WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 12, 2017) – Gunster, one of Florida’s oldest and largest full-service business law firms, is pleased to announce that, on Dec. 11, 2017, Florida Gov. Rick Scott appointed Gunster shareholder G. Joseph Curley to the judicial bench of the 15th Judicial Circuit Court in West Palm Beach. He fills a vacancy created by the resignation of current circuit judge James T. Ferrara.

Curley is expected to begin serving in a judicial capacity in early 2018.

The 15th Judicial Circuit Court serves the residents of Palm Beach County and is one of 20 circuit courts in the state, which have general trial jurisdiction over matters not assigned by statute to the county courts, and also hear appeals from county court cases.

Gunster attorney Joe CurleyCurley is a labor and employment litigator who has spent his entire legal career at Gunster, beginning in 1986. A skilled trial advocate in the defense of complex, high stakes employment and commercial litigation claims, Curley co-chairs the firm’s labor & employment legal practice.

He most recently represented Florida Atlantic University in a high-profile wrongful termination lawsuit, brought by FAU professor James Tracy who claimed school administrators fired him for his theories that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax. On Dec. 11, a jury reached a verdict in the university’s favor, and hours later Curley received the appointment from the governor.

“Joe joins a growing list of Gunster attorneys who have been called to public service,” Gunster Managing Shareholder Bill Perry says.

“This is a bittersweet announcement,” Perry adds. “We are all happy for Joe; we know what a positive impact he will have on Palm Beach County’s judiciary. We will also miss our friend. Joe and I began our legal careers at Gunster more than 31 years ago: we were associates together, made partner together, and have worked in management together. Joe and I have enjoyed the kind of comradery, friendship and partnership you hope to find in life and business.  I’m confident he will bring the same integrity, humility and intellect to the bench that he has shared with so many of us over the course of his career at Gunster.”

Earlier this year, Gov. Scott appointed former Gunster business litigator Fabienne Fahnestock to the 17th Judicial Circuit Court in Fort Lauderdale.

And in September, former Gunster labor and employment shareholder Keith Sonderling received a presidential appointment to the Department of Labor. He now works as a senior policy advisor in the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division and is based in Washington D.C.

Curley received his J.D. from Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, Florida, in 1985.

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About Gunster

Gunster, Florida’s law firm for business, provides full-service legal counsel to leading organizations and individuals from its 13 offices statewide. Established in 1925, the firm has expanded, diversified and evolved, but always with a singular focus: Florida and its clients’ stake in it. A magnet for business-savvy attorneys who embrace collaboration for the greatest advantage of clients, Gunster’s growth has not been at the expense of personalized service but because of it. The firm serves clients from its offices in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach, Stuart, Tallahassee, Tampa, The Florida Keys, Vero Beach, Winter Park, and its headquarters in West Palm Beach. With more than 200 attorneys and 200 committed support staff, Gunster is ranked among the National Law Journal’s list of the 500 largest law firms and has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Diverse Law Firms by Law360. More information about its practice areas, offices and insider’s view newsletters is available at

Jenni Garrison
Director of Marketing & Corporate Communications

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