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Michael J. Fichtel Attorney Profile | Kelley Kronenberg

Michael J. Fichtel

Principal Partner/Chief Executive Officer, Fort Lauderdale /

Michael Fichtel joined the law firm of Kelley Kronenberg immediately upon his admission to the Florida Bar in 1987.  Based upon his emergence as one of the firm’s top litigators, Mr. Fichtel quickly achieved partnership.  He attained growing success under the firm’s original leadership; however, he had a vision for the firm that transcended its potential under that system.

In 2010, the direction of the firm came under the next generation of leadership and Mr. Fichtel was selected to serve as Kelley Kronenberg’s CEO and Managing Partner.  In this position, Mr. Fichtel seized the opportunity to implement his vision of expanding and diversifying the firm and creating a firm of national and international renown.

Recognizing that his vision required a creative and progressive approach, he constructed a business model that would foster strategic growth without compromising the stability of the firm.  With the understanding that the firm’s strength would be dependent on the foundation of its attorneys and staff, the business model focuses on attracting the industry’s finest by providing the business resources and compensation structure needed to maximize job satisfaction and earning potential.

Under his strategic direction and the implementation of the new business model, the firm swiftly expanded from a one-dimensional, geographically-limited firm to one with ten offices spanning two states and 80 areas of law.  The firm has grown to be one of the largest firms in Florida and has accomplished a growing national and international presence for which it has received numerous industry awards and accolades.

While Mr. Fichtel’s focus is on building and strengthening the firm, he also provides legal representation to a fixed client base.  His business philosophies are modeled within his own practice, wherein he provides his clients with the highest level of service with comprehensive yet cost-effective representation.

Mr. Fichtel exemplifies the firm’s philosophy of global responsibility by supporting numerous philanthropic organizations and endeavors including:

  • Broward Education Foundation
  • United Way
  • Women in Distress
  • Special Olympics
  • Dan Marino Foundation
  • Fraternal Order of Police
  • The Victory Center for Autism and related disabilities
  • Kelley Kronenberg Cares
  • Huntington’s Disease Society of America
  • The Womens’ Breast Health Initiative
  • Wounded Warrior Project
  • Diabetes Research Institute
  • United Jewish Appeal
  • Vietnamese Association of Jacksonville
  • Our Lady of the Lakes Church
  • Randy Rankin Scholarship Classic
  • Florida Tour De Force
  • Navarro Discount Pharmacy’s Food Campaign
  • Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation
  • 19th Ward Youth Foundation

Mr. Fichtel is unwavering in his commitment to the firm’s transformation.  As the firm stands on the precipice of additional growth, Mr. Fichtel will continue to lead the firm with diplomatic and decisive leadership, a keen sense of business intuition, and the endless pursuit of innovative legal and business solutions.

At the core of our philosophy is our concept of creating the modern corporate environment, a progressive business model built on the perfect balance of traditional values and a progressive mindset:

Our Values Personify How We Value our Clients

We know that the success of our firm is dependent on the satisfaction and loyalty of our clients.  Therefore, we spare no measure to convey to our clients that we know their worth, predominantly by providing:

  • The most knowledgeable, skilled, accomplished and respected attorneys.  Our firm is AV rated and our attorneys are individually rated as AV Preeminent.  Our attorneys hold elected and appointed leadership positions in multiple industry organizations.  To further this goal, the firm offers in-house continuing education seminars.
  • Personalized service that is catered to their unique needs and priorities.  We are dedicated to learning about, understanding, and honoring our clients’ corporate cultures.  We take a personal interest in our clients and believe that nurturing existing client relationships is of equal importance to securing new clients.
  • Limitless access to their attorneys.  Our firm utilizes the most advanced and reliable technology so that our clients can rest comfortably knowing that their attorneys are always within reach.  Meticulous communication with our clients is an essential component of the firm’s customer service standard.
  • The unbridled attention and dedication of their attorneys.  Our attorneys have in-depth knowledge of their cases and are proactive in carrying out our clients’ objectives.  We believe that every client should feel like our most important client.
  • Attorneys who understand the importance of cost containment and who always aim to protect the client’s bottom line.  Our clients will never have to sacrifice quality for efficiency.
  • Strict adherence to each client’s philosophies and billing guidelines.  Compliance with our clients’ philosophies and guidelines is a quantifiable measure of respect.  The firm considers this a fundamental and compulsory element of file handling and customer service.  This process is reinforced at all levels throughout the firm.
  • The benefit of being informed.  Our clients should never have to ask about the status of their case.  Regular and detailed updates are a key to maintaining client satisfaction.  For our clients’ benefit, statistics are kept and analysis maintained on all cases.
  • Complimentary services including legal advice, legal research, fully accredited seminars, case law updates and legislation alerts.  Not only does this courtesy evidence our appreciation, but it also reinforces the firm’s willingness to put service before traditional remuneration concerns.  We offer this service to both our current and our prospective clients.

