FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida – Shutts & Bowen attorney Edward O'Sheehan has been selected as the Florida Army National Guard's top military attorney.
O'Sheehan is a partner in the firm's Fort Lauderdale office. He will serve as the National Guard's staff judge advocate and legal adviser to Florida's adjutant general, Maj. General Michael Calhoun.
Under state law, the Army National Guard provides protection of life and property and preserves peace, order and public safety. When Army National Guard units are not mobilized or under federal control, they report to the governor through the state adjutant general.
A veteran of the Marine Corps, O'Sheehan is a lieutenant colonel who has served the Florida Army National Guard since 1993.
O'Sheehan recently served the Florida Army National Guard in St. Augustine as a judge advocate general (JAG) officer as the senior defense counsel with the 1565th trial defense team, offering free legal services to soldiers facing criminal or adverse administrative actions.
“I worked in legal services for 10 years, and our firm has a long history of pro bono," O'Sheehan told the Florida Record. “When I was an undergrad I worked in legal aid.”
He also served 15 months in Afghanistan with the 53rd Infantry Brigade of the Florida Army National Guard as trial counsel and deputy staff judge advocate, handling court-martials and other military legal cases, and working with the Army Corp of Engineers and Afghan military lawyers.
O'Sheehan stresses the importance of providing military service members with guidance. “I was overseas, and I do it now here pro bono. It is important to help out soldiers, especially the National Guard. They are not full-time. Usually, they have a full-time job, and sometimes their military duties conflict. We can try to educate them.”
O'Sheehan is a commercial litigator at Shutts & Bowen and chair of the firm's pro bono committee. O'Sheehan recently was named by the Office of the Public Guardian as Pro Bono Attorney of the Year for volunteering over 150 hours to represent wards in guardianship, abuse, neglect, financial exploitation and foreclosure cases.
O'Sheehan has over 19 years of litigation experience in consumer finance litigation, creditors’ rights and bankruptcy, condominium and homeowner association litigation, probate and guardianship litigation, insurance matters and tax appeals.
“I’ve been in the military for 32 years now, and it’s a great experience being in the military,” said O'Sheehan. “I didn’t originally join for altruistic reasons. There wasn’t much going on where I grew up, so I joined — and looking back I’m glad I did.”
“Ed's demonstrated skill as both a litigator and ethics counselor makes him the right choice for this important position," Florida's Adjutant General Major Gen. Michael Calhoun said in a statement. "I know he will excel in this important assignment.”
The Army National Guard is assigned among four Florida National Guard commands to carry out mobilization readiness, humanitarian and contingency operations, such as Operations Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq. The Florida Army National Guard has also deployed units to provide airspace security for the National Capital Region since 2003.