Through its commitment to furthering the mission and goals of Florida Coastal School of Law, your Alumni Board of Directors is continually working to enhance alumni opportunities to socialize and network. Their work also helps the educational experience and reputation of your alma mater. The continuing success of Florida Coastal depends largely on the support of its alumni. The positive impression created by the improvements in our curriculum, facility, faculty, and staff are resulting in a more competitive pool of applicants. Our alumni remain its most valuable resource in terms of referring potential students and providing potential internships, clerkships and jobs for its graduates. The Alumni Board of Directors for 2017-18 are:
Sumeet Shah '08
Sumeet is a solo practitioner, Shah Legal Group, LLC, practicing in Atlanta, Georgia. His clients range from small to medium-sized businesses that are in a wide variety of industries such as IT, hospitality, and retail and his role of general counsel to many of these companies has brought great value to each company. During his years of practice, Sumeet has worked for business law firms preparing corporate and real estate documents for closings. He has spent time as a public defender honing his trial skills and worked as a commercial litigator helping to resolve business disputes.
After Sumeet obtained his undergraduate degrees in Finance, Marketing and Management he went on to work for Fortune 500 companies such as NCR, Hewlett-Packard, and AT&T in various finance and accounting roles. These experiences have provided Sumeet with a broad business background complimenting his legal skills and providing each client with a valuable business consultant as well as a legal counsel. Sumeet fluently speaks Gujarati and is novice in Hindi, Kuchi & Spanish.
Coral Messina '08
Coral Messina is a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville in the Office of the Public Defender, 4th Judicial Circuit. She has tried more than two dozen jury trials and also specializes in mitigation and motion practice. She began her career practicing civil litigation. Coral is the Vice President of Coastal’s Alumni Board of Directors. She is also an active member of the Judicial Relations Committee for the Jacksonville Bar Association.
Coral graduated, with honors, from Florida Coastal School of Law in 2008. She earned a Pro Bono Honors award for volunteering more than 400 hours. While in law school, Coral was the Director and Founding Member of the Student Ambassador Program. She was also a member of the nationally-recognized Moot Court Honor Board. Her 2008 team won the Southeast Regional for the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. She was a member of the Faculty Appointments Committee and clerked at the First District Court of Appeals.
Prior to law school, Coral graduated, magna cum laude, from the University of Florida where she served as a Florida Cicerone and Presidential Personal Host. The Jacksonville Beach native loves boating, biking and dancing. She is a lifetime member of the Girl Scouts of America and continues to volunteer with them in her free time.
Renee J. Maxey '08
Spartanburg, South Carolina
Renee Maxey is currently with Johnson Development Associates, Inc. in Spartanburg, South Carolina. She previously worked at Deutsche Bank. Prior to working at Deutsche Bank, Renee practiced at Holland & Knight primarily in the areas of commercial law and transportation law. She is experienced in motor carrier, broker, truckload, less than truckload, and intermodal (multimodal) agreements, as well as complex commercial litigation, with a focus on the areas of antitrust, breach of contract and tort law.
While in law school, Renee was an active member of the moot court and mock trial teams arguing in both national and international competitions including the ABA Labor & Employment Law Trial Advocacy Competition (Regional Finalist), Chicago Bar Association Constitutional Law Moot (Octo-finalist), the Jerome Prince Evidence Moot Court Competition (Octo-finalist) and the 15th Annual Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot held in Vienna, Austria.
Prior to starting law school, Renee worked in public schools as a music educator where she taught junior high and high school students.
Members At Large
Iana D. Benjamin '13
Iana Del Darlington Jordan Benjamin is an attorney, and a shareholder of Darlington Jordan Law, P.A. Prior to forming Darlington Jordan Law, P.A., Iana clerked for former Judge Kenneth G. Macleay of Maryland, focusing primarily on civil litigation. She also clerked for United States Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Senior Member of the House Judiciary Committee. She also interned for Former President William (Bill) Jefferson Clinton. Iana now handles a full range of criminal and civil cases. She has significant experience in the areas of family law, immigration, residential real estate closings, civil litigation, and criminal defense.
