ATTORNEY GENERAL WATCH: If Charlie goes to Washington, who will be Florida's next Attorney General?

Our beloved gov is running for Senator. The bLAWgger is both happy and sad about that, as I believe Charlie to be true Statesman. That’s not to me confused with “politician.” Governor Crist has really been a great leader, a perfect face for our state, and a hell of a nice guy. I’m sure he’d do a great job for us in Washington.

But he’s leaving, and everyone on the cabinet apparently wants his job. And that includes the Attorney General. So, in turn, the Attorney General (“AG”) would be open.

So who is out there on the horizon that could be AG? Here’s who’s being mentioned as running for the position in 2010:

From http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/attorney_general/:

George LeMieux

Rep. Tom Grady

Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp

Rep. Marco Rubio

Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff

From http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz/2009/05/democrats-fear-primary-armageddon.html#more:

Dave Aronberg

Dan Gelber

Rod Smith

* * * * *

Below, I have dug up what little information I have been able to find so far about these attorneys’ legal experience (I don’t care about their political accomplishments for the purpose of this bLAWg). The amount of information I have included DOES NOT reflect an endorsement of any candidate (that will come later). It merely reflects what I have been able to find out about their legal careers in a cursory internet search. Of course, be sure to do your own research!

George LeMieux

(Confirmed: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/attorney_general/)

From http://www.gunster.com/attorneys-and-staff/attorney-listing/george-lemieux:

George LeMieux is a shareholder and serves as Chairman on the firm’s board of directors. Mr. LeMieux previously was a shareholder with Gunster, working with the firm from 1994 through 2002. He rejoined the firm in 2008. In the interim, he served as the Chief of Staff to Governor Charlie Crist and was the Deputy Attorney General for the state of Florida.

Admitted to practice 1994; Board Certified in Buisness Litigation (per the Florida Bar).

Rep. Tom Grady

From http://tomgrady.org/meettom.html:

As a young lawyer, Tom Grady moved to Naples 25 years ago to begin practicing law. . . . Tom’s years of experience and success in his legal practice have earned him the highest ranking possible from his peers in the legal profession. Tom’s expertise in the areas of Securities and Complex Commercial Litigation have resulted in his being regularly featured in the media, including CNN, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and Florida Trend.

Admitted to practice 1982 (per the Florida Bar).

Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp

(Confirmed: http://news-press.com/article/20090514/NEWS0107/90514061/1002)

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Kottkamp#Legal_Career

Prior to becoming Lt. Governor Kottkamp was an AV rated attorney licensed to practice in State and Federal Courts in Florida, as well as the United States Supreme Court. He began his legal career at the Kimbrell & Hamann firm which was one of the largest and oldest firms in Miami at the time. Kottkamp primarily practiced in the Products Liability and Commercial Litigation area.

Kottkamp then served as a Law Clerk to United States District Court Judge Joe Eaton. He later served as a Law Clerk to United States District Court Judge Sidney Aronovitz.

After completing his second federal judicial clerkship, Kottkamp returned to Southwest Florida where he joined the Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt firm. Henderson Franklin was first established in 1924 and is the largest law firm between Tampa and Miami. Kottkamp became a Partner at the firm in 1998 concentrating his practice in the Tort and Insurance Practice Section. In 2003 he took over the firm’s Appellate Practice Section.

In 2005, Kottkamp joined the Morgan & Morgan firm where he practiced until being elected Lieutenant Governor in November of 2006.

Throughout his legal career Kottkamp was an active member of the bar. He served as Chairman of the Florida Bar Journal Editorial Board in 2000 as well as President-Elect of the Florida Council of Bar Association Presidents. In 1998 he served as President of the Lee County Bar Assocation and was Vice-President of the Southwest Florida Federal Bar Association in 1996. He was also a member of the Calusa Inns of Court.

Admitted to practice 1988 (per the Florida Bar).

Rep. Marco Rubio

From http://www.broadandcassel.com/attybio.asp?ID=14430 and http://www.broadandcassel.com/bio/mrubiobio.pdf:

Marco A. Rubio is Of Counsel in the Miami office of Broad and Cassel. He is a member of the Firm’s Real Estate and Land Use Practice Groups. Mr. Rubio focuses his practice in the areas of land use, zoning, procurement, and administrative law. As part of Mr. Rubio’s governmental practice, he has represented multiple clients before local government on contract procurement and affordable housing land use issues.

Admitted to practice 1997 (per the Florida Bar).

Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff

From http://ellynbogdanoff.homestead.com/about.html:

Ellyn was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in a Special Election in January of 2004 after 23 years as a volunteer in various charitable and community activities, and as an active member of the Broward business community. She spent the first 16 years of her career as a shareholder in Setnor Byer Bogdanoff, Inc., an independent insurance agency, and was invited to share her successes with other industry professionals as a columnist in American Agent Broker, a national insurance industry magazine. She sold her interest in 1996 and focused on the political arena establishing EBS Consulting in 1997, a government and corporate consulting firm. . . .

After graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in Insurance and Risk Management in 1980, Ellyn went back to law school and graduated magna cum laude in 2003 from Nova Southeastern University.

Admitted to practice 2003 (per Florida Bar).

Dave Aronberg

(Confirmed: http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz/2009/05/attorney-general-dave-aronberg.html)

From http://www.greenspoonmarder.com/attorneys/David-Aronberg.cfm:

. . . .attended public schools before going off to Harvard for college, then Harvard Law School, where he graduated with honors in 1996. After graduation, Aronberg became the only member of his class from South Florida to return to the community permanently after graduation. While working for a large Florida law firm in Miami and West Palm Beach, Aronberg provided free legal work to indigent domestic violence victims.

In 1997, he worked closely with Insurance Commissioner (now U.S. Senator) Bill Nelson to investigate European insurance companies that refused to honor World War II-era policies sold to victims of the Holocaust. In 1999, Aronberg left his law firm to work full-time for Florida consumers as an Assistant Attorney General for economic crimes. He is best known for heading the State of Florida’s lawsuit against “Miss Cleo,” the “Jamaican Shango Shaman psychic” who had become an international celebrity among late-night television viewers.

In 2000, Aronberg was selected to be one of 15 White House Fellows from across the country. In this nonpartisan position, Aronberg served in both the Clinton and Bush Administrations as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Treasury Department for international money laundering. In May 2001, he represented the Treasury Department in Malaysia at a global summit on money laundering, including the laundering of terrorist assets. He then traveled with an official White House delegation to meet with government leaders of Pakistan and visit Afghan refugee camps on the Pakistani border with Afghanistan.

In 2001, Aronberg returned home to South Florida to start the Attorney General’s new economic crimes division in Palm Beach County, where he led the fight against prescription drug pricing scams and telemarketing rip-offs. He was elected to the Florida Senate in November 200 . . .

Admitted to practice 1996 (per Florida Bar).

Dan Gelber

(“I’m not shutting any doors”: http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz/2009/05/gelber-jumping-to-ag-race.html)

From http://www.akerman.com/public/attorneys/aBiography.asp?id=1069:

Shareholder in Akerman Senterfitt’s Miami, Florida office and a member of the Litigation and Policy Practice Groups. Mr. Gelber’s practice focuses on complex, civil, criminal and quasi-criminal litigation. He has extensive civil and criminal trial experience in public corruption, civil rights, contracts, trademark, environmental, employment and health care, and has conducted numerous internal investigations for clients. In addition to his trial court experience Mr. Gelber has argued in the state and federal appellate courts in Florida, Georgia and Washington, D.C.

Before being elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2000, Mr. Gelber served as Chief Counsel and Staff Director of the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, where he directed Senate investigations and studies into terrorism, cybersecurity, organized crime, and money laundering.

For nearly ten years, Mr. Gelber served as a federal prosecutor in the Public Corruption Section of the Miami U.S. Attorney’s office of the Civil Rights Section, and was ultimately appointed Senior Counselor for the U.S. Attorney.

Admitted to practice 1885 (per Florida Bar).

Rod Smith

(Too many “he’s considering it” posts to mention; nothing confirmed as of 5-17)

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rod_Smith_(politician)#Legal_and_political_career:

After joining the bar Smith worked for the Public Employees Relations Commission for two years, representing the state in labor law cases. After this time Smith returned Alachua County and went into private practice for 15 years. The St. Petersburg Times wrote that since that time Smith “crisscrossed Florida, representing an array of labor unions-police officers and firefighters, electrical workers, carpenters, painters and pipe fitters. He argued on behalf of large vegetable farmers and dairies and nurserymen. He won settlements against the likes of DuPont and, occasionally, represented criminal defendants…He established himself as a skillful litigator.” [citation omitted]

In 1992, Smith was recruited by a group of sheriffs to seek the office of State Attorney for the Eighth Judicial Circuit. Smith was elected and during his first term successfully prosecuted serial killer Danny Rolling, the “Gainesville Ripper.” Re-elected in 1996, Smith created the circuit’s first special prosecutions unit, which dealt with crimes against women and children, and created an environmental crime unit.

Smith was elected to the Florida Senate in 2000 . . . Smith is [currently ] a partner with the law firm of Avera & Smith and also serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law where he teaches constitutional law and trial practice and supervises the prosecution clinic. He has also taught at Santa Fe Community College.

Admitted to practice 2003 (per Florida Bar).

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