We're now Howell, Buchan, & Strong Attorneys at Law! It's with a great deal of pride that we announce the expansion of our firm and include our partners, Tom Buchan and Rickey Strong.
"I've always recognized the contribution these attorneys have had on our growth," partner and attorney Jeff Howell said of the added partners.
Howell recalls that Buchan began as his law clerk, impressing him with his attention to detail with court documents, exhibits, and data...traits he said every attorney should have but don't always display.
"He, along with his background in accounting has proven invaluable to our overall endeavors," said Howell. "You rarely see the fast move from law school graduate to becoming a partner in a firm within a few years, but Tom is an exception all the way around."
Rickey, too, blends expansive skill sets that elevate the firm, but Howell jokes it was Rickey's dog, Maxx the schnauzer that sealed the deal.
"I put his name on the firm because he has one of the best dogs in the world, Maxx the schnauzer! Maxx made a difference in my life; he was the reason I got my own miniature schnauzer, Buckley, and the reason I got one for my mother, Winston! Maxx has made a difference in our lives and so has Rickey," said Howell who concedes that how clients view Strong truly matters the most.
"I observed over the course of the last few years how well Rickey was appreciated by our clients for his prompt responsiveness to their needs. He also just simply does excellent legal work."
What Our Partners Have to Say
It's true that dog-lovers unite but when you also bring the unique talents and experiences of Howell, Buchan, and Strong, you get a powerful trio of expertise in the courtroom.
"Both Rickey Strong and Tom Buchan are not only outstanding lawyers they are good friends. Their loyalty, trust, and friendship truly make our firm better and those qualities certainly account for something in life," Howell said.
Jeff Howell, founder, and partner with the firm has grown the practice since opening in February 2019 to four locations across the State of Florida and has expanded his legal team to nearly 20 employees in that time as well.
Tom began his career with the firm as a law clerk in 2016, working his way to attorney beginning in 2018. As a graduate from the University of Central Florida, he first earned his accounting degree which has helped in the firm's representation of Certified Public Accountants before the Board of Accountancy. He completed his law degree from Florida State University and moved to Sarasota to expand the firm's footprint in the State of Florida in 2019.
"Over the last couple of years, I have been able to work on a number of cases that went from the start of the complaint process through a complete trial at the Division of Administrative Hearings. That has helped me learn the in-depth nuances of the administrative work we do," said Buchan of his case journey with the firm. " We have a lot of plans for the firm's future and there is much to be done, but this is a great moment for me in the process."
Fun Fact: Follow Buchan in a non-pandemic year and you'll find him taking in the classics...classic 80's concert bands that is.
"I like a lot of classic rock and 80s bands, so I try to go to as many concerts as I can. You never know when it's their last concert. For example, I got to see Rush on what would unexpectedly be their final tour," he said and probably has the t-shirt!
As a former attorney with the Florida Department of Health, the move to partner is a natural fit. His expertise and experience allowed the firm to grow the Healthcare and Administrative law practices.
"I was in-house counsel for the State Department of Health where I learned all aspects of healthcare regulation," said Strong who has been with the firm for four years. "These experiences allowed me to travel the State (in normal years) and speak very comfortably to various groups about a variety of healthcare topics."
Here Strong is pictured with his dog, Maxx the schnauzer. Maxx is the dog that started it all!
You'll also find Strong in the classroom where he is a health law professor at Florida A & M University's Allied School of Health Sciences. But the name change not only was an aspiration for Strong but for his mother, Elaine Strong, as well.
"Years ago, my mother asked me when I became an attorney, 'Do you think you ever want to own your own firm?' As a young attorney at the time, I never envisioned it to be possible, but life is all about timing. It took time to hone my skills that made this the opportunity I aspired to," said Strong whose mother would be proud.
Fun Fact: Traveling is the perfect setting for Strong to see the State, meet with clients and potential clients. "It's the solitude of driving I enjoy: blasting music and taking in the tastes of Florida. It's only when I am on the road, I allow myself to eat unhealthy fast food and ice cream, Dairy Queen or Freddie’s Butterscotch Milkshakes are divine," he said.
Looking Future Forward
As the firm is growing to plan for the future. Howell plans to open a Jacksonville office in the near future. This will create expanded coverage of legal services and grow the size of the firm.