Iana is an active member of the Jacksonville Bar Association, D.W Perkins Bar Association, and the Orange County Bar Association.
Adam Edgecombe '09
Adam B. Edgecombe has been an associate with Jimerson & Cobb since November 2015, and practices in all of the firm’s areas of specialty – commercial and business litigation, construction litigation, and representation of condominium and homeowners’ associations.
Prior to joining Jimerson & Cobb, Adam was an associate attorney with a nation-wide insurance defense firm, where he handled matters relating to medical malpractice, nursing home negligence, premises liability, general liability, worker’s compensation, automobile liability, and wrongful death. Prior to working in the defense litigation field, he worked for a civil litigation law firm in Jacksonville, specializing in commercial and probate litigation.
Adam received his Juris Doctor from Florida Coastal School of Law in 2009, and he received a Master of Science in 2003 and Bachelor of Arts in 2002, both from the University of Florida. While in law school, he served as Submissions Editor of the Law Review and was a teaching assistant for Legal Research and Writing.
Adam is a member of the Jacksonville Bar Association Young Lawyers’ Section Board of Governors, a member of The Bolles School Alumni Board, a board member of ImpactJax and the Community Pride Committee chairman, and also serves as a Florida bar exam essay grader and writer for the Florida Board of Bar Examiners. He is also a co-founder and member of the Jacksonville Bar Association’s mentoring project with Ribault High School, which has received recognition for its work from the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division, Duval County Public Schools school board, and Jacksonville University.
Ashlea Edwards '15
Ashlea is an Associate in Gray Robinson's Jacksonville office who practices in the areas of commercial litigation, bankruptcy, contract disputes and occasionally assists in corporate formation and transactions. Ashlea also has had the opportunity to gain both trial and appellate experience. She was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. She attended Louisiana State University where she obtained two bachelor’s degrees, Spanish and Psychology. While at LSU, Ashlea obtained a paralegal certificate and worked for six months at the Louisiana Department of Justice as a paralegal intern in the Criminal Division of the Attorney General’s Office. After her first year at Florida Coastal, Ashlea traveled to Geneva, Switzerland for an internship at the World Health Organization in the Headquarters Board of Appeal concentrating on internal employment issues. During law school, Ashlea served as a Research Assistant with a focus on Mental Health and was nominated to serve one year on the Student Professional Development Committee. During her last year of law school, Ashlea served as a judicial intern to the Honorable Monte C. Richardson, Magistrate Judge for the Middle District of Florida. In 2016, Ashlea was elected to the Young Lawyers Section Board of Governors.
Eugene Fuller '10
Eugene was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a proud alumnus of Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama. Upon receiving his Juris Doctor from Florida Coastal he returned to Atlanta to practice law. Eugene started his career as a Criminal Defense Attorney, and transitioned to a sole practitioner specializing in Real Estate and Contract Law. Eugene then worked with the City of Atlanta in the Department of Procurement and is currently working for the Clayton County Board of Commissioners.
Eugene holds professional memberships as an active member in good standing with the State Bar of Georgia, National Institute of Government Purchasing, Association of Technology Procurement Professionals, and serves as President of the Florida Coastal School of Law Atlanta Alumni Chapter.
Chuck Griffith '12
Chuck is an Associate in the Gray Robinson Jacksonville office. He practices in the area of civil litigation, with a focus on eminent domain, inverse condemnation, ad valorem taxes and other property rights matters. Chuck was born and raised in Norfolk, Virginia, before attending Elon University in North Carolina, where he received a bachelor of arts in political science. Chuck graduated from Florida Coastal with honors as a member of the Moot Court Honor Board, Phi Delta Phi and served as a spot editor for the Public Interest Research Bureau. He received the book awards in Legal Research and Writing and Complex Commercial Litigation. While attending law school, Chuck spent two years in GrayRobinson’s Jacksonville office as a law clerk with the firm’s eminent domain department.
