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Sarasota-Manatee
Business Observer Wednesday, Jul. 14, 2021 3 months ago

Storied law firm names new president

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Ric Gregoria will remain with Williams Parker after serving two terms as president.

SARASOTA — Williams Parker, one of the most storied law firms in the region, recently announced a transition in the role of firm president.

Mike Wilson, a partner with the firm and member of its management committee since 2009, is the new president. Wilson replaces Ric Gregoria, who has been firm president for six years, serving two terms. Gregoria, with a practice at Williams Parker that focuses on wealth and business succession matters for high net worth individuals, families and business owners, will remain with the firm.  

The president role is one of three positions on the firm’s management committee. The committee oversees high-level firm strategy decisions, operations and administration and, says Gregoria, maintains Williams Parker’s fabric as a community-oriented firm with high ethical and moral standards. The firm, with offices in downtown Sarasota, was founded in 1925 and has been the legal arm of some of the region’s most prominent developments and organizations for generations.

Courtesy. Ric Gregoria served two terms as firm president at Williams Parker.

While Gregoria says he enjoyed his two terms— the firm has no term limits on a president — he says it was time to make way for a new leader in the role. “I met most of the goals we had set and it’s a nice time for a transition,” Gregoria says. “This will allow me to get back to what I love: being a lawyer.”  

Some of the accomplishments Gregoria cites over the past six years include two big ones: growing the firm’s net revenue per partner about 30%, including through the pandemic, and establishing what he calls a top-tier team of non-lawyer department heads. During his tenure that list includes a new COO and CFO, in addition to new heads of HR, IT and marketing.

Another accomplishment, Gregoria says, has been a robust training program to guide new WP attorneys in the firm’s values and standards. “We spend an inordinate amount of time persevering the fabric of the firm,” says Gregoria. He cites some of the firm’s past leaders, who recently died, including Robert “Doc” Benjamin, George Dietz, Jim Ritchey and William Harrison, as guiding lights in that area.  

Gregoria, who like Wilson, is a partner with the firm, says Williams Parker is in good hands with his successor as president. “We are on a trajectory to do more great things,” Gregoria says.  

A past chairman of the board at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Wilson specializes in tax and business planning and structuring. He says he’s learned a lot from seeing and working with Gregoria and Bill Seider, another previous WP president.  

Wilson, 47, aims to continue the firm’s upward trajectory while also bringing his own focus to maintain the firm’s position as a top place for people to turn to —clients and employees. “The practice of law requires a lot of hours and it’s a lot better and a lot more fun when you do it with people you like,” Wilson says. “We don’t see ourselves as a collection of lawyers. We are a one-firm firm.”

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