Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed Attorneys Rated 2017 Super Lawyers and Rising Stars
June 01, 2017
For more than 30 years, Aaron Gorovitz's law practice has centered around large and complex commercial, residential and mixed-use real estate projects throughout Central Florida.
Aaron is often involved in site selection and due diligence, and is lead counsel in the procurement of Developments of Regional Impact (DRIs), transit-oriented development, comprehensive plan designations, zonings and other governmental approvals and entitlements. He also formulates public/private partnerships, and takes a lead role in the development, financing and leasing of projects.
Under Aaron’s leadership, the firm’s Land Use, Zoning & Environmental Group was involved in many of the most recognizable public-private partnership projects in Central Florida, including the Amway Center, the CNL Center at City Commons, the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and the Orlando Citrus Bowl, to name a few.
Most often, he finds himself in the role of an all-around trusted advisor to some of Central Florida’s largest developers and philanthropists. “It’s a role that I am completely comfortable with,” says Aaron. “I have always been committed to the success and development of my clients,” he continues, “putting their agendas before my own. I try to do more listening than talking, so that I know what issues and concerns keep them awake at night.” It is that allegiance to his clients that has contributed to Aaron’s numerous recognitions — and the foundation for the relationships he has developed.
“I believe that my clients’ trust extends beyond doing good work,” Aaron explains. “It is a deeper, broader trust that is based on both professional competence and personal relationships, and I am forever grateful for that trust.”
Chambers USA (2017)* reports that Aaron impresses with his handling of a broad range of transactional real estate matters. He recently advised home builder Park Square Enterprises on the $59 million acquisition, and subsequent financing, of 16 vacant sites intended for residential development.
*We make no guarantees or promises that the reader will realize the same or similar results
In addition to his busy law practice, Aaron is deeply involved in his community. As the former chair of the Central Florida Partnership (CFP), he traveled to Washington D.C. with other CFP regional leaders last year to help advance Central Florida’s growing industries: hospitality, travel and tourism, research funding and entrepreneurship. As a member of CFP’s Core Strategy Group, he spent countless hours working side-by-side with community leaders to bring SunRail to Central Florida. Along with chairing the CFP’s Transportation Task Force, Aaron chaired many of the CFP’s committees addressing other key regional issues, including capital, homelessness and water, among others.
His long-time commitment to the community has also included involvement in a number of organizations, including serving on the board of directors for the Community Foundation of Central Florida, the executive committee of the Jewish National Fund and the American Diabetes Association’s Father’s Day Council.
Aaron has received numerous awards and accolades for his contributions to the community, both in business and for his charitable work. He is always raising his hand in service with quiet strength and unwavering commitment.
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.
Randi Fitzgerald focuses her practice on land use, zoning, environmental matters and real estate development, including comprehensive planning, Developments of Regional Impact (DRI’s), DRI rescission, annexation, concurrency, vested rights and property rights issues.
Randi has served as lead counsel for more than 35 DRI’s and has represented both property owners and local governments. She represents clients in all phases of development for commercial, residential and mixed-use projects, including site selection, due diligence, and procurement of land use approvals and entitlements.
Randi’s depth of experience crosses multiple jurisdictions throughout Central Florida. She has worked with clients to establish, develop and manage large scale mixed-use developments in Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Brevard and Lake Counties. She has often served in a strategic management role with consultant teams on large and complex projects, and has negotiated development agreements, road network agreements, development orders, utility agreements, school capacity enhancement agreements and mitigation agreements.
In addition, Randi is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Court and Appellate Mediator, concentrating in intergovernmental disputes and private and public disputes affecting real property. She also serves as a Special Magistrate in cases brought under §70.51 F.S., the Florida Land Use and Environmental Dispute Resolution Act.
Chambers USA (2019)* reports that Randi enjoys a strong market reputation with market sources, who describe her as “highly regarded.” She draws on a wide range of experience in the planning and approval of projects, with strength in handling mixed-use developments.
*We make no guarantees or promises that the reader will realize the same or similar results
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.
Rachel D. Gebaide is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee and chair of the Labor and Employment Law Group. She is an experienced employment litigator and adviser, counseling companies in the management of their human resources issues.
Rachel regularly represents employers in federal and state courts and before administrative agencies in defending against claims involving allegations of employment discrimination and violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), and other employment laws. She also defends discrimination claims arising under the Fair Housing Act.
In addition to her litigation practice, Rachel drafts and reviews employee handbooks, employment agreements, non-competition agreements, separation agreements, and other personnel documents. She regularly advises clients regarding workplace issues and compliance with the FMLA, FLSA, WARN Act, the Affordable Care Act, and other employment laws. Rachel also has extensive experience in conducting independent investigations.
A frequent speaker, Rachel often writes articles on developing issues in labor and employment law for client-focused publications, legal industry news outlets, and the firm’s employment law blog.
Rachel is a member of the Labor and Employment Law Sections of the American Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association. She is also a member of the Orange County Bar Association, having served as Chair of the Labor and Employment Law Committee. Rachel is active in the Litigation and Employment Law Group of Meritas, a global alliance of independent law firms.