Ian Hollingsworth '13
Ian F. Hollingsworth is a Staff Attorney for CSX Transportation, Inc., located in Jacksonville, Florida. His practice of law focuses on commercial transactions, primarily in the technology, procurement fields. He also is experienced in the e-discovery areas of litigation. While attending Florida Coastal School of Law, Ian was an active member of the Corporate and Business Law Society, the Black Law Students Association and interned in the Office of the Corporate Secretary at CSX Corporation throughout his second and third years of law school. Ian received his Juris Doctor from Florida Coastal School of Law in 2013 and is admitted to practice in the State of Florida.
Ian was raised in Keyser, West Virginia and is a proud alumnus of West Virginia University, where he was distinguished as a Promise Scholar. While at WVU, Ian earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with a minor in History in 2008 and also received his Masters of Business Administration in 2009.
Ryan Hyde '08
Ryan T. Hyde is a lawyer, practicing since 2008. He received his Bachelors of Science Degree in Public Relations from the University of Florida in 2003, and his Juris Doctorate from the Florida Coastal School of Law in 2008. While at the University of Florida, he was elected twice to serve as president of the Sigma Chi fraternity, was the Director of Special Events for the University’s 2001 homecoming celebration, and was inducted into the Florida Blue Key leadership honor society in recognition for his outstanding leadership and service to the University of Florida. Ryan was named to the Dean’s list multiple times in law school, received several book awards, had the top oral argument and appellate brief in legal writing and was a teaching assistant for legal writing for four semesters.
Prior to attending law school, Ryan worked in the external affairs office for former Governor Jeb Bush and the White House Advance Office for former President George W. Bush. He also served as the Deputy Director of Special Events for the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City.
After graduating from law school, Ryan worked for a statewide creditor’s rights firm and served as an attorney liaison for a large national bank. He oversaw his firm’s Jacksonville office and handled real estate closings, condominium lien enforcement, mortgage foreclosures, post-foreclosure evictions, code enforcement and landlord tenant issues. He developed and implemented his firm’s policies and procedures for addressing the federal Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act when it was implemented in 2009.
Ryan joined Thames Markey & Heekin, P.A. as an associate in 2013. In 2015, he was selected by SuperLawyers Magazine as a Rising Star in the area of Creditor Debtor Rights. Ryan is a member of the Jacksonville Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section Board of Governors and The Florida Coastal School of Law’s Alumni Board of Directors. He is admitted to practice before all Florida Courts and the United States District and Bankruptcy Courts for the Middle and Northern Districts of Florida. Ryan is a member of the Florida Bar, the Jacksonville Bankruptcy Bar Association and the Jacksonville Bar Association. He volunteers his time to the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund and Wounded Warrior Project. His practice areas include business and commercial litigation, real property litigation, and bankruptcy litigation.
Barry Johnson '08
Barry Johnson is a Shareholder with Miller Johnson Law, handling residential and commercial transactions and litigation for numerous commercial and residential lenders and investors throughout the state of Florida. He is responsible for the litigation process, procedure, client relations and litigation strategy for the firm's thriving Florida Practice. Barry has extensive experience representing multi-national banks, investors, servicers, and lenders in all state and federal courts in Florida. He is licensed to practice in all Florida State Courts, the Southern, Middle and Northern US District Courts and US Bankruptcy Courts. Barry is also a member of the Orange County and Seminole County Bars.
Barry is also heavily involved in the community, as a Board Member for the Altamonte Springs Rotary, a member of the Scouting Committee of Florida Citrus Sports, a member of the Small Business Resource Network, and a member of Community Leaders and Elected Officials (CLEO) of Seminole County.
Kelly Karstaedt '08
Kelly Karstaedt is the Executive Director of the Jacksonville Justice Association, a professional association of trial attorneys in Northeast Florida. Her position involves management of the organization by providing CLE seminars, social events and community engagement to over 200 members. Kelly is also a founding partner and shareholder of Karstaedt & Stanko, P.A. Her practice focuses on building solid and lasting relationships with local businesses acting as their corporate counsel.
