If you ask Tampa attorney Alan Zimmet about Nikki Nate, he will say that upon graduating from law school in 2009, she marched into his office, broke a mirror in the conference room and demanded a job.
But that’s not the full story, says Nate. What she will admit is that she showed up to his office uninvited and asked for an interview; she managed to accidentally break a mirror, but still left with a job.
It proves Nate’s gumption and her strong desire to work in local government law — something in which Zimmet specializes. Fast-forward to today, and Nate is making a name for herself in the small niche, alongside Zimmet at Bryant Miller Olive in Tampa.
Last year, Nate earned the Florida Bar’s board certification in city, county and government law, which is held by just 5% of Florida’s 101,000 lawyers. Only a couple dozen Tampa lawyers have this certification and Nate is one of the youngest to earn it.
Nate was fascinated with government law from the start. “Local government law is a bug,” she says. “Once you get bit, it’s hard to let go.” She enjoys that the work is different every day, ranging from work on contracts to labor and employment to financing litigation.
One of the pinnacles of her career thus far has been working on a case for the city of Largo that was presented to the Florida Supreme Court. “I put my heart and soul into that project,” she says. “I hate to call out just one case, but not a lot of attorneys get to practice in front of the Florida Supreme Court.”
— Traci Beach
Name: Nicole “Nikki” Nate
City of residence: St. Petersburg
Employer: Bryant Miller Olive P.A.
Years on the Gulf Coast: 30+
Marital status/children: Not married/no kids
Alma mater/degree: University of Central Florida, BA, cum laude
Best place to network: Through long-term programs, such as Leadership Tampa Bay (c/o 2015 = best class ever!)
Messy desk or clean workspace: Organized chaos
Eat lunch out or at your desk: 50/50
Best business lesson ever learned: It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Weirdest job you’ve ever had: Managing an unofficial betting pool for my dad and his friends when I was 9
A website that makes your job easier: Westlaw
App you use the most: iTimeKeep
One thing you do everyday: Record at least one video of something I want to remember
Community group you’re most involved with: Historic Old Northeast Neighborhood Association
Favorite off-hours activity: Spending time with family and friends
Two people, dead or alive, you’d like to have dinner with: Ferris Bryant and Calvin Coolidge (despite his “Silent Cal” reputation)
What you would be doing if you could pick another career: Writing fiction
Top item on your bucket list: To go zorbing in New Zealand
Your happy place is: Home
Your biggest fear: That this is all just a dream
Favorite Ted Talk: This is Your Brain on Communication
Skill you’d like to learn: How to train dogs to do crazy things like walk on their hind legs or play Frisbee golf
Who would play you in a movie about your life: To quote Chris Cooper in one of my favorite movies, "Adaptation:" “I think I should play me.”
Describe yourself in three words: Hardworking youngry lawyer