Gunster, Florida’s law firm for business, announces that on October 1st, it completed a merger transaction with the Barnett law firm, a Tampa-based law firm formerly known as Barnett, Kirkwood, Koche, Long & Foster. With this merger, Gunster now has 51 attorneys and 39 professional staff in the Tampa Bay region, firmly establishing it as one of the region’s largest commercial law firms. 

The Barnett law firm has been serving businesses and private wealth clients in the Tampa Bay area for more than 40 years. The firm’s highly-credentialed attorneys and professional staff represent a broad range of leading businesses and individuals throughout Florida. What began as a boutique tax and wealth planning law firm grew into a well-respected regional firm, providing tax, corporate, real estate, litigation, and private wealth legal advice to its clients. The Barnett law firm practices complement Gunster’s existing business and litigation services and together, its clients will enjoy an even wider range of services.

Gunster is a 97-year-old Florida law firm with 12 offices across the state and nearly 250 attorneys and consultants. The firm’s strategy is to be the best commercially-focused law firm in the Florida. To achieve that goal, Gunster recruits and retains “best-in-class” lawyers and professional staff to its statewide platform with diverse service offerings.

“The Barnett firm and Gunster share a commitment to excellence and to client service,” said Bill Perry, managing shareholder of Gunster. “As we continue to grow strategically, it’s important to align ourselves with attorneys who are committed to both to the legal profession, the local communities we serve and to the state of Florida. The Barnett attorneys’ leadership and enthusiasm around these causes are qualities we hold sacred at Gunster, making this merger attractive from a cultural standpoint, as well as a client-service perspective.”

Gunster board member and past president of The Florida Bar, Bill Schifino, Jr. added “Gunster’s commitment to the legal profession in Florida is second to none.”

Peter Kirkwood, managing partner of the Barnett firm, said “After diligent consideration, the shareholders of Barnett determined that Gunster was the best fit for continuing and broadening the level of service and care we provide to our wonderful clients, while strengthening the professional culture for our exceptional attorneys and staff. There are many outstanding law firms in Tampa, but we believe Gunster shares our commitment to excellence. Gunster has a great focus on its people, they provide best-in-class legal services and are fully committed to the Tampa Bay community. We are very excited for this next chapter,” Kirkwood continued.

The Barnett attorneys joining Gunster’s Tax, Corporate, Real Estate, Business Litigation and Private Wealth Services practices include shareholders Leslie J. Barnett, Peter T. Kirkwood, David L. Koche, and Thomas G. Long, as well as Nicholas Alman, Craig Behrenfeld, Cullen Boggus, Tiana Brockway-Horne, Hunter Brownlee, Dylan Coons, Matt Goddeyne, Michael Hargett, David Hemeyer, Valerie Litschgi, Rachel Albritton Lunsford, Michael Miller, Caitlyn Parsley, Gary Preston, Steven Shapiro, Allison Kirkwood Simpson, Scott Stigall and William Vincent.

The firm will operate two offices in the region, one in downtown Tampa and one on Bayshore Boulevard.  Financial details of the merger were not disclosed.

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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 12 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, Vero Beach, and its headquarters in West Palm Beach. With more than 240 attorneys and consultants, and over 240 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 Business Development & Corporate Communications


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