Satisfied Employees Pave the Way to Satisfied Clients

While profit is essential to business success, a business cannot be successful if it focuses only on profit.

Our employees are our best commodity and a crucial component of our success.  We want our employees to know that they are appreciated and that their contributions are never taken for granted.  We are always cognizant of the fact that it is difficult to have satisfied clients without satisfied employees.  Thus, we go to great lengths to ensure employee satisfaction.

Establishing an Enjoyable Environment

One factor that leads to employee satisfaction is an enjoyable and aesthetically-pleasing work environment.  Our employees enjoy coming to a workplace that is professional and well-appointed, yet friendly and relaxed.

Our offices reflect our tone of comfortable elegance and include lobbies, kitchens, break rooms, and conference rooms that are in keeping with that tone.  Individual offices and work spaces are designed to maximize space and efficiency without sacrificing our design aesthetic.

Product versus Productivity

At Kelley Kronenberg, we value our employees who consistently produce exemplary work.  However, we also know that healthy work relationships help to foster productivity.  We hope that our employees will develop work relationships characterized by a durable feeling of belonging and mutual support.

This approach yields a positive outlook and energy that is carried by our employees into their daily communication with our clients.  Employees who enjoy the people they work with, and where they work, carry that sentiment into their non-work lives, providing priceless advertising for the firm.

This balanced approach is also an effective means by which to limit turnover and its related costs.  It maintains consistency, which, in turn, fosters firm loyalty and unity.

Dedicated to Diversity

Diversity is a key to building a rich and thriving workforce.  Our growing workforce mirrors our country’s rapid societal, commercial and business globalization.  Our firm culture is built on a foundation of understanding, accepting, valuing, and celebrating the differences within our workforce.

We recognize that diversity goes beyond demographics.  Our philosophy includes identifying the motivating factors, needs and strengths of our employees.  This allows for an efficient allocation of energy and resources to maximize each individual’s productivity.  We are then able to encourage our employees to use their unique strengths to achieve a higher level of personal success.

“Doing Things Right” and “Doing the Right Thing”

Our attorneys are amongst our industry’s brightest and most talented professionals.  They are known for setting and elevating the standards in their respective areas of law.  Their talents are enhanced by our high caliber professional staff, the contributions from whom make our attorneys’ successes possible.

We value our employees for their performance and accomplishments, but also for their commitment to doing the “right thing.”  Our employees personify the firm’s commitment to providing legal representation and customer service with the highest level of integrity and professional ethics.

We also encourage our employees to “do the right thing” for their communities and the world at large.  Our employees actively engage in service activities, both individually and firm-coordinated, and we actively support our clients’ philanthropic endeavors.  We believe that a sense of global responsibility contributes greatly to the rich and diverse culture of the firm.

We Motivate Rather Than Manage

We do not believe in managing our attorneys.  We value attorneys who are capable of managing themselves.  Thus, we offer our attorneys a vast system of support, guidance, motivation, resources and accountability.  We offer mentors to assist with professional development and growth.  The firm also maintains a business development department and we encourage our attorneys to avail themselves of that benefit.  The camaraderie that results is a central component of the firm’s corporate concept and breeds optimum cross-pollination amongst our attorneys.

