 1998, Cara served as a judicial law clerk in the Family Division of the Superior Court, Trenton, New Jersey. While serving as a judicial law clerk, Cara assisted the judges in civil cases, including divorce and custody cases. During her clerkship, Cara was also certified by the State of New Jersey in Civil Mediation and Conciliation Skills by the Administrative Office of the Courts and has served as a mediator in Civil and Matrimonial cases.
In 1999, Cara joined the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office in Trenton, New Jersey where she successfully tried numerous criminal felony cases including mid-to-upper level narcotics cases, violent offenses, and high profile rape and attempted murder cases. While serving as an Assistant Prosecutor, Cara was also named Coordinator of the Mercer County Drug Court Program and was honored by her office as Distinguished Assistant Prosecutor of the Year, 2002.
Cara has extensive trial experience and has tried dozens of cases before both juries and the court. Cara has tried a variety of state and federal cases including but not limited to complex civil litigation, criminal defense, marital and family law, probate, administrative and regulatory matters, construction law, animal law and real estate cases.
In addition to serving her clients, Cara dedicates time to her community. In March 2006, Cara was elected by her peers in the legal community to the Florida Bar Board of Governors, Young Lawyers Division. Cara represented the 16th Judicial Circuit on the statewide board, which includes Monroe County and all of the Florida Keys. Among its various duties and responsibilities, the YLD Board assists the Florida Bar’s 52-member Board of Governors. The Board of Governors has exclusive authority to formulate and adopt matters of policy concerning the activities of the Bar, subject to limitations imposed by the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar. Cara served (2) two terms and in 2010 she was appointed to the board for a third (3rd) term.
In addition to her responsibilities on the YLD Board, Cara served as the President of the Monroe County Bar Association, 2010. She is also a former President of the Monroe County Chapter of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (FACDL).
Cara is passionate about serving the business community in Key West. For the past eight (8) years Cara has been extremely active in the Greater Key West Chamber of Commerce, an organization of over five hundred (500) local businesses. In 2007 Cara was elected to the Board of Directors and she served on the Executive Committee in 2009 and 2010. Cara served as President of the Chamber in 2011 and she has served on the Executive Committee 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2015.
Additionally, in 2010 Cara received a 3-year gubernatorial appointment by Governor Charlie Crist to serve on the Board of Commissioners, Lower Florida Keys Hospital District, Monroe County. In 2013, Cara was reappointed to this position by Governor Rick Scott. She currently serves on the Executive Committee.
In February, 2015, Cara was appointed by Governor Rick Scott to the Board of Directors of the Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority. The Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority Board of Directors is a policy-making Board and their powers and duties include the right to negotiate and establish employee compensation; enter into contracts; prosecute and defend lawsuits; build, operate and maintain water production and distribution facilities and in general, make policy decisions on all items included in the operation of a water utility.
In addition to serving the legal and business communities, Cara is very active in our local non-profit community organizations, especially those dealing with children and education. In 2012, Cara was elected to serve on the Board of the Montessori Children’s School, where she was appointed Treasurer and later President. A strong supporter of education, Cara volunteers numerous hours per year assisting the Children’s School. In 2013, Cara also served as Treasurer for the Key West Montessori Charter School. Cara’s other past involvements include serving on the Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monroe County and as a mentor for Take Stock in Children. She is also a member of the Key West Rotary Club.
In 2017, Cara was presented with the William “Billy” Appelrouth Award by the Key West Chamber of Commerce. This award is the [highest] recognition of individual efforts on behalf of the community.
Throughout her career, Cara has been asked to lecture on topics including criminal law, animal law and law office management and procedure. Cara has been an Adjunct Professor at the Florida Keys Community College as well as a featured lecturer and panel moderator for various organizations. Cara and some of her most famous clients, the six-toed Hemingway cats, have appeared on several major television news programs and in various news publications.
Cara has been a full-time resident of Key West since 2003. Cara and her husband have two children and are dedicated to raising their family in our amazing Key West community.
Cara is prepared to bring her years of experience to the defense of your business, your family and your rights.
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, 2011
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, 2005
- Florida Bar, 2004
- New Jersey Bar, 1998
- U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, 1998
- Pennsylvania Bar, 1998
- Villanova School of Law and West Virginia University.
- West Virginia University, 1995, B.A., Magna Cum Laude, University Honors Scholar
Associations and Memberships
- The Greater Key West Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors 2007 – (President 2011)
- The Florida Bar, Young Lawyers Division–Board of Governors (2006 – 2011)
- Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority Board of Directors 2015 to Present
- Lower Florida Keys Hospital District, Commissioner, 2010 to Present
- Monroe County Bar Association, President 2010
- Montessori Children’s School, President 2014
- Key West Montessori Charter School, Treasurer 2013-2014
- Monroe County Chapter of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Past President
- Key West Business Guild