The Florida Bar


January 17, 2012
Dorohn A. Frazier,
The Florida Bar
(850) 561-5764

The law firm of Fisher, Butts, Sechrest, Warner and Palmer, PA, of Gainesville, is the 2012 Law Firm Commendation recipient. The award honors significant contributions in the delivery of legal services to individuals or groups on a pro bono basis. The commendation will be presented at a Jan. 26 ceremony at the Supreme Court of Florida by Chief Justice Charles T. Canady.

The law firm is a full-service civil trial firm with offices in Gainesville and Tampa. The firm's practice areas include business, construction and real estate law, medical malpractice, personal injury and employment law.

The firm's lawyers are Mark Fisher, Robert Butts, Michael Sechrest, D. Marc Warner, Martin Palmer, Danielle Underkoffler, Matthew Birk and Eric Struble. Partners Fisher, Butts and Sechrest are board certified by The Florida Bar as construction law experts.

The firm's pro bono work began many years ago as a result of its involvement in the local Young Lawyers Division and the YLD's relationship with Three Rivers Legal Services (TRLS). The lawyers at TRLS often call upon the firm to assist with cases involving construction disputes in which contractors were taking advantage of less fortunate or elderly clients.

One of the first cases involved a single mother who had a new air conditioner installed in a very old home. The contractor's shoddy work caused a great deal of damage to the house. Attorney Michael Sechrest was just out of law school but he was able to get everything re-engineered and remedied by the contractor and his insurer to help the family.

In 2011, the firm's seven lawyers consulted and represented dozens of pro bono clients. Most of the clients were referred through legal services and the attorneys' churches and friends. Types of cases included employment law issues, foreclosure defense, unfair and deceptive trade practices, civil theft and breach of contract. They also handled automobile/property damage and personal injury cases pro bono where the insurance or collectability issues do not provide legal fees.

The firm's involvement ranged from consulting and writing letters, to litigation and trial. In 2011, the firm successfully brought a case to trial on behalf of a mentally ill single father who had been financially victimized by a group of unlicensed contractors. At another trial, the firm represented a family in a landlord/tenant breach of contract action based on unlivable conditions at their apartment.

This year's awards ceremony, which also honors individual, circuit, young lawyer, voluntary bar and judicial pro bono efforts, is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 26, at 3:30 p.m. at the Supreme Court of Florida at the Supreme Court of Florida and will be webcast live from The program will be rebroadcast taped-delayed on the Florida Channel at a later date. Check local cable listings for details.

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EDITORS: Please note The Florida Bar is not an association and "Association" is not part of our name. Proper reference is "The Florida Bar." Local bar organizations are properly termed "associations."

[Revised: 07-08-2012]