A native of the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area and graduate of Gannon University, Kelly moved to Florida to attend Florida Coastal School of Law, from which she graduated with a Juris Doctor degree in 2008. During school she was actively involved in the Animal Law Society and coached the Animal Law Moot Court Team while working as a part-time legal assistant for a local consumer litigation firm. After law school, Kelly worked as a consumer and commercial litigator for five years before taking a leave of absence from the practice of law to pursue other endeavors in the non-profit arena.
Kelly is a member of the Jacksonville Bar Association, Secretary and FAWL (Florida Association of Women Lawyers) Representative of the Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association and President of the Girls Inc. Rising Leaders Society, the young professional arm of Girls Inc. of Jacksonville.
Kyle Kelley '12
Kyle R. Kelley is a staff attorney at Wounded Warrior Project, Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Jacksonville, Florida with a mission to honor and empower wounded warriors. Prior to working with Wounded Warrior Project, Kyle clerked for several judges in the Middle District of Florida.
Kyle grew up in Northern Michigan and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy from Grand Valley State University in 2009. Kyle graduated from Florida Coastal in 2012. While in law school, Kyle as a teaching assistant, Staff Editor with the Public Interest Research Bureau, and an Executive Editor of the Florida Coastal Law Review. Kyle also has experience working with the prosecutor’s office in Michigan’s 84th District and with civil litigation firms in Jacksonville, Florida.
Eldred "Ron" Loftin '01
Fayetteville, North Carolina
Erin Martin '10
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Mark Moss '15
Mark F. Moss is a Senior Compliance Consultant with Aetna, Inc., located in Jacksonville, Florida. In this role, Mark is responsible for managing compliance issues and tracking regulations and legislation across a dozen states and the Federal Government that impact the workers’ compensation and auto divisions of the company. Mark is the founding partner and shareholder at the Law Offices of Mark F. Moss, PLLC. His practice focuses on building lifelong relationships with his clients for successful estate planning tailored to each client’s specific needs.
A native of the Indianapolis, Indiana area, after spending two years playing collegiate football in Missouri, Mark earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice at Indiana University. He earned his Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Florida Coastal School of Law in 2015. During law school, Mark interned with the LPGA, a business litigation firm, and multiple privately-held companies. He was an active member of the Corporate and Business Law Society, the Sports Law Society, and a Staff Editor of the Florida Coastal Law Review, and a published author.
Mark is a licensed member of the Florida Bar and heavily involved in the community, volunteering with Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and serving on the Board for Riverside Avondale Preservation.
George Odom '12
Pompano Beach, Florida
George Odom Jr. started the Law Office of George Odom Jr. P.L. in 2016, and currently represents clients in the fields of Criminal Defense, Family Law, and Civil Litigation. George transitioned from Duval County to Broward County in 2013 to work for Howard Finkelstein as an Assistant Public Defender. During his time as a student at Florida Coastal, he served as an Honor Court Justice, the Co-Chair of the Multicultural Affairs Committee, a Student Bar Association Legislator, BLSA Member and Mock Trial Team Member. He has served the citizens of Jacksonville in various positions including, over eight years of service with the Fourth Judicial Circuit Public Defender’s Office and a fiscal assistant with the Fourth Judicial Circuit Budget Finance & Accounting Department.
George has over nine years of combined experience in criminal and civil litigation and has worked on various high profile cases.
Born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, he was honorably discharged from the Marine Corp in 2004. He graduated from UNF in 2008. George coaches the mock trial teams at William Dandy Middle. He speaks at numerous events concerning know your rights forums, law enforcement and their interaction with the community panels, and mentoring of young men. He has served on the Florida Bar Military Affairs Committee, is an active member of the Broward County Bar Assn, the TJ Reddick Bar Association and past president, the 100 Black Men of Greater Fort Lauderdale, the NAACP, Board of Directors for the New Mount Olive Baptist Church and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.
He resides in Broward County with his wife Candice Odom and their two children.
