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Blake Dowling: A chat with members of Florida???�??�s newest powerhouse law firm

Blake Dowling - February 3, 2023

The firm announced that on Day One it was engaged by several top government and corporate clients.

Lawson Huck Gonzalez, PLLC is hitting the ground running.

From its first day, a number of influential Florida businesses, trade associations and state agencies have engaged the newly launched law firm, which began operations this week.

With offices in Tallahassee and Miami, the firm will focus on litigation, appeals, administrative hearings and government investigations.

As we begin 2023, I’d like to present the new powerhouse team of legal experts, each at the top of their game.

If you have worked in this space, you know them by name and reputation, please join me in celebrating the new firm, Lawson Huck Gonzalez as they open their doors today.

 Here are the elite professionals of Lawson Huck Gonzalez, PLLC: Alan Lawson, who retired in August as a Justice on the Florida Supreme Court; Paul Huck, Jason Gonzalez and Amber Nunnally.

Huck — husband of Judge Barbara Lagoa of the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit — previously served as Chief Deputy Attorney General and General Counsel to the Florida Governor, and more recently was a partner in Jones Day’s Miami office.

Lawson Law Group

Jason Gonzalez, Alan Lawson, Amber Nunnally, Paul Huck. Image via Lawson Huck Gonzalez.

Gonzalez also served as General Counsel to the Florida Governor and frequently handles high-profile cases for the government and business community. Gonzalez resigned from Shutts & Bowen last month where he served as managing partner of the firm’s Tallahassee office and Chair of the firm’s appellate practice group.

Nunnally served as a top aide to then-House Speaker Marco Rubio and later clerked for Florida Supreme Court Justice Ricky Polston.

They are supported by a seasoned team of associate attorneys and litigation support staff, all experienced in complex litigation and appellate matters in federal and state courts throughout Florida.

The firm announced that on Day 1 it was engaged by several top government and corporate clients, including:

— HCA Healthcare

— Florida Chamber of Commerce

— Florida Power & Light

— NextEra Energy

— Publix Supermarkets

— Ajax Building Corporation

— D.R. Horton

— U.S. Institute for Legal Reform

— Florida Healthcare Association

— CrowderGulf

— Florida Department of Transportation

— Florida Department of Management Services

— Security First Insurance Company

— Tower Hill Insurance

— Greater Miami Expressway Agency

Florida Chamber of Commerce President Mark Wilson enthusiastically welcomed the firm.

“We are grateful to Justice Alan Lawson for his service on the Supreme Court and look forward to working with him and his new law partners,” Wilson said. “I’m excited he chose to team up with Jason Gonzalez, whose work with the Florida Chamber has helped to change the legal climate in Florida for decades to come. Congratulations on the creation of a new Florida business and the newest Florida Chamber of Commerce member.”

William Large, president of the Florida Justice Reform Institute concurred. “Justice Alan Lawson, Jason Gonzalez, Paul Huck and Amber Nunnally have built an outstanding legal team. FJRI looks forward to continuing to retain these lawyers to file briefs in high-profile Florida appeals,” said Large.

We sat down with these prominent legal minds to learn more about what brought them together and their backgrounds:

Blake Dowling: Why start your own firm now?

Alan Lawson: “After my retirement from the State, several friends with outstanding firms approached me about joining their practices. As Jason and I were talking, the idea of starting our own firm came up and we brought Paul and Amber into that conversation.  The timing was clearly right for each of us and things just came together.  For me, all the opportunities that presented themselves were fantastic — it’s just that none were as exciting as starting a firm with Paul, Jason and Amber. The team that we have put together is extraordinary and I know that we can fill a needed niche that will serve our clients extraordinarily well — and that we will enjoy working together to build a law firm marked by excellence and integrity.”

BD: Have you encountered any surprises or unexpected aspects of starting a new law firm?

Jason Gonzalez: “The support from our clients has been beyond anything I expected. All of our past clients came with us to the Lawson Firm. Several of them asked if they could be the first client of the new law firm. If you’ve ever risked everything to start a new business, you know that’s an emotionally overwhelming thing to hear. Their encouragement and investment in us is something I will never forget.

“Several new clients have reached out to retain us after hearing the news. As a result, we’re hiring several additional lawyers to help with the increased caseload. They are amazing lawyers who work at top law firms, and most were recommended to us by federal judges. We’ll be announcing their moves to the Lawson Firm over the next few weeks.”

BD: Where will the firm have offices?

Paul Huck: “We have offices in Tallahassee and Miami. While the firm has plans for growth in Tampa, West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, it won’t be rushed. Hiring the highest quality attorneys will drive every decision we make related to expansion. In addition, we’ve engaged a litigation support group of part-time attorneys, all of whom worked at AmLaw 100 law firms. They enable us to undertake large complex litigation of any size.”

BD: Is there anything unique the firm offers to clients?

Amber Nunnally: “Our lawyers’ experience and qualifications are unique for a law firm offering small-firm hourly rates and personalized service. Our team is big enough to staff larger complex litigation like the big firms, but I’m not aware of another law firm of our size offering the experience of lawyers who have represented the biggest companies in Florida and the most powerful elected officials, including four Governors and two Attorneys General. Combine that with the experience of someone who presided over more than 100 jury trials as a circuit judge before serving for many years as a judge on the district court of appeal and then as a Justice on the Florida Supreme Court. I don’t know of another law firm offering that unique experience with small-firm service and rates.

“We also know and love Florida in ways some of the law firms with out-of-state headquarters may not. Our founding shareholders have lived, worked or served in all 67 counties. With nearly 100 years of combined experience, we’ve dedicated our legal careers to protecting Floridians’ constitutional rights and keeping our state a place where businesses, families and individuals thrive. We are passionate about this work and will never back down.”

BD: Justice Lawson, has it been hard to move from the court to private practice?

Alan Lawson: “Only in that I do miss working with my former colleagues at all levels of Florida’s judiciary — and with those who work tirelessly in support of our justice system. Beyond that feeling of loss, I am thoroughly energized at the thought of taking what I have learned from a diverse 35-year legal career and employing that knowledge to help build a firm of remarkable young lawyers who will serve clients well for decades to come. I started practice in 1987 and handled an array of litigation matters as an associate and partner at an exceptional Florida firm, Steel Hector & Davis. I was blessed to be able to work with and learn from some of Florida’s best attorneys — true professionals who practiced at the highest level, achieved extraordinary results for their clients and were genuinely good people. I then handled litigation for Orange County where, again, I honed my skills working with outstanding professionals who helped to shape and prepare me for a 22-year judicial career.

“During my years on the trial bench, I was privileged to preside over more than 100 jury trials; heard oral arguments in more than 1,000 appeals; closed approximately 7,000 cases at the trial level and decided more than 25,000 appeals. Those experiences have allowed me to further hone my skills in legal strategy and analysis and have prepared me for this new role.  My primary focus at Lawson Huck Gonzalez will be representing our clients and guiding our lawyers as they hone their skills, build their practices and seek the best result possible for our clients. I do look forward to getting back in the courtroom.”

For more information, please visit lawsonhuckgonzalez.com or [email protected].


Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies; he can be reached at [email protected].