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Law firm senses regional 'resurgence'

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  • | 10:00 a.m. November 7, 2014
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Shutts & Bowen, a Miami-based law firm that expanded to the Gulf Coast in 2006, is on a growth spurt in Tampa and Sarasota.

With a focus in more than 30 practice areas, from administrative law to white-collar crime, the firm has hired at least four attorneys for the offices in the past few months. It's outgrown space in Tampa multiple times and now seeks more space in Sarasota, a market it only entered late last year. Alan Higbee, managing partner of the Tampa office, says the growth is a combination of a strategy to seize opportunities and a rebounding economy.

“We are seeing a pretty good resurgence in business for clients,” Higbee tells Coffee Talk. “It's certainly not a straight upward line, but in general things with our clients are strong.”

The 250-attorney firm, founded in Miami in 1910, has offices in Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, West Palm Beach and the Netherlands, in addition to Tampa, Sarasota and its Miami headquarters. Shutts & Bowen entered Tampa in 2006 with four attorneys in an office in the Tampa Port Authority building. Now the firm leases a 32,000-square-foot floor in a Westshore office building, where it has nearly 40 attorneys.
Two recent prominent hires for the Tampa office are Erik Matheney and Dustin Monokian. Matheney focused on white-collar crime and litigation in more than a decade with Hill Ward Henderson, where he was a partner. He was a federal prosecutor in Tampa before Hill Ward Henderson. Monokian was previously an associate counsel with the U.S. Navy, where he concentrated on government procurement law for the Naval Air System Command outside Washington, D.C.

Much like Tampa, the Shutts & Bowen plan for Sarasota, says Higbee, is to become a full-service firm that can handle a variety of cases for clients. Shutts & Bowen merged with Sarasota-based Livingston, Patterson, Strickland & Siegel, co-founded by prominent local attorney and commercial litigator John Patterson, in November 2013. Three attorneys stayed on after the merger, and Shutts & Bowen has since hired three more lawyers for the office, mostly in estate planning and trusts. “They are ramping up very quickly,” says Higbee. “We are still looking to grow more down there.”


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