His shingle outside his office may state that his area of expertise is family law, but Kevin D. Astl is a man who wears many hats.
He’s the compassionate listener who hears it all and gently nudges a box of tissues across the table; he’s the gimlet-eyed analyst who parses statutes to find the perfect legal weapons to argue your case; he’s the family man whose 9-year-old’s artwork adorns his office walls; and he’s the rock-and-roller who goes home and takes the stress of his day out on a drum set. Most important is that Astl is an attorney you can trust to fight for your child, your family and your livelihood.
Astl is the managing attorney at the Brandon Legal Group’s New Tampa/Wesley Chapel office, located in the Central Bank building on Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd. (just east of the corner of BBD and County Line Rd.). He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Political Science in 1996 from the University of South Florida, and in 1999, received his Juris Doctorate (J.D.) degree from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University in Macon, GA.
At the local office of his firm (one of the three Brandon Legal Group offices in the Tampa Bay area), Astl handles all aspects of family law cases, but also has extensive experience in more than 35 aspects of law, including criminal, business and corporate law, music and entertainment law, as well as personal injury and medical malpractice cases.
Astl says that Brandon Legal Group is a, “full-service law firm. We have 7 on-staff attorneys, each very experienced in their own right.”
He adds that, in other words, “If I can’t help you with your legal needs (myself), there almost always is another lawyer in the firm who is able to help.”
Not Your Typical Lawyer
Astl says he was a musician before he was a lawyer and he still enjoys creative writing, songwriting and playing. “Playing drums keeps me sane,” he says.
In addition to belonging to legal organizations like the Florida Bar Association (since 1999), Florida Bar Family Law Section, Florida Bar Criminal Law Section, Florida Bar Association Entertainment and Sports Law Section and American Inns of Court Tampa Family Law Inn, Astl’s affiliations also include the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, Florida Motion Picture and Television Association, and the Florida Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers.
“People can represent themselves, but the law is an extremely technical and complex endeavor,” Astl says.
What Astl offers clients that they cannot get on their own is not just nearly two decades of experience, but also a familiarity with case histories and with the vagaries of the various local court systems, courthouses, clerks and judges in the many surrounding counties.
Astl’s disarming friendliness and wry sense of humor help him connect with clients, and they also help him preserve his peace of mind in a field that can often be fraught with tension. He has to regularly fight client stereotypes about the billing habits of lawyers; and not a week goes by that a client doesn’t want to check Astl’s advice against something out of TV’s “Law & Order” or Google. “There’s more disinformation out there about what we do than information,” he sighs.
As someone who considered studying sociology or psychology before deciding on political science and, ultimately, the law, Astl enjoys not just the hustle and bustle of the courthouse, but also the more subtle sizing up of witnesses and personality assessments he has to conduct, often within moments.
Amy Mackler says she hired Astl to represent her during her divorce five years ago, and it’s a decision she says she’s thankful she made.
“He doesn’t come across as your typical attorney,” says Mackler, who now lives in St. Petersburg but was a New Tampa resident for 22 years. “Regardless of if your case is finished, he continues to maintain a relationship. He’d call and check up, follow up and make sure everything was good in my life.”
Mackler appreciates that Astl is efficient at what he does, but also that he’s open and honest.
“If he doesn’t feel like he should take your case, he’s not going to take your case just to make money,” she says. Not only did she hire him again a couple of years later for another matter, she’s referred him to many friends.
Astl is heading the firm’s northward expansion. His goals are to maintain a presence at the current Central Bank location, but also to expand to include another attorney and a paralegal by the end of the year. At the rate Astl is going — he’s signed up eight clients in just the past two weeks — that looks like an attainable goal. Although he’ll continue to do family law, he’s also interested in growing his representation of small businesses. As a 17-year New Tampa and Wesley Chapel resident, not only does he frequent local small businesses, he’s also watched numerous companies rise and fall, and would like to be able to help them succeed.
Having practiced on his own and in a large corporate environment for years, Astl loves his present setup.
“I like being part of a boutique firm,” says Astl. “It’s like I work with my friends. The way Brandon Legal Group is set up with the satellite offices, you just have to practice law,” explaining that the head office manages paperwork and finances so that he can do his job. “I can represent my clients…focus on them.”
Astl also says he appreciates the fact that the attorneys at Brandon Legal Group are encouraged to maintain a manageable workload — he has about 50 cases on hand at any given time — rather than take on every potential client. A manageable caseload means a reasonable separation between home and work, says Astl, which helps create the objectivity that he needs to be able to approach the case with clarity.
“A work-life balance is very important,” he says, especially when dealing with family law cases that can sometimes be brutal (except for adoptions; he says adopting parents are his favorite type of family law clients to represent).
Astl works toward that balance through family and creative endeavors. He tries to spend as much time as he can with his two sons: the 22-year-old veteran who served in Iraq and now attends the University of South Florida, and the 9-year-old who often spends afternoons in dad’s office.
The office of attorney Kevin D. Astl of Brandon Legal Group is located at 20701 BBD Suite 202, Tampa. For more information or to make an appointment for a consultation, call 933-7200, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit BrandonLegalGroup.com.