2010 News Items

Paul D. Beitlich Receives Certification as a Circuit Mediator for Florida's 12th Judicial District

Saturday Dec 11, 2010

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Paul D. Beitlich, admitted to the Florida Bar in 1982, and Senior Counsel at Icard, Merrill, Cullis, Timm, Furen & Ginsburg, P.A. since 1988, has recently been certified by the Supreme Court of Florida as a circuit mediator. Circuit mediators are trained and certified attorneys who are selected or appointed to a case by the court as a neutral facilitator to help disputing parties reach mutual and voluntary agreements. Mediation benefits both the court system and the parties involved by reducing costs and saving time.

In order to become a certified circuit mediator, a candidate must meet stringent educational and training requirements as prescribed by the Florida Dispute Resolution Center, an initiative of the Florida state court system.

Mr. Beitlich is an experienced attorney who concentrates his practice in the areas of real estate, development, banking, foreclosures and collections, real-estate based and commercial lending, and real estate title law. A distinguished graduate of the University of Florida College of Law, Mr. Beitlich is a member of the Florida and Illinois Bars. He has been a Florida Bar Board Certified Real Estate attorney since 1991. He is a member of the Sarasota County Bar Association and the Chicago Bar Association. He is also a member of the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of the Florida Bar as well as the Real Estate Section and Corporate Banking Sections of the American Bar Association. He is a founding director of and represents First America Bank. He also represents several other area banks and serves as counsel of record for local real estate developers and contractors as well as out-of-state institutions. In 2006, Mr. Beitlich was listed in the Florida Super Lawyers publication in the field of real estate law and was also listed as one of 30 “Sarasota Super Lawyers” by the same publication.

 In addition to mediating mortgage foreclosure disputes, Mr. Beitlich will mediate business and real estate contract disputes, development, construction and banking issues, as well as commission disagreements.

About Icard Merrill

Icard, Merrill, Cullis, Timm, Furen & Ginsburg, P.A. was founded in 1953 in Sarasota. The firm has grown along with Southwest Florida and now also has offices in Lakewood Ranch and Punta Gorda.  Icard Merrill is a full-service law firm with extensive experience in business, banking, commercial, and construction law and related litigation, real estate, land use, family law, probate, tax, and estate planning. The firm has a strong commitment to the communities it serves, with members involved in numerous civic and not-for-profit organizations in the arts, education, health and human services. In 2010, the firm received the Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice’s Law Firm Commendation for significant contributions of legal services to the indigent and to charitable groups on a pro bono basis. 

For more information about Icard Merrill, contact us.

Arthur D. Ginsburg Is Recertified as Marital and Family Law Specialist

Friday Dec 10, 2010

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Arthur D. Ginsburg has been re-certified by The Florida Bar as a specialist in Marital and Family Law. A senior counselor at the Sarasota-based law firm of Icard, Merrill, Cullis, Timm, Furen & Ginsburg, P.A., Mr. Ginsburg has been board certified in this specialized area since the certification first became available in 1985.

The “Board Certification” program of The Florida Bar is a directive of the state Supreme Court and is intended to be a resource to assist the public in finding a lawyer who has a specific skill set. This certification is the highest level of recognition granted by The Florida Bar in regard to the competency and experience of attorneys in specific areas of law.

In order to become board certified in Marital and Family Law, an attorney must meet a number of requirements, including being a member in good standing of The Florida Bar. All certified lawyers must have practiced law for at least five years with at least 30% of their work load specific to the subject area. They must have been involved in at least 25 contested marital and family law cases during the five years immediately before their application for board certification, as well as document substantial involvement in such cases to demonstrate special competence in this area. Each certified lawyer must receive favorable confidential peer reviews, complete 50 hours of continuing legal education and pass a rigorous written examination. Board certification is valid for five years before requiring a re-certification process.

