Appointed to the Florida Supreme Court in 2002 by then-Governor Jeb Bush, Mr. Cantero was the first justice of Hispanic descent and one of the youngest ever to sit on the Court. In his six years as a justice, he heard hundreds of appeals and authored well over 100 majority, concurring and dissenting opinions, by definition involving precedent-setting and evolving areas of law. For example, Mr. Cantero authored the Court's opinion invalidating the gaming compact executed by Governor Charlie Crist with the Seminole Tribe of Florida and its unanimous opinion holding that the waiver of the Florida homestead exemption in an unsecured agreement is unenforceable. Mr. Cantero was also the sole dissenter in a decision of the Court holding that under the Federal Arbitration Act, a party may avoid arbitration by arguing that the contract in which the arbitration clause is contained is illegal — a decision the United States Supreme Court later reversed, thus adopting Mr. Cantero's position.
Mr. Cantero chaired the Florida Supreme Court's Commission on Professionalism for six years. He also has been an adjunct professor at Florida State University College of Law.
Before his appointment, Mr. Cantero was in private practice for 14 years in South Florida, specializing in civil and criminal appeals, during which he handled more than 300 appeals and more than 150 oral arguments in all five District Courts of Appeal of Florida, the Florida Supreme Court and several US Courts of Appeals. He also chaired the City of Coral Gables Planning and Zoning Board for four years. After graduating from law school, he served for one year as law clerk to United States District Judge Edward B. Davis in Miami, Florida. He was also a Fulbright Scholar.
In 2007, Mr. Cantero was honored by the Cuban American Bar Association (CABA) with the creation of an endowment in his name. The Justice Raoul G. Cantero, III Diversity Enhancement Scholarship at Florida State University was created to financially assist those who share in CABA's mission to promote equality of its members and increase diversity in the judiciary and in the legal community.
In addition to his litigation responsibilities, Mr. Cantero serves as the Chair of the Firm's Global Diversity Committee.