January 20, 2020

Up Front - Publisher's Column

Florida's Legal Issue

Andrew P. Corty | 6/28/2018

In this edition, you’ll find an analysis of the 13 constitutional referenda on the ballot this November. Eight of these are proposed by the Constitutional Revision Commission, which meets every 20 years to consider possible additions to the state constitution, and five are by popular or legislative initiative. Executive editor Mark Howard pens his own opinion on the commission’s effort. I agree with him. Amendment proposals can be confusing enough without bundling unrelated issues into one item.

This month’s Trend also contains the Legal Elite section for the 15th straight year with voting by members of the Florida Bar. There are slightly more than 1,000 winners, including those in the Hall of Fame, Up-and- Comers under 40 years old and Government/ Non-Profit attorneys.

The 2018 honorees represent fewer than 1.2% of all Florida attorneys; they practice in 438 firms and in 57 Florida cities. On average, they are 50.8 years young and have been in the legal profession 23.5 years.

Women make up 28% of the Legal Elite attorneys, a percentage that has steadily increased over the years.

While 115 law schools are represented, about two-third of the winners went to five schools — UF’s Levin College of Law, UMiami’s School of Law, FSU’s College of Law, Stetson College of Law and Nova Southeastern’s Shepard Broad College of Law. Also in this issue is a piece on what managing partners are saying about the everchanging field of law.

Finally, there is a useful listing of the largest law firms in Florida and the many fine law schools in the state.

We profile Jorge Perez and his development company, Related Group. This most interesting man was a self-described hippie in the late 1960s before finding his calling as an urban developer extraordinaire. He started his career in Miami, but his company now has projects in Atlanta, Tampa Bay, the western U.S. and internationally. The Related Group now does more than $1 billion annually and is ranked #42 on Florida Trend’s private companies listing.

Another article highlights the merger between timeshare companies Marriott Vacations and ILG, with a short piece on Wyndham Destinations’ ascension as an industry powerhouse.

Among the top 350 public and private companies in Florida, you’ll notice that Tech Data in Clearwater has vaulted into the #1 spot on the public companies list with $36.8 billion in revenue. The company has just announced that CEO Bob Dutkowsky will be succeeded by Rich Hume.

Lakeland-based Publix again tops the private companies list with $34.6 billion in revenue.

The list is interesting not only for the numbers but also because it provides a fascinating look at what products and services Americans consider important today.

More awards. Florida Trend won three more national awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors for Jason Garcia’s Tallahassee coverage, Amy Martinez’s profile of women leaders and the whole staff as a top 10 Magazine of the Year. Also, Mike Vogel won first place in the Green Eyeshade Awards for “Water World,” Jason won second place for “Engineering the Law” and editor Mark Howard won third place for his columns. Huzzah.

— Andy Corty, Publisher


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