About Icard Merrill

Icard, Merrill, Cullis, Timm, Furen & Ginsburg, P.A. was founded in 1953 in Sarasota. The firm has grown along with Southwest Florida and now also has offices in Lakewood Ranch and Punta Gorda.  Icard Merrill is a full-service law firm with extensive experience in business, banking, commercial, and construction law and related litigation, real estate, land use, family law, probate, tax, and estate planning. The firm has a strong commitment to the communities it serves, with members involved in numerous civic and not-for-profit organizations in the arts, education, health and human services. In 2010, the firm received the Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice’s Law Firm Commendation for significant contributions of legal services to the indigent and to charitable groups on a pro bono basis. 

For more information about Icard Merrill, contact us.

Residents of Country Lakes Villages Purchase Their Mobile Home Parks for $31 Million

Wednesday Nov 24, 2010

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Residents of Country Lakes Villages, a two-park manufactured home community in Palmetto, have successfully completed their bid to purchase their parks for a final sale price of $31 million.

With a combined 444 lots between the two properties, this sale represents one of the largest real estate sale transactions in Southwest Florida during the third quarter of 2010. The park residents were represented in the transaction by attorney James A. Staack of Clearwater, while the seller – Country Lakes MHP Communities, LLC – was represented by Richard S. Webb, IV, a shareholder with the Sarasota-based law firm of Icard, Merrill, Cullis, Timm, Furen & Ginsburg, P.A.

Country Lakes Villages (www.countrylakes1.com) is a five-star manufactured home community geared to residents age 55 and older. Residents enjoy access to private clubhouses with pools, tennis courts, shuffleboard and other amenities, as well as many social events and planned activities. By its purchase of the Country Lakes Community, the community’s homeowners association has converted this traditional manufactured housing community into a resident-owned co-op (ROC). This move represents a significant benefit to members because it allows residents to own their land, thereby exercising greater control over lot rents and giving them more decision-making power in park maintenance and management.

According to the Federation of Manufactured Home Owners of Florida, Inc. (FMO), (www.fmo.org) there are more than 700 resident-owned mobile home parks in the state, a number that is increasing rapidly as more people realize the benefits of park ownership. By organizing themselves into a non-profit co-op, residents are able to enjoy many of the advantages of traditional home ownership, such as tax savings and the potential for equity growth. Residents also appreciate the security that comes from knowing their park will never be sold to a developer against their wishes. Once the co-op is established, new residents often must be approved by a committee. In many cases, creating a co-op builds a stronger sense of community among the residents, thus creating a more stable neighborhood environment.

About Icard Merrill

Icard, Merrill, Cullis, Timm, Furen & Ginsburg, P.A. was founded in 1953 in Sarasota. The firm has grown along with Southwest Florida and now also has offices in Lakewood Ranch and Punta Gorda.  Icard Merrill is a full-service law firm with extensive experience in business, banking, commercial, and construction law and related litigation, real estate, land use, family law, probate, tax, and estate planning. The firm has a strong commitment to the communities it serves, with members involved in numerous civic and not-for-profit organizations in the arts, education, health and human services. In 2010, the firm received the Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice’s Law Firm Commendation for significant contributions of legal services to the indigent and to charitable groups on a pro bono basis. 

For more information about Icard Merrill, contact us.

Three New Attorneys Join Icard Merrill

Monday Nov 15, 2010

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Icard, Merrill, Cullis Timm, Furen & Ginsburg, P.A. is pleased to announce three additions to its staff of 32 lawyers. Joseph Herbert and Kelly Pflugner recently passed the Florida Bar Exam and joined Icard Merrill as staff attorneys. Robert Drean has also been hired as a staff attorney, having previously worked at Icard Merrill for six months as a law clerk.

Robert “Tad” Drean graduated cum laude from Vermont Law School after earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Central Florida. Previous to his position at Icard Merrill, Mr. Drean served as a research assistant for the Vice Dean of Academic Affairs at his law school. He is an active community volunteer and served as a jury advisor for the Orange County Teen Court.

Joseph M. Herbert is a graduate of Stetson University College of Law, where he was ranked in the top 9% of his class and concurrently earned a Masters Degree in Business Administration. He performed his undergraduate studies at the University of Florida and has worked as a law clerk at firms in Jacksonville and Sarasota. He served in the United States Navy where he was promoted to the officer leadership and training program and is a member of the American Bar Association and the Sarasota and Hillsborough Bar Associations.

