Mario P. Goderich was born in Santiago de Cuba, Oriente, Cuba. While still living in Cuba, his parents enrolled him in high school in Virginia. After graduating from high school, he returned to Cuba, where he attended the University of Havana School of Law. He received his Doctor of Civil Laws degree in 1957. He practiced law in Cuba with the firm of Castellanos & Goderich.
Judge Goderich immigrated to the United States in 1961, working in non-legal positions to support his family. He worked his way through the University of Miami School of Law in two and one-half years, receiving his Juris Doctor in 1966. After becoming an American citizen, he was admitted to The Florida Bar in 1969.
While going through the naturalization process and ineligible for Bar admission immediately after law school graduation, he took the position of associate law librarian at the University of Miami School of Law. He later became the University of Miami Law Library director and was an instructor of law. He was one of the founding members and president of the Cuban American Bar Association.
Judge Goderich was appointed in 1975 by Governor Reubin Askew as a judge of Industrial Claims. In 1978, he was appointed judge for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit by Governor Askew and was reelected unopposed in 1980 and 1986. Governor Bob Martinez elevated Judge Goderich to the Third District in 1990. He was the first Cuban-American to sit on all three of those courts.
During his career, he has published several works on international law, legal research and comparative law. Those titles include The Role of the Judiciary in the New Constitution, Bill of Rights in the Colombian Constitution (1993). From 1995 to 1997, he served on the Supreme Court Committee on Standard Jury Instructions in Civil Cases. Judge Goderich has been a member of the Dade County Bar Association since 1969, is a member of the American Bar Association, and is a Fellow in the American Bar Foundation.
Judge Goderich has received numerous honors and awards. In 1981, the Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency named Judge Goderich in its Outstanding Judge recognition. In March 1986, he was presented with The Lawyer of the Americas Award by the University of Miami InterAmerican Law Review. In 1988, the Republic of Colombia bestowed on Judge Goderich the Order of Democracy. He was the first recipient of the Francisco Garcia-Amador Award presented by the Center for Hispanic and Caribbean Legal Studies at the University of Miami School of Law in 1997. He was honored in 2004 with St. Thomas University School of Law’s Jurist of the Year Award, and by the creation of a Cuban American Bar Association Merit Scholarship in his name at Florida International University.
Judge Goderich retired from the Court in 2005 upon reaching mandatory retirement age. He is a Florida Supreme Court certified mediator.