19 Lowndes Attorneys Named 2022 Florida Super Lawyers and Rising Stars
July 05, 2022
Alex Dobrev works with investors, developers and lenders on the acquisition, disposition, development and financing of multifamily, condominium and other commercial real estate projects, often involving distressed properties. He has significant experience evaluating, structuring and negotiating large-scale mixed-use development projects.
Chair of the firm's Multifamily & Condominium Group, Alex frequently handles "broken" or "fractured" condominium projects in connection with lenders, bulk investors, and receivers to evaluate and implement exit strategies, including possible unwinding of the condominium regime, while identifying and minimizing potential successor developer liabilities and related risks.
Alex also counsels clients regarding Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act (ILSA) compliance matters, including full and partial exemptions from the Act and overall offering structure.
Bill Dymond is the CEO and President of Lowndes. A leader in his field, Bill advises clients on all types of real estate and business matters, including significant work in the hotel/resort/leisure industry.
Bill is a member of the firm’s Hospitality & Leisure Group, which has handled more than $25 billion in transactions throughout the United States – including Central Florida – and Canada. He currently serves as general counsel to Visit Orlando, the areas convention and visitor’s bureau.
Bill is equally passionate about counseling clients in the sport/entertainment arena. As the lead negotiator, his successes in securing multi-year television agreements with ABC and ESPN for the Citrus Bowl, Camping World Bowl, and team selection agreements with the Big 10, SEC, ACC, Big East and Big 12 conferences, were big wins for Central Florida in a very competitive sports marketplace. Bill has long been a strong advocate and played a key role in the renovation and related funding of Camping World Stadium.
As past chair of Florida Citrus Sports, Bill was instrumental in getting the Orlando venue’s plan complete. He has also worked tirelessly alongside other community leaders as a Founding Board Member of LIFT Orlando to further its mission to break the cycle of poverty through holistic neighborhood revitalization in the shadow of Camping World Stadium.
At the state level, Bill currently serves as a member of the Florida Council of 100 and he has served as a Board Member for Enterprise Florida and Space Florida, serving at the pleasure of the Governor as Chair of Space Florida’s Board of Directors for six years. Under Bill’s leadership Space Florida, the state’s aerospace and spaceport development authority, has partnered with NASA to operate Kennedy Space Center and has expanded our state’s ability to dominate the growing commercial space market while creating jobs in this unique sector.
As the renewable energy industry continues to grow in Florida, Bill also brings to this emerging sector his extensive background advising companies on new revenue opportunities as well as real estate and business matters. Additionally, his numerous leadership roles at the local and state level have helped him develop a broad network of relationships throughout Florida that brings added value to his clients in their pursuits.
Julie Frey is a shareholder and chair of the Private Wealth Services group. She is board certified by The Florida Bar. Her principal areas of practice are estate planning, probate, trust administration, guardianship, elder law and federal tax.
Julie counsels a broad range of clients, including high net worth clients with needs for sophisticated estate planning techniques, physicians and others who have specific needs with respect to asset protection, couples who are in second marriages, domestic partners, “sandwich generation” individuals who have planning concerns for their parents, their children and themselves, and individuals with a net worth that may not be subject to estate tax but who have planning needs and concerns for children, special needs trusts and other important issues.
Julie works with individuals and families to plan family wealth transfers consistent with the family’s goals and with federal estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer tax planning. Techniques include wills, trusts, family limited partnerships, limited liability companies, grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs), sales to intentionally defective trusts, charitable trusts, charitable foundations, marital deduction planning and generation-skipping transfer tax planning.
Since the nature of the estate and gift transfer tax system encourages gifts, Julie prepares a variety of irrevocable trusts that can serve as vehicles for making lifetime gifts to family members, thereby reducing the effective rate of transfer tax. Julie prepares federal estate and gift tax returns. She represents trustees and personal representatives in their administration of trusts and estates. At other times, she assists beneficiaries with the enforcement of their rights in an estate and/or trust.
Julie also represents parties with respect to trust construction matters and will contests with the firm’s litigation group.
A LEED-certified attorney, Michael Gibbons represents owners, developers, contractors, design professionals and subcontractors asserting a variety of construction claims (and defenses to such claims), including actions for breach of contract, delay, latent defects, water intrusion and mold, differing site conditions, extra work, indemnity and warranty.
