This past year, Gunster continued to experience significant growth across its statewide and state wise business law platform. The firm welcomed nearly 50 attorneys and consultants while further bolstering its multifaceted capabilities across a number of practices including Business Litigation, eDiscovery, Government Affairs, Real Property, Environmental & Land Use, Private Wealth Services, Tax and Construction. More details below on the attorneys who joined these practice areas.

On January 1, 2023, Gunster merged with Grant Fridkin Pearson, a Naples law firm with 27 years of practice in southwest Florida. This added 12 attorneys across the firm’s Real Estate, Business Litigation, Private Wealth Services and Corporate practices in Naples. The firm also has a strong presence in the southwest Florida business and philanthropic community. As Florida continues to flourish, Gunster is well-positioned with a footprint in 12 cities, or every major market across the state.

For the seventh year in a row, Gunster was ranked by Florida Trend magazine as one of the ‘Best Companies to Work For’, remaining the only Florida-focused law firm to be ranked in the Best Large Companies (250 or more employees) category. The firm has experienced monumental growth in recent years, and attaining this honor is increasingly valuable as it corroborates Gunster’s culture and tradition of excellence.

Another significant accomplishment of the firm is its ranking within one of the industry’s prominent legal guides. Of note, Gunster’s 2023 Chambers USA Leading Florida Practices included Banking & Finance; Corporate/M&A & Private Equity; Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation; Energy & Natural Resources; Environment; Healthcare; Immigration; Litigation: General Commercial; Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use; and Tax. In the 2023 Chambers High Net Worth guide, the firm continued to achieve a Band 1 ranking in the Private Wealth Law and Private Wealth Disputes categories.

A pillar of Gunster’s culture has always been its core commitment to the community, and the firm and its attorneys devoted their valuable time and leadership to strengthen a variety of important causes. Attorneys volunteered for the American Heart Association; Autism Speaks; Child Rescue Coalition; Cuban American Bar Association; Education Foundation of Palm Beach County; Freed to Run; Junior Orange Bowl; Latin Builders Association; Leadership Florida; Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce; Quantum House; TaxWatch; Women’s Foundation of Florida; and many more in 2023.

Now in its 99th year, Gunster is committed to Leading Florida Forward through a variety of initiatives aimed at empowering the community at large. One is the Leadership Training Academy, a program designed to inspire and equip the next generation of Florida attorneys, in which law schools across Florida nominate diverse students to attend an annual leadership program designed by Gunster attorneys to provide training and access to like-minded professionals. Another initiative is the Gunster + African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida co-hosted “CEO” Roundtable, an annual event that showcases the success of diverse, high-achieving executives and leaders across the region.

Gunster is proud to be Florida’s Law Firm for Business, and the many accomplishments of the past year serve as inspiration as we embark upon another successful year.

The firm’s flagship Business Litigation practice welcomed Retired Judge Hugh Hayes, the longest serving judge in Florida history (for 44 years). Hayes focuses on Alternative Dispute Resolution, serving as a mediator, arbitrator, and special master to select clients. Devin Moss also joined the firm as an experienced trial lawyer who has successfully represented individuals, small businesses, and multinational companies, in both product liability and business disputes. Most recently, Jon Philipson joined the Business Litigation practice, bringing a wealth of experience in contract disputes, business negotiations, employment disputes, antitrust disputes, shareholder derivative actions, defamation claims and First Amendment issues.

Gunster’s eDiscovery practice grew at a record-setting pace, welcoming a dozen new attorneys and professional staff members. Michelle Six, a nationally recognized litigator focused on electronic discovery law, data privacy, cross border discovery, and AI technology exploration, joined, as did Lisa Lukaszewski, who specializes in information governance and eDiscovery issues related to preservation and production. As the dynamic world of eDiscovery introduces new complexities, the Gunster team stands ready to assist in addressing complex preservation issues.

Gunster’s Government Affairs team saw another successful year advancing our clients’ interests and business needs in a variety of areas. Simone Marstiller rejoined the team after previously serving as Secretary of the Agency for Health Care Administration. Marstiller brings broad and deep experience in state government, as well as contacts and relationships at all levels within Florida’s executive branch. Trey Price, who formerly served as Executive Director for the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC), joined the team as a Government Affairs Consultant with specialized experience in navigating issues associated with affordable housing. Alexandria Kernan also joined as a Government Affairs Consultant. Prior to joining Gunster, she served as the Director of Legislative and Government Affairs at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), and focuses on client support in legislative and public policy.

In the Real Property practice, Steve Kussner and Glen Kussner moved to Gunster. Together the duo brings more than 40 years of experience in closing complex real estate transactions and portfolio deals in over 40 states. Real estate remains at the heart of Gunster’s legal practice as the industry evolves and increasingly impacts the business landscape in Florida.

Timothy Riley joined the firm’s Environmental and Land Use (ELU) group. Timothy brings a deep bench of earned skills to projects involving land use and environmental issues, with a particular emphasis on oil and gas law matters. The ELU team has added a number of attorneys in the last few years and is committed to guiding clients through Florida’s increasingly complicated land use regulations.  

The Private Wealth Services (PWS) practice welcomed Seth Mersky, a notable international tax lawyer and international estate planner to the Miami office. The PWS team continues to be the only Florida-focused firm ranked to Band 1 in the Chambers and Partners High Net Worth Guide 2023, and is proud to have the most representations amongst law firms in Florida in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC).

The firm’s Tax practice was strengthened with the addition of David Sawyer, who provides multi-dimensional legal counsel on deferred compensation, incentive schemes, supplemental executive retirement plans, equity-based compensation, corporate governance, regulatory compliance, and executive employment contracts and severance agreements. Florida has long been an international destination for investment, and Gunster’s tax team is focused on tax counsel that enhances our clients’ financial goals.

The Construction Law practice welcomed Hugo Benitez, who brings more than three decades of service and experience as an Assistant County Attorney and a Division Chief for Miami-Dade County to his commercial law practice today. Gunster is proud to have represented clients across the construction industry for decades.


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, Naples, Orlando, Palm Beach, Stuart, Tallahassee, Tampa Bayshore, Tampa Downtown, Vero Beach, and its headquarters in West Palm Beach. With more than 290 attorneys and consultants, and over 290 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


Find a Professional

by Name

by Practice/Office