After ending 2021 with the strongest recruiting year in the firm’s history, Gunster’s expansion showed no signs of slowing in 2022. The firm welcomed nearly 50 attorneys in 2022 while completing two mergers and further broadening its capabilities to 13 offices across the state.

In October, Gunster merged with the Barnett law firm, a Tampa-based law firm formerly known as Barnett, Kirkwood, Koche, Long & Foster. Gunster’s Business LitigationCorporatePrivate Wealth ServicesReal Estate and Tax practices grew with the addition of twenty-two Barnett attorneys who joined in the Tampa Bayshore office. With this merger, Gunster now has more than 50 attorneys and nearly 40 professional staff in the Tampa Bay region.

On January 1, 2023, Gunster expanded into the Naples market through a merger with Grant Fridkin Pearson, a Naples law firm with 27 years of practice in southwest Florida. Twelve Grant Fridkin Pearson attorneys joined Gunster’s Real EstateBusiness Litigation, Private Wealth Services and Corporate practices in Naples. This positions Gunster in every major market across Florida, expanding the firm’s statewide footprint to 12 cities across the state.

Gunster was honored by Florida Trend on its 2022 ‘Best Companies to Work For’ list for the sixth year in a row, and received one of its highest rankings as 14th on the large company list while remaining the only Florida-focused law firm ranked in the category. The firm is proud to continually receive this prestigious recognition which is based on direct feedback from anonymous surveys conducted by a third-party research group.

Maintaining its core commitment to civic and community service, Gunster continued to Lead Florida Forward. Attorneys and staff offered their time and resources to a variety of important causes, including American Heart AssociationAutism SpeaksBroward Performing Arts Foundation; Education Foundation of Palm Beach County; Freed to RunFlorida TaxWatchFriends of Manatee LagoonLeadership Florida;  Leukemia and Lymphoma SocietyMake-A-Wish FoundationUnited Way; and more.

Further building on the explosive growth from 2021, Gunster deepened its capabilities across a range of practices, including Class Action Defense; Construction Law; Corporate Law; eDiscovery; Private Wealth Services; Real Estate Law; Transportation; and U.S. Customs and International Trade. More details below on the attorneys who joined these practice areas.

As Gunster approaches its 100-year anniversary, the firm is poised for continued growth and success in 2023. With an unwavering focus on recruiting exceptional talent across its premier practices, and a commitment to Leading Florida Forward through a variety of programs aimed at empowering the community at large, Gunster remains Florida’s statewide and state wise law firm for business.

The firm’s Class Action Defense team was formalized with Alexis M. BueseTraci H. Rollins and Gregor J. Schwinghammer Jr. named as co-chairs for the group. As a branch of Gunster’s flagship Business Litigation practice, the class actions team is dedicated to helping clients defend their reputations by focusing on defeating class certification and obtaining victory on the merits.

The Construction Law group grew with the addition of Board Certified attorney Aaron Reichelson, who previously spent 15 years working in the construction industry, and represents property owners, contractors, subcontractors, design professionals and other parties involved in personal and commercial construction endeavors of many kinds.

Gunster’s Corporate Law practice was strengthened with the addition of David Koche, Hunter Brownlee, David Hemeyer, Dylan Coons, William Vincent and Steven Shapiro in the Tampa Bayshore office. The team is called upon to serve as both general corporate counsel and special transactions counsel for emerging companies, family and closely held businesses, middle-market and public companies, as well as international businesses and entrepreneurs.

Gunster’s eDiscovery group, led by Christine Payne, continued to grow rapidly with the addition of several new attorneys,  information governance professionals and project managers. The team is comprised of experienced litigators and other professionals focused on managing discovery for some of the biggest and most data-intensive cases in the country.

The firm’s Private Wealth Services practice also expanded significantly and attorneys were added across the state, including Leslie Barnett, Rachel Lunsford, Peter Kirkwood, Michael Miller and Cullen Boggus in the Tampa Bayshore office; and William Pearson, Marcie Charles and Travis Hayes in Naples. Gunster remains the only Florida-focused firm ranked to Band 1 in the Chambers and Partners High Net Worth Guide.

Gunster’s Real Estate Law practice continued to flourish and strengthen its capabilities in this critical area. The firm welcomed Alfredo Gonzalez in Miami; Richard Grant, Cheryl Hastings, Alexandra Gabel and Charles Whittington in Naples; and Michael Hargett and Valerie Stoker Litschgi in the Tampa Bayshore office. Gunster has been at the forefront of Florida’s dynamic real estate market for nearly a century.

The firm welcomed globally ranked attorney Peter Quinter, who leads the U.S. Customs and International Trade group. The team is supported by the firm’s experienced Transportation group, which this year added attorney Andrew Steif as its co-leader. Gunster’s attorneys are skilled in resolving commercial disputes and litigation in state and federal courts involving the importation, exportation or transportation of merchandise.

Of note, earlier this year Natalia Marulanda joined Gunster as its Talent Retention and Development Director. At Gunster, she will develop and implement the firm’s retention strategy, monitor associate performance, create training and learning programs, and implement an onboarding process and mentorship programs. Natalia most recently served as the Mansfield Rule Director at Diversity Lab, where she oversaw the Mansfield Rule certification program in the United States, Canada, and UK to boost DE&I into the leadership ranks of law firms.


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 260 attorneys and consultants, and over 270 committed professional 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


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