Michael also counsels clients on issues related to construction claims of lien and surety bond claims and regularly represents clients in litigation and arbitration over construction claims of lien and payment and performance bond claims.
Formerly an Assistant State Attorney, Michael tried over 65 cases through verdict ranging from battery and DUI to Armed Robbery and Felony Murder. He has tried a variety of civil cases as well, and has substantial experience litigating ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) cases in Federal Court under Title III of the ADA where accessibility to public accommodations is at issue.
In addition to litigating design and construction related claims, Michael often represents owners, developers, design professionals, general contractors, and sub-contractors in the preparation and negotiation of design and construction contracts. His experience litigating construction claims helps Michael identify problematic and unfavorable contract language. Conversely, his experience drafting and negotiating complex construction contracts makes Michael a more informed and knowledgeable litigator when a client needs a forceful advocate on a construction contract issue. A reasonable and clearly expressed allocation of commercial risks, rights and liabilities is essential to a good design or construction contract and critical for reducing the risk of later claims.
Accredited by the Green Building Certification Institute as a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Associate, Michael is a frequent speaker and author on the subject of managing risks in sustainable design and construction contracts. He has significant experience drafting and negotiating design and construction contracts incorporating sustainability principles including LEED standards.
Jonathan Huels has a broad background in environmental law, land use and zoning. He works with local governments and other federal and state regulatory authorities to address the needs of his clients related to environmental permitting and compliance, brownfields, petroleum and hazardous waste assessment and remediation, zoning, comprehensive plans, concurrency, Developments of Regional Impact (DRI's), golf course and other types of property redevelopment, due diligence, and property rights.
A member and past chairman of the City of Orlando's Municipal Planning Board, Jonathan is also a past member and chairman of the Orange County Environmental Protection Commission. In addition, Jonathan previously served on the Executive Council of the Environmental and Land Use Section of The Florida Bar from 2014-2020. He is an active member of the Coastal Conservation Association.
Huels holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in environmental science from the University of Florida and the University of Idaho. He received his law degree from the University of Florida Levin College of Law.
Prior to attending law school, Jonathan worked as a research scientist with the South Florida Water Management District.
A Virginia native originally with aspirations to become a journalist, Brendan Lynch fell in love with Florida and has made it his home since 2005. He represents both commercial and residential property land owners, as well as tenant business owners, in issues of property tax valuation and eminent domain/condemnation.
Brendan assists property owners throughout Florida with their property tax appeals, including assessment reviews, direct negotiations with county property appraisers, appeals to the Value Adjustment Board, and trial and appellate court proceedings. His clients include apartment projects, big box stores, condominiums, commercial strip centers, hotels, residences, student housing, vacant land, and other retail buildings.
With broad experience handling many different types of exemption applications, Brendan often assists clients from the application stage through challenges, to denial of any exemption, through trial and appellate court proceedings. These exemption applications include agricultural, conservation easements, healthcare, homestead, military housing, non-profit, religious, and senior living.
Typically, the eminent domain cases involve a governmental entity (Florida Department of Transportation, county, city, expressway authority, or other state agency) or private utility with condemnation powers seeking to take land from the property owners. Interestingly, Brendan has also represented condemning authorities on special projects – bringing a perspective from both sides of the table.
Brendan’s love for his adopted hometown of Orlando is reflected in his commitment to the community and its cultural diversity. A long-time advocate for the arts and current Chair of the United Arts of Central Florida’s Board of Directors, Brendan recently helped steer the largest Collaborative Campaign in the organization’s history (over $3M). He has also served in leadership roles for the Adult Literacy League, the Orange County Teen Court, and the Heart of Florida United Way.
- Achieved property tax assessment reduction for internationally-known hotel from $421 million to $259 million, resulting in millions of dollars of savings.
- Represented a national building contractor in its application for military housing exemptions, resulting in a change in Florida law and a savings of $17 million dollars for the client.
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- Property-Tax Exemptions for Senior-Living Facilities: Application Deadline is March 1, 2021 [Gray Area of The Law]
- Brendan Lynch Discusses Tax Savings and Real Estate Investments in Mansion Global
A Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator, Morey Raiskin works in the firm’s Labor & Employment Group.
Over the past 38 years, Morey has represented management of both large and small employers. He has successfully litigated cases in state and federal courts and represented clients in administrative proceedings involving the EEOC, DOL and FCHR. Morey also serves as an advisor to his clients, counseling them on virtually any workplace issue they may confront.
