WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (August 22, 2014) – Gunster, one of Florida’s oldest and largest full-service business law firms, is pleased to announce that 22 of its attorneys are being honored as 2014 “Leaders in their Field” by Chambers & Partners, a UK-based organization that identifies and ranks the world`s best lawyers and law firms based on in-depth, objective research.

In addition to its 22 individual attorney honorees (see list below), the following Gunster practice areas were held out for special recognition in Chambers USA for 2014:

What Chambers USA 2014 says:
» Banking & Finance: Regulatory, Transactional Established Florida firm noted for its wide-ranging regulatory expertise, which covers corporate governance and matters governed by the Office of Foreign Assets Control, BSA/AML and the USA Patriot Act. Acts for a diverse client base of broker-dealers, bank holding companies, and an array of national and international banks.
» Corporate/Mergers & Acquisitions and Private Equity Experienced corporate practice, well known for its work on a significant volume of middle and lower-midmarket deals.
» Environment Well-established team that works closely with the firm’s land use practice to represent a large variety of clients in front of regulatory agencies and judicial tribunals. Very involved in water issues, most notably the development and implementation of the Numeric Nutrient Criteria.
» Health Care Focuses on both state and federal regulatory matters, transactional work and disputes within the healthcare arena. Highly regarded for its experience in acquisitions, mergers, governmental investigations, employment and managed care litigation.
» Immigration Full-service law firm with 11 offices in Florida and a superb corporate immigration practice. Offers immigrant and nonimmigrant visa services, assisting clients in a range of industries, including banking and healthcare.
» Litigation: General Commercial Strong business litigation group. Recent experience includes class action defense and professional malpractice litigation.
» Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use Eminent presence in the Florida land use and zoning market. Also advises developers on transactional and contentious matters.
» Tax (includes employee benefits, estate planning) Advises high net worth individuals, tax-exempt entities, for-profit companies and startup ventures on employee benefits, M&A, and estate and gift tax planning. Also handles outbound and inbound investment structuring.

Gunster’s 22 “Leaders in Their Fields” honorees* are:

  David Atkinson leads the firm’s commercial litigation and professional malpractice teams. Peers consider him to be “absolutely brilliant: incredibly articulate, very smart and talented.”   Gregory Bader concentrates on regulatory matters including SEC compliance. He is also experienced in consumer finance, corporate governance and M&A transactions.
  David Bates is praised for being “user-friendly” and for “taking his time to understand the client’s position.” Sources also note his expertise on corporate transactions, particularly on technology deals.   Sources agree that the “highly regarded” James Brindell is a noteworthy figure in the land use area.
  Elaine Bucher is an authority in the field of estate planning. She demonstrates particular expertise in fiduciary litigation and the administration of trusts and estates, and is described by clients as an attorney who “has a great personality and good judgment, and is a great counselor.”   Rick Burgess is deemed a “particularly effective federal environmental litigator” whose practice spans a number of areas, including groundwater contamination and hazardous waste. He also has a particular focus on regulatory issues, such as enforcement and policy assessment.
  Jay Carmichael comes highly recommended by sources, who note that he provides “outstanding advice.” Clients benefit from his knowledge and experience gained from working for the US Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security.   Sources describe Terry Cole as “the dean of environment law with respect to permitting.” He also maintains a stellar reputation in the phosphate and agricultural sectors, and is able to “command respect at a very high level.”
  James Davis is co-head of the firm’s tax department. His areas of expertise include estate planning and employee benefits, and he is valued as a practitioner whose “knowledge and abilities can win the day on behalf of clients.”   Donald Hall is singled out as a go-to practitioner. He advises developers on all aspects of land use and zoning matters in an array of projects, including commercial and residential projects.
  William Hill‘s caseload encompasses business law, real estate and foreclosure litigation, as well as intellectual property and employment law matters.   Bruce Lamb concentrates on litigation and is praised by sources for being “excellent at working with the State Board and Department of Professional Regulation.”
  Alan Lederman handles a variety of federal and international tax matters. His areas of expertise include tax exemption, and he is regarded by peers as “a very knowledgeable practitioner.”   Michael Mitrione has a huge amount of deal experience which clients value highly: “He has been there and done it, so he sees the nuances and has great ideas.” He is also praised for being a “levelheaded businessperson and more than just a legal resource.”
  The “outstanding” Lynn Pappas is highly rated for her extensive experience and “well-connected” land use and zoning practice. She is known for her work on sophisticated matters and is described as demonstrating great creativity in the way she addresses complex issues.   The “very knowledgeable” Luna Phillips has particular expertise in energy-related environmental design and draws on her background in the South Florida water management district. She maintains a great reputation and sources assert that she is a “very good litigator.”
  Martin Press is admired by peers for his knowledge of federal and SALT controversies. He demonstrates additional strength in estate planning and international tax law.   “Excellent litigator” Mark Ragusa is described as being “extremely responsive and detail-oriented.” He primarily focuses on managed care disputes and reimbursement litigation while also possessing notable strength in business and corporate litigation matters.
  Mariana Ribeiro is a standout associate with a burgeoning reputation in the immigration sphere. Sources praise her “very clear and concise communication style.”   Brian Seymour is considered “an accomplished litigator” in the land use and zoning field. He has further expertise in environmental matters.
  Sarah Lea Tobocman leads the firm’s immigration group and is lauded by clients as being “extremely knowledgeable.” She is warmly recommended by a wide range of market commentators, and advises corporate clients on complex immigration matters.   David Wells litigates commercial disputes out of the firm’s Jacksonville office. His practice includes acting for professional clients accused of malpractice.

*Descriptions are verbatim from Chambers USA 2014.

Chambers & Partners has been ranking the best law firms and lawyers since 1990, and now covers 185 jurisdictions throughout the world. Chambers’ editors and researchers speak to lawyers and clients, conducting in-depth telephone interviews, which provide wide-ranging and testable information on which the organization’s rankings and commentary rely.


About Gunster

Gunster, Florida’s law firm for business, provides full-service legal counsel to leading organizations and individuals from its 11 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 Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach, Stuart, Tallahassee, Tampa, The Florida Keys, Vero Beach and its headquarters in West Palm Beach. With more than 160 attorneys and 200 committed support staff, Gunster is ranked among the National Law Journal’s list of the 350 largest law firms. More information about its practice areas, offices and insider’s view newsletters is available at


Jenni Garrison
Director of Marketing & Communications

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