Recently retired Florida Third District Court of Appeal Judge Frank A. Shepherd has joined GrayRobinson as a shareholder in its Miami office.
Recently retired Florida Third District Court of Appeal Judge Frank A. Shepherd has joined GrayRobinson as a shareholder in its Miami office. (Courtesy photo)

Recently retired Florida Third District Court of Appeal Judge Frank A. Shepherd has joined GrayRobinson’s Miami office as a shareholder.

Shepherd, who retired in January after 13 years on the bench, said he will focus his practice on appellate matters. He intends to write and argue appeals, provide legal support and assistance in trials and do mediations throughout the state.

“I didn’t have to look very far to find what I wanted,” Shepherd said of his decision to join GrayRobinson. “They have a very fine appellate and litigation practice, which is what I’m joining. It was an excellent fit.”

The judge said one lesson he brings to his practice from his years on the bench is the value of being concise.

“I learned that accuracy and brevity are important in the entire appellate and legal field,” Shepherd said. “That’s the best way to keep a judge’s attention and to make your presentation meaningful.”

Writing for the unanimous full court in 2007, Shepherd took attorneys to task for the “undisciplined practice of some appellate counsel to seek en banc review of arguments rejected in panel decisions of this court.”

In a more recent land rights case, he wrote a spirited dissent about a government rezoning decision that changed an uninhabited Florida Keys island off Marathon from a family’s planned retirement home to an unbuildable bird rookery. He called the majority decision “for the birds.”

Shepherd, who is best known for his real estate and land use expertise, was a senior attorney for the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation when he was named to the bench in 2003 by then-Gov. Jeb Bush.

“We are honored and so very pleased that Judge Shepherd is joining our Miami office,” said Mayanne Downs, GrayRobinson’s president and managing director. “His expertise, experience and work ethic will serve our clients well.”

The Palm Beach County native began his legal career as a trial and appellate attorney for 18 years with Bradford, Williams, McKay, Kimbrell, Hamann and Jennings in Miami. In 1981, he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan as associate administrator for legal counsel and enforcement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In 1990, he became managing partner of Popham, Haik, Schnobrich & Kaufman and was a partner with Weissman Dervishi, Shepherd, Borgo & Nordland from 1997 to 1998 before joining the foundation.