April 20, 2024
Notable - General Counsel

A general counsel’s responsibilities can be vast and crucial to the well-being of an organization. Its chief lawyer and a top executive, the general counsel advises leaders and boards on all legal fronts. General counsels draft and negotiate employment, real estate and vendor contracts; they advise on intellectual property and preserve business records. They know an organization’s operations and issues of security. They help ensure compliance, labeling laws, worker safety and consumer protections; they have knowledge of financing.

They weigh the means of defending lawsuits or pursuing prosecutions. What’s more, the general counsel is part of top management and must be a team player with vast people skills.

Florida Trend vetted each submission in this Legal Elite NOTABLE section on general counsels and confirmed that each lawyer is a member in good standing with the Florida Bar. Read on to learn about each individual — their keys roles, their accomplishments and the organizations they help safeguard.

Notable - General Counsel


Charbel Barakat

D.R. Horton Inc.

William Cotterall

Florida Justice Association

Javier Ley-Soto

Miami Dade College

Betsy McCoy

The Related Group

David Nicholson

TECO Energy

Tara Pellegrino

Now Optics

Betsy Pennewill

Community Foundation of Sarasota County

Ryan Quinn

PGT Innovations

Jay Shehadeh

U.S. Century Bank

Terry Vento

Perez Art Museum

Brent Zimmerman

Miller Electric Company

Methodology: Individuals did not pay to be included. Profiles were written from nomination materials submitted. This list is not comprehensive. It includes only individuals from whom nominations were received and accepted after a review by editors. To qualify for the list, nominees had to be based in Florida; be a practicing attorney with at least 10 years’ experience in the legal profession and five years’ experience as general counsel; be serving as in-house general counsel or chief legal officer for a company with at least 10 employees; and have made a measurable, specific impact in the company’s leadership and business dealings. Nominees also must mentor or act as a role model for others in the workplace and show leadership in professional organizations and in civic/community service initiatives.

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