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Business Observer Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022 1 month ago

Prominent statewide business law firm acquires Tampa firm

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Barnett’s merger with Gunster gives the West Palm Beach-based firm 51 attorneys in the Tampa Bay region.
by: Brian Hartz Tampa Bay Editor

Gunster, a 97-year-old West Palm Beach law firm that operates throughout Florida and specializes in business law, has acquired Tampa-based Barnett, formerly known as Barnett, Kirkwood, Koche, Long & Foster.

According to a news release, the merger boosts Gunster’s presence in the Tampa Bay region to 51 attorneys and 39 professional staff members. Barnett served businesses and private wealth clients for more than 40 years, providing expertise in tax, corporate and real estate law, in addition to litigating on behalf of its clients.

Barnett Managing Partner Peter Kirkwood. (Courtesy photo)

“After diligent consideration, the shareholders of Barnett determined that Gunster was the best fit for continuing and broadening the level of service and care we provide to our wonderful clients, while strengthening the professional culture for our exceptional attorneys and staff,” Barnett Managing Partner Peter Kirkwood states in the release. “There are many outstanding law firms in Tampa, but we believe Gunster shares our commitment to excellence. Gunster has a great focus on its people, they provide best-in-class legal services and are fully committed to the Tampa Bay community.  We are very excited for this next chapter.”

Kirkwood and fellow Barnett shareholders Leslie Barnett, David Koche and Thomas Long have joined Gunster, the release states, along with attorneys Nicholas Alman, Craig Behrenfeld, Cullen Boggus, Tiana Brockway-Horne, Hunter Brownlee, Dylan Coons, Matt Goddeyne, Michael Hargett, David Hemeyer, Valerie Litschgi, Rachel Albritton Lunsford, Michael Miller, Caitlyn Parsley, Gary Preston, Steven Shapiro, Allison Kirkwood Simpson, Scott Stigall and William Vincent.

Other terms of the deal, including acquisition cost, were not disclosed in the release.

“The Barnett firm and Gunster share a commitment to excellence and to client service,” Gunster Managing Shareholder Bill Perry states in the release. “As we continue to grow strategically, it’s important to align ourselves with attorneys who are committed to both to the legal profession, the local communities we serve and to the state of Florida. The Barnett attorneys’ leadership and enthusiasm around these causes are qualities we hold sacred at Gunster, making this merger attractive from a cultural standpoint, as well as a client-service perspective.”

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