Kelly Pflugner is a graduate of Stetson University College of Law. She was an honor student at the University of Miami, where she earned a Bachelor’s of Arts and Sciences Degree. Her legal career includes an internship at the University of South Florida Athletics Department and clerkships at a Tampa law firm as well as Icard Merrill. She is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, where she is seeking accreditation as a Green Associate, and she is in the process of becoming certified as a county court appointed mediator.

Robert Drean and Joseph Herbert will join Icard Merrill’s downtown Sarasota office on Main Street, while Kelly Pflugner will work out of the firm’s Lakewood Ranch location.

About Icard Merrill

Icard, Merrill, Cullis, Timm, Furen & Ginsburg, P.A. was founded in 1953 in Sarasota. The firm has grown along with Southwest Florida and now also has offices in Lakewood Ranch and Punta Gorda.  Icard Merrill is a full-service law firm with extensive experience in business, banking, commercial, and construction law and related litigation, real estate, land use, family law, probate, tax, and estate planning. The firm has a strong commitment to the communities it serves, with members involved in numerous civic and not-for-profit organizations in the arts, education, health and human services. In 2010, the firm received the Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice’s Law Firm Commendation for significant contributions of legal services to the indigent and to charitable groups on a pro bono basis. 

For more information about Icard Merrill, contact us.

Tom Icard is listed in Chambers USA, The Client's Guide to America's Leading Lawyers for Business

Monday Sep 27, 2010

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Thomas F. Icard, Jr., a shareholder with the Sarasota-based law firm of Icard, Merrill, Cullis, Timm, Furen & Ginsburg, P.A., is listed in the Construction Law Section of the 2010 edition of "Chambers USA, The Client's Guide to America's Leading Lawyers for Business." This marks the seventh consecutive year that Mr. Icard has been so recognized. Chambers & Partners' researchers evaluate lawyers from around the world based on objective inquiries about legal ability, professional conduct, and other qualities most valued by clients. The lawyers are listed in their respective areas of practice as a resource for corporations and individuals in choosing legal counsel. Mr. Icard is a former chairman of the Forum on the Construction Industry of the American Bar Association and is among a small group of lawyers in Florida who hold Florida Bar Board Certifications in both Construction Law and Civil Trial Law.

About Icard Merrill

Icard, Merrill, Cullis, Timm, Furen & Ginsburg, P.A. was founded in 1953 in Sarasota. The firm has grown along with Southwest Florida and now also has offices in Lakewood Ranch and Punta Gorda.  Icard Merrill is a full-service law firm with extensive experience in business, banking, commercial, and construction law and related litigation, real estate, land use, family law, probate, tax, and estate planning. The firm has a strong commitment to the communities it serves, with members involved in numerous civic and not-for-profit organizations in the arts, education, health and human services. In 2010, the firm received the Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice’s Law Firm Commendation for significant contributions of legal services to the indigent and to charitable groups on a pro bono basis. 

For more information about Icard Merrill, contact us.

Four Icard Merrill Attorneys Win Coveted Positions on 2010 Florida Super Lawyers

Wednesday Sep 1, 2010

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The law firm of Icard Merrill is proud to congratulate four of its attorneys who were recently named to the 2010 edition of Florida Super Lawyers. This listing is published annually after a rigorous selection process and represents no more than five percent of the attorneys in the state.

The Icard Merrill attorneys chosen for this year’s list include:

  • Thomas F. Icard, Jr.Member of Icard Merrill since 1995: Category: Construction Litigation

  • Arthur D. GinsburgMember of Icard Merrill since 1988: Category: Family Law

  • Robert G. LyonsMember of Icard Merrill since 1986: Category: Personal Injury Plaintiff; Medical Malpractice

  • Alyssa M. Nohren, Member of Icard Merrill since 2006: Category: Rising Star – Real Estate

We are thrilled to have such a noteworthy honor bestowed upon four lawyers from our firm,” said Mike Furen, Chairman of the Board of Icard Merrill. “It speaks volumes about the professionalism and ethical standards at Icard Merrill. Super Lawyer is an especially meaningful award because you have to be nominated and recommended by your colleagues, and that gives it a very personal appeal.

