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Kelley Kronenberg named one of South Florida’s “Top Law Firms”; Eleven Lawyers named in 2020 South Florida Legal Guide

February 28, 2020

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – The South Florida Legal Guide, the peer-nominated publication providing insight into the region’s most skilled lawyers and successful law firms, named Kelley Kronenberg to its list of the top firms.  The prestigious publication also released the names of the lawyers who will be included in the 2020 edition with eleven partners from the firm selected for inclusion.

Principal Partners Michael J. Fichtel, Howard L. Wander, Heath S. Eskalyo and Karen M. Gilmartin, along with firm Partners Gary L. Brown, Stephen R. Gross, Amy Siegel Oran, James D. Silver, and Dominick V. Tamarazzo were named to the “Top Lawyers” list in their respective areas of practice. In addition, Partners Alison F. Smith and Jason M. Vanslette were named to the “Top Up and Comers” list, a designation for skilled attorneys who are under the age of 40.

Lawyers selected for the South Florida Legal Guide must be well-regarded in the legal profession, have years of experience, and possess a distinguished track record.

Attorney Biographies:

Michael J. Fichtel serves as firm-wide Principal Partner and Chief Executive Officer. In addition to his robust litigation practice, he has been instrumental in Kelley Kronenberg’s unprecedented diversification, economic growth, and emergence as a technological leader in the legal realm. Fichtel is responsible for developing a completely unique business and compensation model that is highly regarded among the attorneys. Investing in the firm, technology, and the attorneys and staff is of utmost importance to Fichtel, which is evident in the company’s growth and success. Under his leadership, the firm transformed from a statewide firm with limited scope to a comprehensive industry leader.

Howard L. Wander serves as Principal Partner, Chief Operating Officer out of the Fort Lauderdale office. While the majority of his career centralized around Insurance Defense Litigation and Property & Casualty defense, representing employers, third-party administrators, and insurance carriers, Wander has shifted his focus directly to strategic consulting in leading the firm’s direction and growth. Wander chairs the First Party Practice, which is now one of the largest revenue generators at Kelley Kronenberg. Wander has been a critical component in the firm’s expansion and evolution from a statewide practice to one with a national footprint and growing. His entrepreneurial vision has led to the formation of several successful practice areas within the firm.

Heath S. Eskalyo is a Principal Partner in the firm’s Fort Lauderdale office and serves as the firm’s Chief Financial Officer. With a background in Civil Trial Litigation, he focused his practice on Workers’ Compensation and OSHA defense. Now, Eskalyo plays a large role in the firm’s business development, continued growth of existing and new practice areas, as well as oversees the firm’s philanthropic efforts, such as the firm-wide Kelley Kronenberg Cares initiative. Eskalyo is instrumental in the company’s growth and success. 

Karen M. Gilmartin is a Principal Partner, Chief Legal Officer and leads the firm’s Miami Lakes office. She focuses her practice on the defense of employers, carriers and self-insureds in the fields of Workers’ Compensation and Subrogation. Gilmartin was recently selected to be on the Workers’ Compensation Executive Council and she is an inductee of the Workers’ Compensation Hall of Fame, a select group of professionals who have positively impacted the industry. Additionally, she is one of the charter members of the Richard A. Sicking Miami Chapter of the American Inns of Court.

Gary L. Brown is a Partner in the firm’s Fort Lauderdale office and is the Head of the firm’s Construction Practice Group. He focuses his practice on complex commercial and general business litigation. Brown is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Construction Law, and he assists businesses in both complex and routine matters with substantial experience in construction-related issues. As a thought leader in this field, in 2015 Brown published the first edition of a book with the Daily Business Review titled Florida Construction Defect Litigation, now in its fourth edition.

Stephen R. Gross is a Partner in the firm’s Fort Lauderdale office, focusing his practice on litigation and insurance coverage matters. He is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Construction Law and possesses substantial experience in construction-related issues. The majority of his practice involves complex litigation, coverage, bad faith and defense matters.

Amy Siegel Oran is a Partner in the firm’s West Palm Beach office. She focuses her practice exclusively on Workers’ Compensation defense, representing employers, insurance carriers, self-insured corporations, third party administrators, and claims servicing agencies. Her background includes extensive experience with all aspects of Litigation and Appellate law and a significant amount of catastrophic claim management.

James D. Silver is a Partner in the firm’s Fort Lauderdale office and heads the firm’s Commercial Creditors Rights and Bankruptcy Practice.  Silver’s practice includes business bankruptcy, creditors rights, and insolvency, as well as litigation surrounding those areas and commercial litigation.  Silver has been a court appointed receiver in an SEC enforcement action involving a multi-state Ponzi scheme. He was extensively involved in the bankruptcy representation of a victims group of more than 80 defrauded investors in the $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme involving Scott Rothstein’s defunct law firm, for which he received a “Most Effective Lawyers” award from the Daily Business Review.

Dominick V. Tamarazzo is a Partner in the firm’s Fort Lauderdale office.  Tamarazzo is highly experienced in handling a variety of complex Commercial, Construction, Insurance Defense, and general Civil Litigation matters in both federal and state courts.  He focuses his practice on handling defense matters such as catastrophic Personal Injury and Wrongful Death cases, Products Liability, Premises Liability, Construction Disputes, Negligent Security, Employer Liability, and severe Automobile and Trucking accidents.  He regularly represents manufacturers, property owners, contractors, subcontractors, engineers, material and equipment suppliers, design professionals, state governments and their agencies, subdivisions, municipalities, and departments.

Alison F. Smith is a Partner in the firm’s Fort Lauderdale office, focusing primarily on Labor and Employment law. For more than a decade, she has handled all aspects of labor and employment matters, including conducting training and employee investigations, engaging in collective bargaining with various unions, and providing advice and counsel to various private and public entities (predominantly municipalities) regarding the existing and emerging labor and employment laws. Smith has served as a speaker/presenter at several municipal and labor and employment seminars throughout Florida. Additionally, she has been honored as an up and coming star in her field of law.

Jason M. Vanslette is a Partner in the firm’s Fort Lauderdale office and heads the “Real Property Litigation” division of the firm. He focuses his practice on mortgage default litigation, commercial and residential closings, and representing mortgage servicers and other financial providers with both State and Federal regulatory, enforcement and compliance.