By Deborah Bostock-Kelley

The stress relief is evident. “In 2020, we’re back to business,” said Robert W. Bleakley, managing partner of Bleakley Bavol Denman and Grace.

No longer renovating the 28,000 square foot behemoth building nestled among dozens of 100-year-old grand oaks, a quiet pond, and beautiful lake, the BBDG lawyers are settled in and ready to do what their 5-star rating shows they do best – advising clients, preparing litigation strategies, closing business transactions, drafting estate plans, and protecting the interests of its national and local clients. 

This is not a typical big law firm setting, and BBDG is not your average big law firm.    

After spending most of 2019 renovating and moving into its new headquarters in North Tampa and revving up for its annual holiday party with Tampa’s legendary band, the Black Honkey’s playing in its atrium, BBDG lawyers are back into their routines.   

“The past few years have been a wild ride,” said Robert. “For the past several years, I have spent far too much of my mental energy focused on our space issues.   In 2018 we purchased the building, and then in 2019, renovations, planning, moving, and then celebrating dominated the year.  Now in 2020, for the first time in about eight years, all I have to think about is practicing law, servicing our clients, and growing our business.”  

The new facility has enhanced both the work and client experience. Nearly every day, BBDG hosts a mediation in its board room, depositions in one of its two video conferencing rooms with participants sometimes attending from international locations, or a seminar in its atrium.   

Today, the spectacular entryway boasts a stunning atrium with two colossal stainless steel water features, a circular reception desk, reception seating, tables for meetings, and a 20-foot screen, in a space large enough to host hundreds of people for parties, corporate training, continuing education, community events, and even weddings and receptions. 

Robert stresses that it’s not just about hard work at BBDG. 

The expansive atrium has been used not only for its 200+ person holiday party, but for a super bowl party, fight nights, and seminars.  With the launch of the new website  HYPERLINK “http://bbdgatrium.com/” \t “_blank” bbdgatrium.com, the atrium space can be rented as an event space for significant events. It can comfortably host events for 150 or more guests. Whether a sit-down dinner, live band, or DJ with dancing, the atrium can fit the community needs.

“We just had our first inquiry for a wedding,” said Robert.

A full-service “AV” rated law firm, the highest possible rating on Martindale Hubbell’s lawyer rating system, with the new location comes expanded capabilities in trusted legal solutions. Whether business or personal legal assistance is needed, BBDG is ready to help their clients with Business and Corporate Law, Commercial Litigation, Construction Litigation, Drug and Medical Device Liability, Estate Planning, Wills and Trust, Family Law, First Amendment, Defamation and Libel, Insurance Defense, Labor and Employment, Premises Liability, Probate and Guardianship, Product Liability, Professional Liability Defense, Real Estate and Law Use, Trucking, Cargo, and Auto, Workers’ Compensation Defense. 

The firm’s deep roots are litigation tort defense work for trucking companies, product manufacturers, physicians,  long term care facilities, retail stores and malls, medical device companies, etc. “Many of these clients are not located in North Tampa, or even in Florida,” said Robert. “From Tampa, we are blessed to be centrally located in Florida, and for many clients, we cover their litigation needs throughout the entire state.  Every day we have lawyers dispatched to represent the client  to different  counties all  around the state.” The fastest-growing aspect of our business is in the commercial and business litigation, construction, business transactions, and estates, trusts, probate, and guardianship areas.   In many cases, our role is to educate our clients and give legal advice.  Other times we are required to protect our client’s interests forcefully.” 

In 2020, BBDG is adding two more lawyers to the BBDG team.

“We hired two Florida law students who will be starting this summer as soon as they pass the Florida Bar. And we also hired three summer associates – 2 from the University of Florida and one from the University of Miami Law School. God willing and the creek don’t rise; they will be extended offers and work as associate attorneys starting in the calendar year 2021.  We are very excited about the very high quality and work ethic of the newer attorneys that have joined our firm in the past couple of years.  That bodes tremendously well for the future of our firm, and also for the quality of families likely to be living and working in our area.”.   

Robert is excited about the opportunities the new space affords.

“After being tightly contained by space issues for the past eight years, it feels like the shackles have been lifted. We are free to explore exciting business opportunities for our firm.   We not only obtained precisely the right space and location to grow our business, but we have invested heavily in equipping this space to ensure our firm is on the cutting edge of technological innovation. That makes it more convenient and efficient for our attorneys and clients to process legal work.  We also have loaded these offices with bright, hard-working associates; and have invested in their training and development.   We are now well-positioned to seek to become a new home for a lateral attorney or two – someone looking for a new home for his/her family and clients  – we’d like to be their home. We have the right blend of personalities, work ethic, legal ethics, and morality, and are seeking similarly minded successful attorneys. 

“Nearly every day, I come into work and see constant energy.  Clients are moving in and out of our board room meeting with our estate planning and business transaction teams, depositions taking place in our video conference rooms, mediations, trial preparations taking place, new client intakes, and interviews. It’s all such a blessing to see high energy, lawyers, growing business, satisfied clients. That’s what it’s all about. Mission accomplished in 2020.”

The office of Bleakley Bavol Denman and Grace is located at 15316 North Florida Avenue in Tampa. The firm is open from 8:30 a.m. – 5.30 p.m. Monday through Friday, with appointment times available outside regular office hours. For more information, to schedule a consultation or ask about renting the atrium space, please call (813) 221-3759 or visit  www.bbdglaw.com. To inquire about atrium rental, visit www.bbdgatrium.com.