It Takes a Modern Corporate Perspective

When it comes to communication and improving the firm, there are no big voices and little voices.  We encourage all of our employees to be part of the dialogue and to take ownership over helping to make the firm the best it can be.  To facilitate this process, every attorney has a monthly meeting with the managing partner during which the attorney has the opportunity to discuss his or her department’s progress, functional challenges and opportunities for the firm’s improvement and employee satisfaction.

We believe that our success is conditioned on our employees feeling fully engaged in the process of building and strengthening the firm.

A Company Without Vision Remains Blind to its Potential

For thirty years, the firm operated under its original leadership and maintained a narrow scope of services confined to a limited geographic area.  Three years ago, the firm came under the next generation of leadership which opened our eyes to the firm’s potential. Armed with vision and talent, we quickly turned a limited and one-dimensional business into a diversified national law firm with more than 100 attorneys.

A Company Without Vision Lacks Awareness

A business that is content to maintain the status quo remains unaware of trends and advancements, choosing to keep to yesterday’s ways.  Those businesses remain bound to a cycle of chasing and reacting to problems, overlooking today’s solutions and solutions on the horizon.  This problem-oriented perspective monopolizes and depletes the management’s energy, hindering creativity and motivation, which in turn, precludes progress.  Our vision keeps us at the forefront of innovation and progress.

With Vision, the Possibilities are Endless

At Kelley Kronenberg, we are characterized by our vision.  Using this vision and the lessons learned from studying the missteps and mistakes of similarly-sized firms, we have built a unique and sound business model that has propelled us toward our goal of having an increasing national and international presence.

Culture and Compensation are the components of Kelley Kronenberg’s two prong business model.  Great lawyers leave great firms for two main reasons: they are dissatisfied with the firm’s culture or they are dissatisfied with their compensation and earning potential.  Our business model averts these pitfalls by fostering autonomy in both function and compensation.

Culture

Open Communication Opens Doors

In order to carry out our vision, our attorneys cannot be left in the dark.  Open communication is essential to developing trust.  As such, we offer our attorneys accurate information regarding the firm’s goals and company performance while maintaining our practice of disseminating information responsibly in order to protect and advance the interests of the firm.

At Kelley Kronenberg, we know that if problems arise, individuals are either part of the problem or part of the solution.  We encourage our employees to be open and candid so that we can work together in a spirit of mutual trust and cooperation to augment the financial viability of the firm and advance the security and developmental needs of our employees.

Avoid the Blocks Caused by Bureaucracy

Bureaucratic “red tape” is one of the greatest threats to company cohesiveness and stability.

To avoid office politics, we keep the focus on the firm’s business objectives and each individual’s professional goals.  We want to avail every attorney with the same opportunity for success.  To this end, we provide our attorneys with equal and unlimited access to the firm’s vast resources.

The firm’s emphasis on autonomy supports our streamlined and straightforward system.  Our attorneys know they control their own financial success and that the firm offers them the means to flourish.  In this regard, we encourage open communication regarding the firm’s goals and how each attorney can contribute to meeting and exceeding these goals.

We put strenuous effort into building up our employees based upon their individual strengths and ensuring that each employee feels a sense of purpose.  We offer our employees direct access to management and encourage constructive input aimed at bolstering the employee’s success.

Challenges Don’t Have to be a Challenge

The firm’s emphasis on cohesiveness, autonomy, and empowerment naturally repels the interpersonal challenges that typically infect similarly-sized firms.  Without these challenges, the focus remains on the advancement of the employee and the firm.

Our employees are groomed to handle work challenges with composure and professionalism.  The firm’s accentuation on time management, organization, and diligence minimizes the potential for the organizational challenges that can undermine productivity.

You Practice Law While We Build Your Practice

As you advocate for your clients, we advocate for you.  We know that many attorneys feel that the “business” of law often gets in the way of practicing law.  At Kelley Kronenberg, our attorneys are free to practice law while we provide the business services and support they need to build a thriving practice.