Super Lawyers is a listing of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have achieved an exemplary level of professional achievement and peer recognition.  Published as a part of the nationally distributed Super Lawyer Magazine, the listing is intended to be a resource for legal counsel. Only lawyers who may be hired by the public are eligible for nomination. No one may purchase his or her way onto the listing. The lengthy selection process begins with peer nominations and includes independent third-party research. Each potential candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of achievement, with final selections made on a state level.

About Icard Merrill

Icard, Merrill, Cullis, Timm, Furen & Ginsburg, P.A. was founded in 1953 in Sarasota. The firm has grown along with Southwest Florida and now also has offices in Lakewood Ranch and Punta Gorda.  Icard Merrill is a full-service law firm with extensive experience in business, banking, commercial, and construction law and related litigation, real estate, land use, family law, probate, tax, and estate planning. The firm has a strong commitment to the communities it serves, with members involved in numerous civic and not-for-profit organizations in the arts, education, health and human services. In 2010, the firm received the Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice’s Law Firm Commendation for significant contributions of legal services to the indigent and to charitable groups on a pro bono basis. 

For more information about Icard Merrill, contact us.

Thomas F. Icard, Jr. Recognized in Chambers USA, The Client's Guide to America's Leading Lawyers for Business

Wednesday Aug 25, 2010

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Thomas F. Icard, Jr., a shareholder with Icard Merrill, Cullis, Timm, Furen & Ginsburg, P.A., is again listed in Construction Law in the 2010 edition of Chambers USA, The Client’s Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business©.  This marks the seventh consecutive year that he has been so recognized.

Established in London in 1990 and described by The New York Times as the “gold standard,” Chambers & Partners employs full-time researchers who evaluate lawyers from around the world based on objective, in-depth inquiries with respect to technical legal ability, professional conduct, client service, commercial astuteness, diligence, commitment, and other qualities most valued by clients. They are listed in their respective areas of practice as a resource to corporations and individuals in choosing legal counsel.  The directories are updated and published annually, with editions tailored for Europe, Asia, Latin America, the UK, and the United States.

Mr. Icard, who is a former member of the Executive Council of the Trial Lawyer Section of The Florida Bar and a former Chair of the Forum on the Construction Industry of the American Bar Association, began his practice in Tampa in 1973 after graduating from Florida State University College of Law.  He joined Icard Merrill as a shareholder in 1995 and focuses his nationally recognized practice on construction related matters, from preparation and review of contract documents to claims negotiation and multiparty litigation.  He is also regularly engaged as a mediator or arbitrator in alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceedings.  He is a Diplomate of the Florida Academy of Professional Mediators and a by-invitation member of the Florida Circuit-Civil Mediator Society and the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals. 

About Icard Merrill

Icard, Merrill, Cullis, Timm, Furen & Ginsburg, P.A. was founded in 1953 in Sarasota. The firm has grown along with Southwest Florida and now also has offices in Lakewood Ranch and Punta Gorda.  Icard Merrill is a full-service law firm with extensive experience in business, banking, commercial, and construction law and related litigation, real estate, land use, family law, probate, tax, and estate planning. The firm has a strong commitment to the communities it serves, with members involved in numerous civic and not-for-profit organizations in the arts, education, health and human services. In 2010, the firm received the Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice’s Law Firm Commendation for significant contributions of legal services to the indigent and to charitable groups on a pro bono basis. 

For more information about Icard Merrill, contact us.

Thomas F. Icard, Jr. Speaks at Florida Construction Law Institute

Tuesday Aug 24, 2010

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Sarasota attorney Thomas F. Icard, Jr., a shareholder at Icard, Merrill, Cullis, Timm, Furen & Ginsburg, P.A., recently presented “Selecting, Preparing, Attacking and Defending Expert Witnesses” at the Third Annual Construction Law Institute of the Florida Bar in Orlando. He spoke as part of a panel discussion on advanced litigation skills training. Mr. Icard is among a small group of lawyers in the state that hold Florida Bar Board Certifications in both Construction Law and Civil Trial Law. In addition to construction lawyers, the institute is attended by contractors, architects, engineers, consultants, and others involved in commercial, heavy construction and public works projects throughout Florida.

