When legendary Miami litigator Alan Kluger strides into a courtroom, jurors are likely to notice something unusual. Forget the hand-tailored shirts, the carefully chosen cufflinks. Standing at all of 5’7”, Kluger’s outsized confident swagger builds from the ground up—from his cowboy boots.
A lawyer in some of Florida’s most high profile cases, including baseball player Alex Rodriguez’s divorce, Kluger has for 25 years worn cowboy boots to court. He owns 23 pairs: 15 he keeps in Miami, eight in New York. “The ones I’m wearing right now are chocolate brown crocodile with my initials branded into the side strap,” said Kluger, senior partner and founding member of Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine. “The branding isn’t fancy. Cowboy boots are formal boots.”
His affinity for the boots began when he bought a pair for a family vacation at a Colorado dude ranch. They felt so comfortable and gained him so much attention he decided to buy another pair. And then another. Eventually he traveled to famous Texas boot maker M. L. Leddy’s to have his boots handmade at the same place Governor Rick Perry has his fashioned. At Leddy’s, Kluger’s foot was measured from 18 different angles. Now, when he’s hankering for a new pair, the maker sends Kluger leather swatches allowing him to place orders right from his Biscayne Boulevard office, and knowing they’ll fit even better than any other pair of shoes.
Indeed, every once in a while he’s been forced to wear regular shoes— and feels downright clumsy when he’s doing so. Trying a case in Boston a few years back, a jury consultant advised the verdict might not go in Kluger’s favor if he wore boots in front of the working class jury. He went out and bought a pair of Bruno Magli shoes instead. “I almost killed myself,” Kluger says, laughing. “I went out and scuffed them up so I wouldn’t slip on the carpet.” Over the years, his penchant for boots has become almost as famous as Kluger himself, earning attention in the press and even a poem in a South Florida legal blog. Meticulous about rotating them regularly and keeping them in good repair. Kluger says “I’ll wear the same pair of boots for a month then go to the shoeshine guy and get them shined up.” Although he’s tried some of Florida’s most high profile cases, he describes himself modestly, with just a touch of irony. “I’ve been married to the same woman for 35 years,” Kluger said of his wife, retired circuit court judge Amy Dean. “My life is somewhat staid and boring. The cowboy boots are where I get my style.”