TAMPA – David I. Spector will become the ninth chairman and chief executive officer of Akerman LLP, replacing long-time chairman Andrew M. Smulian effective Feb. 1, 2018.
Akerman's partners elected Spector following Smulian's decision to step down and allow new leader to take the helm. Smulian, who became chairman in 2008, is the firm's second-longest serving chairman in its 96-year history.
“To be able to lead, collaborate and further grow our firm while continuing our dedication to both our clients and our community as a whole is exhilarating,” Spector told the Florida Record. “The opportunity to lead such a dynamic and forward-thinking group of professionals at our firm is exceptionally exciting.”
Spector said the firm has a vision for the next era of legal services. The firm's decisions are driven by the needs of clients and has positioned itself to not only address the challenges impacting clients and the industry for today, but for the future, as well, he said.
“I know that continuing Akerman's success will require a sustained focus on these issues and embracing constant change while delivering new and differentiated service for our clients,” Spector said.
Spector's vision includes continuing to lead Akerman down the path begun under Smulian's leadership. Akerman will continue to invest in technology led by the influence of its clients through the firm's participation in Akerman's research and development council.
Spector helped form one of the largest legal teams in the United States that is dedicated to eradicating fraud. He also has served on Akerman's board of directors and is a member of the executive committee. Previously, he served on Akerman's strategic planning committee.
Since joining Akerman in 2009, Spector has built a trial practice devoted to helping the largest U.S. insurance companies and self-insured retailers fight fraud by investigating and litigating complex fraud schemes and unfair and deceptive practices. He also defends law firms facing malpractice claims and claims of a company failing to act in a client's best interest. He advises some of the nation's largest insurers and retailers that are attempting to identify fraud.
Spector said Akerman's entrepreneurial culture provides compelling opportunities for the firm's lawyers to elevate their performances to become the best in their fields, which has allowed him to grow in his field.
“This opened the door for me to launch Akerman's fraud and recovery practice group, and take part in the firm's national growth strategy and many client initiatives,” he said.
While working with some of the largest insurance companies and self-insured retailers in the nation, Spector realized the plaintiff side of fraud investigation is an underserved area, which drew him to this field.
“These complex fraud schemes are persistent crimes that are morphing into higher levels of sophistication across the country, costing the companies and their consumers a tremendous amount of money,” he said.
Akerman is helping corporate victims prevent and combat fraud by establishing new case law that helps corporations recover losses caused by fraudulent acts and by expanding a practice that is devoted to their constant needs, he said.
In the last 10 years, Akerman has grown from 12 to 24 offices serving clients in 35 countries. The firm includes more than 650 lawyers and business people.
Spector said he is honored to be chosen by his partners to continue to develop the remarkable foundation created under Smulian's leadership. Spector will serve a three-year term.