Morey develops non-compete and employment agreements, personnel policies, employment application forms, employee handbooks, and counsels clients on wage and hour, discrimination, WARN Act planning and union avoidance strategies. He litigates these same issues in state and federal courts or in administrative proceedings before the EEOC, U.S. Department of Labor or the Florida Commission on Human Relations.
Morey began practicing law in Las Vegas, Nevada, before moving to Orlando in 1984. In 1986, he accepted an in-house opportunity with a diversified publisher, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, eventually becoming Lead Labor and Employment Counsel and Administrative Vice President of its wholly-owned subsidiary, Sea World. In 1990, Morey returned to private practice and has served in a myriad of roles, including as a shareholder and chair of the Labor and Employment Law Group at Lowndes from 1990—2012.
John Ruffier concentrates his legal practice on commercial real estate, representing clients within Florida and across the nation. As the firm's Senior Housing Group chair, he also helps companies build their senior living portfolios from the ground up.
Whether representing companies that are developing, acquiring or selling commercial real estate, or lenders who are making or modifying commercial loans, John’s skills garnered from his championship rowing days serve him well. After all, rowing is a lot like business: both require a clear vision and goal, a well-developed plan, manageable milestones and a laser-like focus – with the flexibility to adjust when necessary.
Restaurants, big box retail stores, office buildings, golf courses, and senior living facilities are among the real estate transactions in John’s dossier, both in Florida and across the United States. Clients appreciate John’s holistic approach to deals – like in his rowing days, John ignores distractions and always keeps his focus on the goal line of getting the deal done. With senior housing, John and his team work on such diverse issues such as land use, licensing, financing, labor and employment, management and operations, all to provide clients with advice that carefully looks at both immediate needs and the long-term prospects for potential transactions.
When he is not practicing law, John is heavily involved in The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. He founded Orlando’s HRC Steering Committee which has received numerous national awards since its inception. Although still involved on a local level, John now focuses his service as a member of the organization’s national Board of Directors and will take over as Board Chair next year. John is also the past President of the Hope and Help Center of Central Florida, an AIDS service organization in Orlando. The organization has awarded him the “Chuck Hummer II Visionary Award” in recognition of his leadership in the LGBT community.
Michael Ryan’s clients are optimistic visionaries who have helped to build Central Florida into the thriving community it is today.
From his representation of the Orange County Research and Development Authority which acquired, financed, developed, managed and marketed the highly successful 1,000-plus-acre Central Florida Research Park, to the University of Central Florida’s planned teaching hospital at Lake Nona and their downtown campus in Orlando Creative Village, Mike and his clients have had a hand in many of the significant projects that have shaped this Central Florida community.
With years of experience representing developers and lenders in complex real estate transactions, Mike’s problem-solving and organizational skills, his industry knowledge, and his dedication to client service have proved invaluable to his clients.
Mike had not always planned for a career as a real estate lawyer. In college, he studied mathematics and enjoyed subjects such as linear algebra, differential equations and complex analysis. He also had a passion for government studies. With summer jobs at a landscaping firm while in college and a full-time job managing an apartment building while in law school, it was only natural that his academic and work experiences would lead Mike toward a real estate practice.
Throughout the many Florida real estate booms…and busts…Mike’s background as a problem solver has been particularly helpful in his representation of developers, investors and lenders in complex real estate development and finance transactions – both public and private.
Earning a reputation for keeping a deal moving through to completion, regardless of the economic climate, Mike’s skills naturally led to representation of lenders and investors in acquiring and disposing of distressed assets during economic downturns. His experience was particularly helpful in analyzing and resolving title problems, confirming land use entitlements, understanding community development district assessments, and recapturing control of homeowner/property owner/condominium associations.
“My success is tied directly to helping my clients succeed,” Mike asserts.
Mike is equally committed to the Central Florida community through his involvement in many civic and charitable organizations. He helped the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida to structure a unique arrangement with the Orange County Public School System: a new Boys and Girls Club is located at the OCPS Academic Center For Excellence in the downtown Orlando Parramore neighborhood. He has served as Chair of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, and as Board Chair of the American Red Cross of Central Florida.
When he is not spending family time in Winter Park with his wife, Theresa, their daughter and granddaughter, Mike can be found on the golf course, or working with Theresa on the landscaping in their yard. He and Theresa also spend time at their home in Ireland where they are very much in touch with their Irish roots.