She also serves as Executive Vice President of Congregation Ohev Shalom and Vice President, Legal of TOP Jewish Foundation.
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.
Jon Gibbs is the co-chair of the firm’s Intellectual Property Services Group and represents clients in a broad spectrum of intellectual property matters, including intellectual property protection, licensing, litigation, auditing and due diligence.
Jon counsels clients on brand management strategies, selection and clearance of trademarks and service marks, policing and enforcement issues and securing rights in proprietary discoveries and works through patent, copyright and trade secret protection.
He conducts due diligence investigations in connection with intellectual property transactions, negotiates and drafts intellectual property transfer and license agreements, and documents co-existence agreements.
Jon has litigated and defended matters involving claims of trademark infringement, trademark dilution, unfair competition, trade dress infringement, false advertising, copyright infringement, cybersquatting, patent infringement and trade secret misappropriation. He has handled numerous matters before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in addition to litigating domain name disputes under the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP).
He is also a general aviation pilot and a United States Coast Guard licensed Captain.
“It’s a phase.”
That was Jason’s dad’s response when Jason told his dad he was going to law school – a predictable reaction, since Jason’s undergraduate degree was in Animal Science (pre-veterinary medicine). Even more startling to his dad: Jason had already studied for and taken the entrance exam, applied to law schools, and secured acceptance and student loans before ever telling his dad about his plan. More than 20 years later, his dad has long-since come around to the idea that he was meant to do this.
Jason believes there are two types of litigators—problem creators and problem solvers—and Jason is a problem solver. For his clients, that means looking for ways to achieve their goals in the most efficient, cost-effective way. Recognizing that there is a bit of an inherent tension in being a litigator, as often, the better you are at your job, the better you are at taking work off your own plate, Jason often jokes with his clients that “While I am all about the ‘Jason Johnson Full-Employment Program,’ it may not be in your best interests to implement that program, and it is your interests that must control.” It is the creativity required to be a problem solver that is one of the reasons he most enjoys litigation. Opponents who mistake his professionalism and reasonableness for weakness, though, do so at their peril, as being a problem solver and a zealous advocate are not mutually exclusive traits.
Jason is Board Certified in Business Bankruptcy by the American Board of Certification. He is a commercial litigator and the senior member of the firm’s Bankruptcy & Restructuring and Creditors' Rights practices. Jason represents commercial lending institutions, REITs, hedge funds, equity groups, financial services corporations, equipment lessors, commercial landlords, real estate developers, asset purchasers, and other secured and unsecured creditors in federal and state court matters throughout the State of Florida. His extensive experience in all aspects of bankruptcy, commercial foreclosure and workout proceedings have ranged to cases involving client assets exceeding $50-billion-dollars and claims exceeding $1-billion-dollars.
Jason also handles “white collar” criminal matters which, not surprisingly, sometimes flow from creditors’ rights cases. Additionally, Jason is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Mediator, acting as a trusted and effective mediator to help warring parties resolve their complex commercial litigation and complex bankruptcy litigation matters.
With deep roots in Florida, Jason has developed longstanding relationships in Central Florida’s business and political circles. He began his law career as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Arthur B. Briskman of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida. A former President and current Board member of the Central Florida Bankruptcy Law Association, Jason is a longstanding leader in the Central Florida bankruptcy bar.
When not practicing law, Jason enjoys road cycling, Gator athletics, drinking fine bourbon, and spending time with his wife and daughter. Though he grew up surfing the warm waters off the Florida coast, he is more likely to be found on any present-day vacation sliding down the snow-covered Alps than at the beach. He is happy to discuss your legal issues, his shift from vet school to the law, or about some of his more “interesting” Animal Science experiences—just don’t ask about the latter over dinner.
Recognized as one of the “Must-Know Contacts” by Florida Trend, Hal Kantor has long been a leader in the firm’s Land Use, Zoning & Environmental and Real Estate Groups. He has been advising local, national and international clients in the areas of land use approvals, real estate transactions and finance since 1972.
Specifically, Hal concentrates on land use, zoning and environmental, developments of regional impact, land use and property rights litigation, administrative law, real estate transactions, development and finance, environmental law, hotel and resort development, golf course redevelopment, and timeshare services. He has represented private and public sector clients for a wide array of land use approvals throughout Central Florida, including serving as lead counsel on more than 50 developments of regional impact.
Hal has also served as special counsel for several municipalities including lead counsel on such projects as the Orlando Downtown DRI and the Orlando Arena DRI.
He devotes much of his personal time to arts and cultural organizations, having served as Chairman of the Board for WMFE/90.7 Public Broadcasting, the Orlando Museum of Art, and United Arts. He has received numerous awards and recognitions including the Tree of Life Award, among others.
Chambers USA (2019)* reports that Hal draws recognition and praise from other practitioners for his Orlando-based land use practice. Focusing his work on the environmental and zoning issues facing developers, his clients include both public and private interests.
*We make no guarantees or promises that the reader will realize the same or similar results