The Fuel that Drives a Law Family:

Clockwise from left: Mike, Dana, Steven, Danielle, Vivian Blickensderfer

For Blick Law Firm, Hard Work, Outreach and Faith make it WorkBy DONNA BALANCIA, TFLJ ContributorTAMPA -- Mike Blickensderfer, president of Blick Law Firm, measures the success of his business by a unique standard: His family wants to work there too."My wife and each of my children have different talents, and I'm fortunate because they are putting them to use at our law firm," said Blickensderfer, whose Tampa firm is well-known in motorcycle circles and in community groups on the West Coast. Mike's wife, Vivian, is the marketing manager of Blick Law Firm, Dana Blickensderfer, 22, is the public relations and social media director, and son Steven looks to be joining his father as an attorney at the firm after his graduation from University of Florida Levin College of Law in May. "It's such a blessing to see our each of our children use their talents to help out the business," … [Read more...]

Groot: ‘We Must Learn to See Hidden Value’

Attorney Lonnie Groot likes the balancing act

By DONNA BALANCIA, Contributor LAKE HELEN -- Attorney Lonnie Groot likes the balancing act. Over the years as attorney for various Central Florida municipalities, Groot has always sought to keep the balance between big city growth and small town identity. “There’s a special place in my heart for Seminole County and the surrounding towns,” he said. “The region has been very good to me.” As he looks out over Lake Monroe from the sea wall at Sanford, Groot, who is Of Counsel with Strenstrom McIntosh Colbert Wigham & Partlow PA, can see more than water and a couple of people fishing by the harbor. “It’s a hidden gem, don’t you think?” Groot says. “There is the desire here for Sanford to grow and there’s a lot of potential here.” Groot has a knack to see beyond face value, colleagues, friends and family members say. He likes to get down to the … [Read more...]

Farmer-Turned-Attorney: ‘Economy is Pressuring our People’

Brad Hester Fighting for Ag

By DONNA BALANCIA, TFLJ Editor WINTER PARK, Fla. -- Attorney Brad Hester buys locally grown products whenever he can, and not solely to keep in good physical health. The dairy farmer-turned-attorney believes buying Florida-grown products will also nurture a healthy economy. “Agriculture is under a lot of pressure and I help however I can,” Hester said.  “Many factors impact the farmers and all of us are affected every day.” Hester has been involved in the industry for years and says the plight of the farmer pervades all realms of law, touching everything from real estate, to a wide range of environmental issues.  It has been a tough economy throughout the United States, but the farmers in Florida have a particularly tough row to hoe. “The pressure from development has been building, and land values have swung both ways,” said Hester, who works with the law … [Read more...]

Florida A&M Looking Ahead

Dean LeRoy Pernell

By DONNA BALANCIA, TFLJ Editor ORLANDO — It took many years for the College of Law at Florida A&M University to receive its accreditation by the American Bar Association, but Dean LeRoy Pernell said his real work is just beginning. See Dean LeRoy's video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcdR8tMPloA Pernell said he and his staff have set goals to achieve in order to continue to improve. Recruiting, bar examination preparation and community outreach, are markers Pernell says the law school must hit. "We're building a financially strong foundation and were able to provide a source of legal education for students who want to take advantage of that here," Pernell said. "But more importantly, were moving towards providing a major resource for the county both in terms of regional interaction with the bench and bar and providing intellectual resources for the community and our … [Read more...]

Justice for All: Putting People First

Brooke Deratany Goldfarb

By BROOKE DERATANY GOLDFARB When people go to court, they are naturally nervous, angry, upset or afraid. Much usually hangs in the balance. Cases are almost always complicated and must be resolved as judiciously as possible. Individuals are rarely all good or all bad or all right or all wrong, but the one thing they all have in common is that they want to be treated fairly. The judge’s robe and iconic blind over the eyes of Lady Justice are meant to symbolize the closing off of the judge from bias, prejudice and political influence. Judges should make decisions based solely on the unique facts of the case before them and the applicable law and do so with honor, dignity, wisdom, respect and justice for all. One man’s frivolous case is another man’s dying cause, but what are the facts of the case and what law applies? These are the questions for a judge to consider. A … [Read more...]