Edward Phipps '01
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Edward grew up in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. Following completion of public and parochial schools in Mount Pleasant, he graduated from Bishop England High School in Charleston, SC in 1990, Charleston Southern University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Criminal Justice in 1997, and from Florida Coastal School of Law (JD) in 2001. He was admitted to the South Carolina Bar the same year.
Edward is a former traffic officer for the Town of Mount Pleasant Police Department (1993-99), where he specialized in Driving Under the Influence (DUI) enforcement and traffic fatality accident reconstruction. He advanced to Senior Traffic / Training Officer for the Mount Pleasant Police Department Traffic Division between 1996-99. He has also had the honor of presiding part-time over cases as the Municipal Judge for the Town of Seabrook Island (2002-12).
Edward is also Corporate Counsel for several local businesses, including small and large multi-million dollar companies. In that capacity, he handles the business associations and any or all related matters in a turnkey manner involving contracts, leases, negotiations, mediation of corporate disputes, litigation and defense of any claims.
Kameisha Presley '12
Jacksonville , Florida
Kameisha Presley graduated from Georgia Southern University in 2008 and from Florida Coastal School of Law in 2012. After working for Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and in private practice around Jacksonville, she opened the Presley Firm, P.A. in 2015. She is currently working at Owenby Law, P.A. in Atlantic Beach.
Since becoming a member of the Florida Bar, Kameisha has primarily practiced family law with a focus on domestic violence issues. She is an active member of and on the executive board for the Daniel W. Perkins Bar Association. Her pro bono work and community service extends back to college and continues today.
John Price '06
John Price is currently working as a senior in-house counsel with CenterPoint Energy in Houston, Texas. John provides practical and strategic guidance to executive management on domestic and international legal, ethics and compliance matters. John previously served as the Global Compliance Director with CEVA Logistics, one of the world’s leading logistics companies. John has worked with CEVA and held a number of roles within both the Legal and Compliance & Ethics Departments. He specifically managed compliance issues for the Asia Pacific region, and oversaw the company’s Data Privacy Program internationally. John also sat on the Board of Directors of the North Florida Association of Corporate Counsel, where he has served as President and in various other positions since 2009. Through his position with the ACC, John worked to support the needs and interests of in-house counsel in the North Florida region and around the world. John’s undergraduate degree is in Information Systems and, before attending law school at Florida Coastal, John worked as a technical engineer with Lucent Technologies and Avaya Communications.
Edward Sarnowski '08
Edward S. Sarnowski is a partner in Holland & Knight's Jacksonville office and a member of the firm's Public Companies and Securities Team. Edward’s practice focuses on corporate transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, commercial lending and real estate finance. He assists in representing lenders, private and publicly-held companies, and investors in a wide array of transactions. Edward has been involved in numerous stock and asset acquisitions, including acquisitions and dispositions of long-term care and assisting living facilities and acquisitions of providers of in-home health services and medical products. He also represents clients in connection with financing, leasing, acquiring, and selling vacant land and developed properties, including office buildings, single and multi-family developments, master planned communities and various commercial properties. In particular, he has assisted in representing lenders in numerous loan workouts, restructures, forbearances, loan sales, deed-in-lieu transactions and commercial foreclosures.
Brian Strickland '09
Brian Strickland practices with the law firm of Smith, Welch, Webb & White and also serves in the Georgia House of Representatives for District 111. Brian received a B.B.A. degree in Economics from Valdosta State University.
Strickland was elected Chairman of the Valdosta State University College Republicans and later President of the Florida Coastal School of Law Republicans. In law school, he went on to be elected President of the SBA. Brian is a long-time member of First Baptist Church of Hampton. He currently serves as the President of the Henry County Kiwanis Club and as a former board member of Crosswalk Ministries, USA.
