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Coffee Talk
Business Observer Friday, Oct. 4, 2019 2 months ago

Law firm convenes leadership forum

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At the GrayRobinson event, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor promises justice for Gasparilla pirates while an attorney discusses investors' jitters.

The Tampa office of GrayRobinson P.A. — a full-service law firm with 15 locations across Florida and in Washington, D.C. — recently experienced a leadership change, with Dean Cannon, a former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, succeeding Mayanne Downs as president and CEO on Sept. 1.

Leadership was the topic of a presentation the firm hosted Sept. 26 at the University Club in downtown Tampa. The Community Leader Forum, as the event was billed, was headlined by recently elected Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, the city’s former police chief.

Castor amused the crowd with her wicked-sharp wit and aw-shucks, deadpan delivery, at one point casually threatening gun violence against the Gasparilla pirates who annually “invade” Tampa in mid-January and demand the key to the city from the mayor.

“I just met with the pirates and told them that I would be bringing the real guns, so [they shouldn’t] expect the key to the city this year,” Castor jokes (we hope). “And I'm still a very good shot.”

At the event, Coffee Talk caught up with GrayRobinson attorney Fred Schrils, a leader in the field of securities litigation, who offered his take on economic headwinds that Castor might have to navigate during her term — when she’s not battling pirates, of course.

“I think the word is ‘trepidation,’” Schrils says when asked what’s hearing from investors. “There’s a sense that we are maybe going to veer off course a little bit from the bull market that we've all experienced now for more than a decade.”

But in contrast to the downtown of a decade ago, “I think people are bracing for it,” he says. “Maybe some more than others.”

Trepidation could become a self-fulfilling prophecy, though. “I think you're seeing that investors may be looking for ways to become a little more conservative or perhaps just bunker down,” Schrils adds.

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