October 3, 2022

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Business Approach

Cynthia Barnett | 1/1/2006

Darrell Kelley will handle the business side at Holland & Knight, freeing up Howell Melton to focus on the legal side.
A veteran business leader who spent nearly four decades in the telecommunications industry before serving as president and CEO of first the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission and then Enterprise Florida, Darrell Kelley now moves to the legal field, becoming chief operating officer of Holland & Knight. The position is a new one at H&K, one of the 15 biggest law firms on the globe.

Kelley, in the Orlando office, reports directly to Managing Partner Howell W. Melton Jr., in the New York office. The two have been friends for more than a decade, dating back to when Melton ran H&K's Orlando office and Kelley was president of Sprint Florida. When Kelley headed the Orlando EDC, Melton was board chairman. H&K was in the middle of its national search for a COO when Melton learned Kelley was stepping down from Enterprise Florida. He urged his friend to apply. Adding non-lawyer business executives to management ranks is a fast-growing trend at law firms around the nation. With MBAs like Kelley running the business side, managing partners like Melton can concentrate on legal staff and clients.

Kelley leads the business operations in all H&K offices while Melton concentrates on carrying out the firm's "2014 Plan." After rapid expansion under former Managing Partner Bill McBride, Melton is concentrating on strengthening H&K's presence in all of its core markets by 2014. "We're in all the markets we need to be in," Melton says. "Now, we need to work on strengthening the brand in places like the West Coast and Chicago. Darrell is the perfect person to help us. He's been selling Florida all over the globe."

Tags: Politics & Law, Government/Politics & Law

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