Norma Stanley is a shareholder, is board certified in Wills, Trusts & Estates by The Florida Bar and holds a Master of Laws in Taxation. She advises clients on estate planning, federal tax, probate, trust administration, guardianships and elder law.
With more than 25 years of legal experience in wealth transfer, business succession, sophisticated tax, trust and estate planning, estate and trust administration and family office creation, Norma represents a myriad of clients, including high net worth individuals and their families, beneficiaries of trusts and estates, trustees and small business owners.
In addition to providing estate planning, including complex estate planning for high net worth individuals, planning for moderately wealthy individuals, and basic planning for modest, non-taxable estates, Norma also provides estate planning services such as estate, gift and generation skipping transfer tax planning, including family office planning, irrevocable trust planning, grantor retained annuity trusts planning, sales to defective grantor trust planning, qualified personal residence trust planning and charitable planning, including charitable trusts and private foundations, family limited partnerships, business succession planning and asset protection planning.
Norma offers probate and estate administration services which include formal administration and summary (small estate) administration and the preparation and filing of federal estate tax returns (Form 706). Trust administration services include wealth transfer management, trust modifications and providing advice to trustees and other fiduciaries as well as representation of trust beneficiaries.
Additional related services include federal estate and gift tax audit representation and preparation and filing of applications for recognition of exemption related to private foundations (Form 1023).
James Walson represents title insurance companies, commercial landlords, property owners, buyers and lenders throughout Florida – in both transactional and litigation real estate matters. His passion for advocacy began at an early age through watching his father, Pete, serve as a City Commissioner in Stuart, Florida and continued through high school and college as an award-winning debater.
Today, Jamie, as he is called by clients and friends, is a real estate lawyer representing title insurance companies, commercial landlords, property owners, buyers and lenders throughout Florida – in both transactional and litigation matters. He has negotiated commercial leases, purchase and sale agreements for retail space, office buildings and medical offices.
Many clients turn to Jamie for his real property litigation experience as well. He has litigated matters involving contracts, title insurance liability, commercial landlord / tenant matters, easements, fraud, deed warranties, boundary disputes, adverse possession, lien priority and access rights. In addition, he has conducted appeals before the Second District Court of Appeal and the Fifth District Court of Appeal.
A fan of – and participant in – improvisational theater, Jamie counts on his humor in navigating difficult negotiations and litigation. He is an avid golfer, is on the board of the First Tee of Central Florida, and is a father to three boys.
Becky Wilson is chair of the firm's Land Use, Zoning and Environmental Group. She represents property owners, developers, lenders and other development participants with issues related to zoning, comprehensive plans, concurrency, administrative law, Developments of Regional Impact (DRI’s), procurement issues, due diligence and property rights.
As early as sixth grade, Becky advocated for the causes she believed in. Her concern about nuclear waste and water contamination in her hometown of Dothan, Alabama – and her thorough research – promoted her to press a state legislator with questions in the school auditorium. Having grown up in the South, Becky got in trouble for questioning authority – yet that life experience served her well.
After clerking for a federal judge in Washington, D.C., Becky landed in Orlando, quickly building a reputation at Lowndes for being thorough, outspoken, and a tireless advocate for clients. She ultimately found her niche in land use, collaborating with architects, transportation engineers and local governments to move her clients’ projects – and Central Florida – forward. Becky became one of the youngest female shareholders at the firm. Today, she is Chair of the Land Use, Zoning and Environmental Group.
Her clients include property owners, developers, lenders and other participants in the development of high-rise, hotels, planned communities, large “power-centers,” mixed-use projects, office buildings and big box commercial projects, projects within historic districts, multi-family developments, senior living, and affordable housing. Becky works closely with the local government entities to address the needs of her clients related to zoning, comprehensive plans, concurrency, administrative law, Developments of Regional Impact (DRI’s), procurement issues, due diligence, and property rights.
Undoubtedly, Becky’s diligence, activism and Southern charm were responsible in part for her appointment as chair of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) of Central Florida District Council, a global multidisciplinary real estate organization with more than 40,000 members dedicated to the responsible use of land, and creating and sustaining thriving communities.
Nicole Cuccaro concentrates her practice on real estate transactions, real estate development and commercial leasing. She assists a wide range of clients with the acquisition, disposition, leasing and financing of commercial real estate in the retail and hospitality industries.