“Construction is a vital element of the U.S. economy, historically accounting for more than 10% of the gross national product,” said Mr. Icard, who is a former Chair of the Forum on the Construction Industry of the American Bar Association. “We have an obligation to our clients, the industry at large and to the public to see that the construction process in this country is facilitated, rather than hindered, by the legal process.”

Tom Icard began his practice in Tampa in 1973 after graduating from Florida State University College of Law and joined Icard Merrill as a shareholder in 1995. He focuses his nationally recognized practice on construction related matters, from preparation and review of contract documents to claims negotiation and multiparty litigation.  He is also regularly engaged as a mediator or arbitrator in alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceedings. He is a Diplomate of the Florida Academy of Professional Mediators and a by-invitation member of the Florida Circuit-Civil Mediator Society and the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals.

About Icard Merrill

Icard, Merrill, Cullis, Timm, Furen & Ginsburg, P.A. was founded in 1953 in Sarasota. The firm has grown along with Southwest Florida and now also has offices in Lakewood Ranch and Punta Gorda.  Icard Merrill is a full-service law firm with extensive experience in business, banking, commercial, and construction law and related litigation, real estate, land use, family law, probate, tax, and estate planning. The firm has a strong commitment to the communities it serves, with members involved in numerous civic and not-for-profit organizations in the arts, education, health and human services. In 2010, the firm received the Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice’s Law Firm Commendation for significant contributions of legal services to the indigent and to charitable groups on a pro bono basis. 

For more information about Icard Merrill, contact us.

Charles J. Bartlett Named to Florida Trend's Florida Legal Elite

Tuesday Aug 17, 2010

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Charles J. Bartlett, a shareholder at the Sarasota-based law firm, Icard Merrill, Cullis, Timm, Furen & Ginsburg, P.A., is among a favored few attorneys in the state – less than 2% -- to be named to the prestigious Florida Legal Elite listing. Published by Florida Trend, the annual listing recognizes the top tier of attorneys in Floridas chosen by their peers.

“I am particularly proud and yet humbled to receive this recognition,” said Mr. Bartlett. “This is a particularly meaningful honor because it comes from my fellow lawyers and colleagues. I am pleased to be included in such distinguished company and want to sincerely thank those who recommended me for this award.”

Now in its seventh year, Florida Legal Elite is intended to recognize lawyers who exemplify a high standard of excellence in their profession. The voting process began in October 2009 when all in-state members of the Florida Bar were invited by Florida Trend to submit nominations of lawyers they hold in high regard. Top candidates were further reviewed and then scrutinized by a panel of previous Legal Elite winners. The final list of honorees includes 1,160 lawyers, chosen from among more than 64,000 active members of the Florida Bar who practice in the state.

About Icard Merrill

Icard, Merrill, Cullis, Timm, Furen & Ginsburg, P.A. was founded in 1953 in Sarasota. The firm has grown along with Southwest Florida and now also has offices in Lakewood Ranch and Punta Gorda.  Icard Merrill is a full-service law firm with extensive experience in business, banking, commercial, and construction law and related litigation, real estate, land use, family law, probate, tax, and estate planning. The firm has a strong commitment to the communities it serves, with members involved in numerous civic and not-for-profit organizations in the arts, education, health and human services. In 2010, the firm received the Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice’s Law Firm Commendation for significant contributions of legal services to the indigent and to charitable groups on a pro bono basis. 

For more information about Icard Merrill, contact us.

William W. Merrill, III to Serve as Chair of the Board of Directors of United Way of Sarasota County

Thursday Aug 5, 2010

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United Way of Sarasota County has a new Chair for its Board of Directors – William W. Merrill, III, a shareholder at Icard, Merrill, Cullis, Timm, Furen & Ginsburg, P.A., a Sarasota-based law firm. Although Mr. Merrill may be new to this position at United Way, he is a familiar presence, having been involved with the local organization since 1981. He most recently served as Vice Chair of the Board and chairs the Major Gifts Committee. He and his wife, Karen, are members of United Way’s Tocqueville Society.

