Phil Padovano headshot

Philip Padovano

Phil Padovano is a shareholder in the firm’s Tallahassee office.  Phil handles all types of appeals—civil and criminal—and has provided trial support in complex cases.  Phil also practices as a mediator and arbitrator, and he is a commercial arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association.

Before joining the firm, Phil was a longtime member of Florida’s judiciary—first as a trial judge on Florida’s Second Judicial Circuit, and then as an appellate judge on Florida’s First District Court of Appeal.  Phil is the author of “Florida Appellate Practice,” the preeminent treatise on appellate law in Florida, which has been updated and published annually since 1988.  He also authored another seminal treatise, “Florida Civil Practice,” which has been in publication since 1998.  In 2015, he received the Adkins Award, the Appellate Section’s highest award for contributions to appellate practice in Florida.  He has also received the Florida Bar’s Outstanding Jurist Award, and the Tobias Simon Pro Bono Service Award.


Phil is a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, and in addition to flying, he has many hobbies, including sailing, fishing, and woodworking.  He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Janet, who is also a former judge.


  • Florida State University, B.S.
  • Stetson University College of Law, J.D.
Certifications and Bar Admissions
  • Commercial Arbitrator, American Arbitration Association
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  • United States District Court, Northern District of Florida
  • All Florida Courts
Honors and Distinctions
  • The Best Lawyers in America©, Appellate Practice, 2023 & 2024
  • Chambers USA (Band 3), 2023
  • Florida Bar Outstanding Jurist Award
  • Tobias Simon Pro Bono Service Award
  • Stetson Law Review, Ben Watkins Award
  • Petersburg Times, Nelson Poynter Award
  • American Jurisprudence Award of Excellence
  • Florida Bar Appellate Practice Section’s Adkins Award, 2015
Professional Associations
  • Florida Supreme Court Committees
    • Former Chair of the District Court of Appeal Workload and Jurisdiction Assessment Committee
    • Former Chair of the Select Committee on Minimum Standards for Lawyers in Capital Cases
    • Former Chair of the Committee on Standard Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases
    • Criminal Court Steering Committee
    • Select Committee on Postconviction Procedures in Capital Cases (“Morris Committee”)
    • Search Committee for New State Courts Administrator,
    • Court Technology Users Committee
  • Florida Justice Association
  • Florida Supreme Court Historical Society
  • Second District Court of Appeal Historical Society
  • Florida Conference of District Court of Appeal Judges (Former Member)
  • Florida Conference of Circuit Judges (Former Member)
  • “Appellate Practice for Trial Lawyers,” Panel Discussion, The Florida Justice Association’s Annual Convention (June 16, 2022)
  • “In Harm’s Way: The Latest on Special v. West Boca Medical Center,” The Florida Bar Appellate Practice Section Monthly Webinar CLE (September 15, 2020)
  • “Jury Verdicts and Jury Instructions,” The American Bar Association’s Regional Appellate Practice Seminar (May 16, 2019)
  • “Judicial Writing—A Short Course for Trial Judges,” Florida College for Advanced Judicial Studies: Legal Writing—the “Write” Way to Avoid Reversal (May 31, 2018)
  • “Preservation of Evidentiary Issues,” The Florida Bar’s Hot Topics in Evidence Seminar (June 9, 2017)
  • “Technology and Brief Writing: Are You Getting Through to Your Audience?” The American Bar Association’s Appellate Practice Regional Appellate Seminar (April 28, 2017)
  • “Standards of Review, Postconviction Appeals, Statutory Interpretation, Review Administrative Action, etc.,” Florida Judicial College for New Appellate Judges (Annually, 1990-2014)
  • “Evidence and Civil Remedies,” Florida Judicial College for New Trial Judges (March of 2004 and 2006)
  • “Evidence,” Florida Conference of County Court Judges (January of 2006)
  • “Florida Appellate Practice,” West’s Florida Practice Series, 2020 Ed. – A textbook for lawyers and judges, updated and published annually since 1988
  • “Florida Civil Practice,” West’s Florida Practice Series, 2020 Ed. – A textbook for lawyers and judges, updated and published annually since 1998
  • “Handling Capital Cases,” Chapter 5, National Judicial College, 1992
Community Involvement

Phil is an active member of the Tallahassee community.  When in private practice, he has always handled numerous pro bono cases to provide legal services to those who could not afford to retain a lawyer.  Always helping others, Phil is a past recipient of the Leon Association for Retarded Citizens Volunteer of the Year Award.  He is also a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

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