Before she focusing her practice in the area of real estate law, Nicole handled a variety of commercial and corporate litigation matters and regularly represented lenders and business entities.
Hanna Edeback represents a wide array of clients in the acquisition, sale and leasing of commercial real estate, including industrial, multi-family, senior housing, office and retail projects. She also assists with complex commercial lending transactions, including real estate, asset-based and other types of loans.
A substantial portion of Hanna’s legal practice is focused on industrial leasing, and she has significant experience advising both landlords and tenants on the unique issues arising through complex leasing transactions involving industrial, warehouse and manufacturing spaces. With clients ranging from private investment firms and regional property management companies to national retailers and local nonprofits, she has handled the negotiation and closing of numerous multi-million dollar transactions throughout Florida.
Active in the community, Hanna currently serves on the board of directors for CREW Orlando, and she is a member of the Orange County Bar Association and the Florida Waterski Federation. She also volunteers with USA Waterski and Junior Achievement of Central Florida and supports Heart of Florida United Way through her firm.
Hanna has been recognized as a "Florida Rising Star" by Florida Super Lawyers and listed in "Ones to Watch" by Best Lawyers. She received her juris doctor degree magna cum laude from the University of FloridaLevin College of Law and her bachelor’s degree with distinction from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
In her free time, she is an avid international competitor in the sport of waterskiing and has been a record holder, a European champion and a member of the Swedish national team.
Andrew Gluck focuses on real estate transactions, development, finance and commercial leasing work in the retail industry, among others.
Andrew provides technical and practical advice to clients in connection with the acquisition, sale and leasing of commercial real estate of all types, including vacant land, shopping centers, entertainment complexes, office buildings, restaurants, hotels, and other retail projects. He assists clients in negotiating contracts for purchase and sale, performing due diligence, negotiating transfer documents and finalizing the closing of transactions.
Andrew has worked on several notable projects, including the acquisition and leasing of a 178-site restaurant portfolio with a purchase price in excess of $245,000,000.00, the acquisition of a four hotel portfolio with a purchase price in excess of $80,000,000.00 and the acquisition and leasing of a 143-site retail portfolio with a purchase price of $240,000,000.00, just to name a few.
As an Ohio native, Andrew has made his home in Orlando since 2007. He is married and resides with his wife and two children in Longwood.
With a broad range of experience in commercial real estate, Matthew McMurtrey concentrates his practice on the acquisition, financing and development of commercial and residential projects. He routinely represents home builders and commercial developers, handling all aspects of complex real estate transactions regarding office buildings, industrial properties, shopping centers, hotels, senior assisted living facilities, apartment complexes, residential subdivisions and condominiums. Matt has also assisted clients with navigating the tax-free exchange process (both forward and reverse).
A lifelong equestrian and ongoing competitor, Matt understands the unique legal needs related to horse ownership and the equine business. During his undergraduate studies, he was a member of the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association, winning multiple world and national championships, as well reserve national champion in the IHSA. He draws on this in-depth industry knowledge and personal experience when advising clients on a variety of equine law matters, including purchase and sale agreements, breeding contracts, boarding and training agreements, and liability waivers and releases.
Matt’s passion for horses and the outdoors drives his involvement with such organizations as the American Quarter Horse Association, United States Team Roping Championships and Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. He is also a member of the Orange County Bar Association and currently serves on the board of directors of the Christian Service Center, an organization working to combat hunger and prevent homelessness in Central Florida.
Mike Provenzale is a shareholder in the Creditors’ Rights Group, representing institutional and private lenders in commercial loan foreclosure and other collection lawsuits, receiverships, workouts, bankruptcies, and REO dispositions throughout the state. His litigation practice also includes business, real estate, and condominium litigation.
Additionally, Mike has experience in the area of Real Estate Transactions, Development and Finance, where he has represented a myriad of private and public clients in connection with the leasing, financing, acquisition, and disposition of commercial real estate, and has published several articles on current creditors’ rights and real estate issues.
A seasoned, business-focused attorney, Ryan Scordato is intimately familiar with the local marketplace and the construction industry.
Ryan assists owners, developers, contractors, design professionals and subcontractors with a variety of construction issues including breach of contract, delay, latent defects, water intrusion and mold, differing site conditions, indemnity and warranty. He also counsels clients on issues related to construction claims of lien and surety bond claims.
Additionally, Ryan regularly counsels clients in the areas of commercial litigation and business law.
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