  • Our in-house business development and marketing department provides full-scale public relations services including social media and website management, client seminar and event planning.  We also employ a dedicated travel and seminar coordinator to provide the greatest level of efficiency and convenience.  When you do not have to worry about business logistics, you can focus on providing your clients with exemplary legal representation.  This, in turn, serves to build and strengthen your existing business relationships which can then be complimented by traditional marketing efforts.
  • Our expansive accounting department handles the financial aspects of each attorney’s practice.  While occasional assistance from an attorney may be sought, attorneys rarely, if ever, need be concerned with file finances.
  • Our full-scale human resources department handles employee training, administration of payroll, and the development and enforcement of employment policies.  When personnel issues arise, an attorney may have a role in assessing and addressing certain issues; however, most issues are addressed by the human resources department.  Our human resources department also provides the service of obtaining and administrating the expansive benefits that our employees are offered.
  • Our in-house IT department ensures that our offices are equipped with the most advanced and comprehensive technological systems on the market including four digit dialing, VOIP phone lines, and multiple party high-definition video conferencing.  The firm is fully outfitted with Apple computers containing the most current industry-specific computer programs.  We also attend to the special needs of our various departments by creating specialty-focused forms and correspondence that can be quickly accessed through a document merge system.  Outside of the office, our attorneys utilize fully-compatible technology with iPhones, iPads and Apple laptop computers.  The firm’s technology allows our employees to easily access the firm’s network from remote locations, to forward their office extensions to their cell phones and to utilize scanning and e-mail for paper-free communication.  Our firm’s Intranet is a valued internal resource that provides our employees with immediate access to useful employment and benefits information, as well as updates on our employees’ litigation, business, and philanthropic successes.  The IT department has an after-hours help line and an e-mail service request system to ensure that any issues are handled promptly.
  • Our office services department ensures that all employees have the tangible tools required to work efficiently.  This department is responsible for supply purchasing and distribution, firm fleet management, and vendor relations.  In many instances, our office services department can eliminate the charges associated with couriers and messenger services which we then pass on to our clients.

Compensation

Your Only Limitations are Those You Impose on Yourself

No one benefits from limitations.  We have structured the firm’s compensation system to facilitate limitless income acceleration.  With an aggressive compensation system in place, each attorney’s success is determined by his or her ambition, dedication and determination.

This also allows our attorneys to establish a level of work/life balance that meets their personal and familial needs with the full support of management.

Dollars and Sense

The firm uses a system of compensation that is both creative and rational.  Our system allows attorneys to generate far greater income than can be realized under the traditional systems in place at most firms.

Consistent with the industry standard, our attorneys are offered a highly-competitive base salary that is guaranteed.  However, based upon an attorney’s portable book of business, profit potential, personnel needs and overhead, the attorney can secure additional income based upon the profits his or her department generates.  The additional income potential is determined based upon a tiered system, allocating an increased percentage that correlates to increasing profits generated by the attorney’s department.

In addition to our attorneys benefiting from this progressive system of income potential, we want to integrate this system to offer the highest level of support and benefits to our professional staff.  In this regard, the financial benefits flow to the firm as a whole giving the firm the stability and strength to provide optimum benefits to all.

  • Martindale- Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated
  • Recognized as a Top Lawyer, South Florida Legal Guide, 2017
  • Recognized as a Power Leaders in Law, South Florida Business Journal, 2017
  • Recognized as a Top Lawyer, South Florida Legal Guide, 2016
  • Recognized as a Power Leaders in Law, South Florida Business Journal, 2016
  • Recognized as a Top Lawyer, South Florida Legal Guide, 2015
  • Recognized as a Power Leaders in Law, South Florida Business Journal, 2015
  • Recognized as a Top Lawyer, South Florida Legal Guide, 2014
  • Recognized as a Power Leaders in Law, South Florida Business Journal, 2014
  • Recognized as a Top Lawyer, South Florida Legal Guide, 2013
  • Recognized as a Top Lawyer, South Florida Legal Guide, 2012
  • Recognized as a Top Lawyer, South Florida Legal Guide, 2011
  • Broward County Bar Association

Contact Information

Practice Areas

Admissions

  • Florida

Education

  • Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad Law Center, J.D., 1986
  • University of Florida, B.A., 1983