By Matt Wiley
At first glance, it may be hard to believe that just a few years ago, Lawrence Miccolis, P.A., was flying CH-53E helicopters as a U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Colonel. Dressed in a professional business suit and seated in the lobby of the Intercontinental Hotel in the bustling Westshore district of Tampa, Miccolis has spent his time since retiring from the Corps practicing law across Tampa Bay, including the New Tampa area.
“I thought about (practicing law) for many years, but decided to fly first,” says Miccolis. “After I retired, as things came together, I thought that this would be a profession that I would enjoy doing.”
Miccolis, a New Tampa resident, retired from the Marine Corps in 2004, after more than 20 years of service. Through his full-service, small, mobile law firm, Miccolis works with clients on everything from small-to-mid-sized business counseling, dispute resolution and estate planning to helping ensure that U.S. military veterans receive the benefits they deserve.
“A large part of what I do is trying to help people prevent problems,” he says. “The other part of it is helping people through solutions. If you don’t have to get into a huge dispute, what’s the most efficient way to solve the problem? That’s kind of the philosophy of this firm.”
Although he primarily deals with civil litigation, Miccolis says that his specialty is small business counseling, helping entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground.
“I make sure there are good contracts and agreements in place to protect themselves and their customers,” he says. “That’s very satisfying to me.”
Miccolis says that many of the businesses he has worked with have continued to prosper in the face of this difficult economy and have appreciated the fact that he has been able to bring things to their attention to help protect them — the business owners, as well as the businesses themselves. Miccolis says he enjoys helping people make better agreements for the businesses and for their customers.
“As the laws have changed, I’ve been able to provide insights to (my clients) to help them decide which direction to take with their businesses,” he explains.
Veterans Benefits, Too!
As a proud veteran himself, Miccolis also is dedicated to helping recent veterans solve disputes, making sure they receive the benefits they deserve when they transition out of the military — something with which he has personal experience.
He admits that it was a big transition from the military to law school for him, but it was also, he says, a natural progression. As a commanding officer in the Marines, Miccolis had Court Marshal authority. He says that his experiences made becoming an “officer of the court” a natural fit.
“I’ve seen just about every situation that a person could be faced with and that covers a spectrum of both personal and professional issues,” he explains. “Those experiences have prepared me to help people now from a law practice perspective.”
During his time in the military, Miccolis says that he saw all types of people in different situations from all walks of life, both in this country and abroad, from dire financial situations to dealing with personal tragedies.
“I’ve dealt with people in other nations — the western Pacific, the Middle East, etc. — at the governmental level,” he says. “I understand how governments operate and I understand how businesses operate, and these cultures are different. I think that experience has given me a ‘leg up’ in sensitivity in the many situations I may face here, locally.”
Miccolis started his mobile firm in 2010, after becoming licensed to practice law in the state of Florida. In addition to graduating from Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, FL, in 2009, he also boasts a Master’s degree in Operations Analysis from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA., as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Villanova University in Villanova, PA.
While in law school at Stetson, Miccolis was involved with the school’s Moot Court program, in which law students participate in simulated law cases, giving oral arguments and writing court briefs. Miccolis was selected to be on the Moot Court Board, a prestigious honor, and has since become an advocacy skills trainer, helping to coach current law students who participate in the school’s Moot Court program.
He also took advantage of another opportunity while at Stetson that has become a regular part of his law practice: Miccolis became a certified mediator for “alternative dispute resolution.”
“Essentially, in the pre-litigation process (in a civil case), it’s an opportunity for the parties to solve problems by themselves,” he says. “It can be court-ordered or they can do it on their own. An impartial third party comes in and will listen to the each party’s issues and help facilitate a solution if it’s at all possible. I thought that was a nice opportunity and fit for my personality and professional demeanor to help folks through that process.”
One feature that makes Miccolis’ firm stand out from others in the area is that it is mobile. He offers a very personalized service, where he visits with clients in their homes or businesses at their best convenience and according to their schedules. Since he works in both north/New and south Tampa, he hasn’t yet committed to office space at either location.
“I try to make people comfortable,” he says. “When I meet them at their home or business, it helps put people at ease.”
The reason it’s easy for Miccolis to stay mobile is because he currently is the entire law practice. With only the help of his wife, Annmarie, Miccolis is able to counsel clients, while Annmarie handles the administrative part of the business from home.
“We’ve got our distinct personalities, but we work very well together,” he says. “She takes very good care of the details on the administrative side of things.” The two have shared 27 years of marriage and have two sons.
“I maintain most of the administrative planning and office management for the firm, which enables my husband to focus on personal service to his clients,” says Annmarie. “He relies on me for taking care of everything from maintaining files to tracking expenses and marketing.”
“I wouldn’t be here without Annmarie,” he confesses. “She’s been a huge source of support for me.”
Miccolis says he does eventually plan on potentially settling down somewhere in the New Tampa area and opening a permanent office.
But, for now, Miccolis is a man on the move.
“I’ll go the extra mile to help folks out,” he says. “If they need help at whatever time of day it is, I will make myself available.”
For additional information about Lawrence Miccolis, P.A., and all of the legal services he provides, call 504-7136 or visit MiccolisLaw.com.