WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA – Gunster, the West Palm Beach-based, forward-thinking law firm known for having its fingers on the pulse of the state's business climate, is finding that growth and success leads to more of the same, two of its members said during a recent interview.
"As we continue to grow, we're finding there really is a need to have people in those markets," Gunster managing shareholder H. William "Bill" Perry said during a Florida Record telephone interview. "I mean that in terms of people in the community and attracting the best legal talent to the firm."
The 180-attorney firm, one of oldest and largest full service business law firms in Florida, announced last month that it was promoting four shareholders to leadership positions. The announcement was made during Gunster’s semi-annual meeting in Fort Lauderdale. The announcement described the newly created positions as a significant expansion of the firm’s management team, which adopted its corporate structure in 2008.
The decision to expand was driven by management needs of the firm as it continues to serve its clients in a state roughly the size of Great Britain, Perry said. "It's hard to do all that from only one point on the map," he said.
Promotions include Lila Jaber of Tallahassee, head of the firm's government affairs practice and now a regional managing shareholder, who also spoke with the Florida Record in a joint telephone call with Perry. Gunster recognizes the differing needs among the Florida communities the firm serves, but there is some convergence as well, Jaber said. There are, for instance, certain political, bureaucratic and legal elements that must be reckoned with in Tallahassee, the state's capital, she said.
"The reality is that every business and every contract eventually goes through Tallahassee," she said.
Other promotions announced by Gunster include Derek E. Bruce and Allison E. Turnbull, who have been promoted to Orlando office managing shareholders, and Bill Adams, promoted to Jacksonville office managing shareholder. The new responsibilities are in addition to their legal practices and are effective immediately, the announcement said.
Jaber now works with Perry to advance Gunster's strategic direction, including recruiting and integrating top talent in northern and central Florida, and enhancing the firm’s presence in Tampa, Orlando and Tallahassee, according to the announcement. Bruce and Turnbull focus on Orlando, while Adams oversees the growth of Gunster’s Jacksonville office. "The new management team brings diversity in experience, as well as in terms of practice and geographic areas," the announcement said.
In addition to the recent promotions of four Gunster attorneys, this year the law firm also hired four shareholders, 10 associates and one of-counsel shareholder, according to the announcement. The firm also recently added two new offices, one in Winter Park and the other in Boca Raton.
While the new promotions and other additions have Gunster in a good place to serve its clients, Perry said that as the needs of Gunster's clients and the communities it serves continue to grow and change, he could foresee Gunster continue to grow and change with them. "We're pretty happy with the management team we have right now," he said.