Travis Sumter '11
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
Travis Sumter is U.S. Employment Counsel at GlaxoSmithKline (“GSK”), a U.K. based, science-led global healthcare company dedicated to research and development of a broad range of innovative products in three primary areas of Pharmaceuticals, Vaccines and Consumer Healthcare. Travis works in GSK’s Research Triangle Park offices located in the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina metropolitan area. He currently serves as lead U.S. Employment Counsel to GSK’s U.S. Employee Relations Center, U.S. Recruitment, U.S. Corporate Security, and U.S. and Puerto Rico Policies. In his capacity, Travis provides practical and legal advice and counsel to his client groups concerning a broad range of employment law and HR issues.
Notably, Travis has a wealth of legal experience in the Employment Law arena having worked in the Employment Law Section in the Wells Fargo Law Department in Charlotte, North Carolina prior to his current role at GSK, and at Constangy, Brooks, & Smith, LLP after graduating law school in 2011. While in law school, Travis was actively involved in the Black Law Students Association and served as Executive Editor of the SRBLSA Law Journal during 2010-11. Travis was the recipient of numerous honors during his time in law school including, (1) 2010 Distinguished Service Award Recipient, Florida Attorney General’s Office, (2) 2009 Florida Bar Foundation Fellow, (3) 2011 Cali Book Award, Employment Discrimination, (4) Florida Coastal Governor’s Scholar, (5) 2011 F. Malcolm Cunningham, Sr. Bar Association Scholarship Recipient, (6) Chester Bedell Inn of Court, Pupil, and (7) 2nd Place Winner, Chicago Kent College of Law, 2011 Louis Jackson Memorial Labor and Employment Writing Competition.
Travis is a member of the Florida Bar. He is also a proud 2005 graduate of Savannah State University and member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. His hometown is Hopkins, South Carolina (Columbia).
Rachel Rall '02
Rachel Rall, Esquire, is a 1999 graduate of Jacksonville University, received her Juris Doctorate from Florida Coastal School of Law in 2002, and was admitted to the Florida Bar in 2003. Rachel concentrates on representing clients in divorce, paternity, child support, timesharing, and dependency. She also represents clients in the areas of probate and estate planning, real estate, and criminal law. Rachel became a Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator in 2012. She currently serves as the President of The Catholic Lawyers Guild of the Diocese of St. Augustine, serves on the Alumni Board of Florida Coastal School of Law, and is the current Chairman of the Protecting Our Children Committee of the Jacksonville Bar Association. She volunteers as an Attorney ad Litem representing children in dependency court.
Chelsea Winicki '06
Chelsea Winicki is a Shareholder at Kubicki Draper in Jacksonville. Chelsea graduated cum laude from Florida Coastal School of Law and received her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Since joining Kubicki Draper in 2008, Chelsea has maintained a varied practice that has included handling cases in the areas of automobile liability, premises liability, products liability, insurance coverage, negligent security, PIP defense, construction defect, and workers compensation. She works closely with her clients to develop a strong litigation strategy for the handling of cases and always strives to obtain the best possible result for her clients, whether through settlement or trial.
Prior to joining Kubicki Draper, Chelsea worked as an Assistant State Attorney with the State Attorney's Office in Jacksonville. She was quickly promoted from the misdemeanor division, to the felony division, and ultimately was promoted to the specialized Repeat Offender Court division, where she prosecuted only repeat felony offenders charged with violent, drug, or gun-related crimes. While working as an Assistant State Attorney, she was known for her passion and success in the courtroom, especially when she was in front of a jury. She tried 29 cases to jury verdict and tried additional cases in non-jury trials.
While at Florida Coastal School of Law, Chelsea was a member of the school's successful Moot Court Honor Board. She competed in five Moot Court Appellate competitions, winning the Robert Orseck Moot Court Competition in 2006. Also in 2006, she won the Jessup International Law Moot Court Regional Competition, allowing her to travel to Washington, D.C. to compete in the international rounds against teams from around the world. Chelsea secured a rank of 24th best team in the world. These competitions allowed her to write multiple appellate briefs and argue numerous oral arguments before judges, including justices from the Florida Supreme Court. She was also awarded the Founder's Award in 2006, by her fellow students, recognizing her significant contributions to the ideals and objectives at Florida Coastal.