“I am honored to be entrusted with this responsibility,” said Mr. Merrill. “United Way is a cause that has always been close to my heart because it represents the community working together to help and provide for its own. With today’s economy the way it is, more people than ever are depending on the services funded by United Way, and that is an awesome challenge. We have a solid group of smart, hard-working people on the board, and I’m confident that together we will meet whatever obstacles may lie ahead.”

United Way of Sarasota County targets its efforts towards health and human services. Founded in 1947, the organization generated more than $3 million in 2009/10. Two of its critical initiatives include an early childhood development initiative called Success By 6™, and the Financial Stability Partnership™, an ongoing effort to help hard-working people and their families achieve greater financial independence.

About Icard Merrill

Icard, Merrill, Cullis, Timm, Furen & Ginsburg, P.A. was founded in 1953 in Sarasota. The firm has grown along with Southwest Florida and now also has offices in Lakewood Ranch and Punta Gorda.  Icard Merrill is a full-service law firm with extensive experience in business, banking, commercial, and construction law and related litigation, real estate, land use, family law, probate, tax, and estate planning. The firm has a strong commitment to the communities it serves, with members involved in numerous civic and not-for-profit organizations in the arts, education, health and human services. In 2010, the firm received the Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice’s Law Firm Commendation for significant contributions of legal services to the indigent and to charitable groups on a pro bono basis. 

For more information about Icard Merrill, contact us.

Arthur D. Ginsburg Honored for 50 Years of Florida Bar Membership

Wednesday Jul 28, 2010

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In 1960, a young Arthur D. Ginsburg graduated from law school at the University of Florida and joined The Florida Bar to begin his career. Now, one half century later, Mr. Ginsburg is being honored by The Florida Bar for five decades of membership and service.

“I am honored to be recognized by this distinguished group that has been such an integral part of my life for the past 50 years,” said Mr. Ginsburg. “The Florida Bar is dedicated to promoting professionalism in the law and supporting justice, two goals that have been an important part of my career. Membership in the Bar has been both a privilege and an honor.”

Mr. Ginsburg is among 166 attorneys that were honored for 50 years of membership during a recent luncheon at The Florida Bar’s Annual Convention in Boca Raton. The Florida Bar has more than 87,000 members and is the statewide professional and regulatory organization for lawyers.

Mr. Ginsburg is a senior counselor at the Sarasota-based law firm of Icard, Merrill, Cullis, Timm, Furen & Ginsburg, P.A. A member of the firm since 1988, he specializes in family and domestic law and has represented numerous high profile custody and matrimonial cases. Mr. Ginsburg is a past president of the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, past Chairman of the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar, and was appointed by the Supreme Court to the Commission on Family Law. He has earned the highest AV® rating from Martindale-Hubbell® and has been listed in “The Best Lawyers in America®” every year since the inception of the publication. A past president of the Sarasota County Bar Association, a previous officer of Sarasota County Ringling Redskins Youth Football, and a 15 year coaching veteran of youth football. Mr. Ginsburg is an active community supporter, devoted to helping through his many hours at Legal Aid of Manasota, Inc. and has served as an officer for many local charitable organizations, including United Way and the Family Counseling Center.

About Icard Merrill

Icard, Merrill, Cullis, Timm, Furen & Ginsburg, P.A. was founded in 1953 in Sarasota. The firm has grown along with Southwest Florida and now also has offices in Lakewood Ranch and Punta Gorda.  Icard Merrill is a full-service law firm with extensive experience in business, banking, commercial, and construction law and related litigation, real estate, land use, family law, probate, tax, and estate planning. The firm has a strong commitment to the communities it serves, with members involved in numerous civic and not-for-profit organizations in the arts, education, health and human services. In 2010, the firm received the Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice’s Law Firm Commendation for significant contributions of legal services to the indigent and to charitable groups on a pro bono basis. 

For more information about Icard Merrill, contact us.