TAMPA – The Hillsborough County Bar Association has presented Leonard H. Gilbert with its prestigious Herbert G. Goldburg Award.

According to the county bar association’s website, the award is the highest honor given in the county, and is given “to a trial lawyer who, during the course of a distinguished career, has exhibited fairness, integrity, courtesy, zeal, forensic skill, legal acumen, good sense and respect for fellow lawyers.” Those who have received the award in the past have had long and distinguished careers. According to his colleagues, Gilbert is the perfect recipient of the honor.

Joe Sirven, the head of Gilbert’s practice area at Holland and Knight, told The Florida Record that he couldn't imagine a better candidate for the award.

“He’s an exceptional lawyer, he’s a gentleman and he’s a pillar of the bar,” Sirven told The Florida Record. “The kind of guy you want to be like.”

Sirven said Gilbert has contributed to the legal community beyond his work with Holland and Knight for years. In addition to being a partner at Holland and Knight’s Tampa Bay office, Gilbert speaks on topics pertaining to his practice area and has lectured for the Florida Bar, the American Bar Institute, sections of the American Bar Association, PLI, the International Bar Association, University of North Carolina’s School of Law’s Banking Institute, the International Isolvency Institute and the American Bar Foundation. He also has written multiple reviews and publications, and was an editor of the Collier on Bankruptcy.

Additionally, Gilbert is a certified circuit civil mediator and is on the mediator roster for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida. Along with being heavily involved in the American Bar Association and numerous other organizations, he also served as the president of the Florida Bar in the early 1980s.

Within Holland and Knight, Gilbert represents clients in the areas of banking, commercial finance, creditors' rights, insolvency, mediation, arbitration and commercial litigation. Sirven said that beyond the skills that make him a great attorney, Gilbert is great at projecting a positive image for Holland and Knight.

“One of the things that Leonard does for us is he often represents the firm at events in bar committees,” he said. “And you know when you send as a firm representative to an event or to sit on a bar committee, you know instinctively that you sent the very best guy you can send.”

Sirven said that Gilbert is also a great judge of character, and has often been approached by people seeking information regarding a colleague’s character and aptitude.

“Leonard is the kind of guy that a person in that situation would feel comfortable calling and getting a very honest assessment of a person’s qualities to be, whether it’s a judicial position or some other government position position,” he said.

Gilbert is the 31st recipient of the award.

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