2024 First Coast Women in Law

2024 First Coast Women in Law
2024 Feature Nominations

Table of Contents

Attorney at Law Magazine First Coast is pleased to present its annual Women in Law special issue, featuring the 2024 First Coast Women in Law. These spotlighted attorneys have shared a bit about their practice as well as some of their past accomplishments and goals. 

Kimberly Woods

Partner at Boyd & Jenerette

Kimberly WoodsShe practices auto liability defense, insurance defense and general litigation. Originally from Oakland, California, Woods received her Bachelor of Arts from California State University, Sacramento in 2009 and her law degree from Florida Coastal School of Law in 2014. Woods is the current and first African American president of the Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association.

What professional accomplishment are you most proud of? There are two big accomplishments that stand out to me. The first was passing the bar exam and being sworn in as an attorney. I had been working toward the goal of being an attorney since I was in the eighth grade and finally achieving it was one of the biggest moments of my life. The second accomplishment was making partner. I found out that I made partner on November 15, a special day for me (it is my daughter and my stepfather’s birthday). Making partner made me feel like my hard work and dedication was valued and recognized.

Brittany J. Mills

Attorney at Cobb & Gonzalez, P.A.

Brittany MillsMills is a seasoned litigation attorney specializing in construction law and business litigation. Before joining Cobb & Gonzalez, she resolved a diverse range of disputes including probate, landlord/tenant, commercial, foreclosure, consumer, construction, and general litigation. Additionally, she has a solid background in immigration law, handling various cases such as humanitarian, family-based, employer-based, and removal defense matters.

What’s something people would be surprised to learn about you? Growing up, I always wanted to learn Spanish and work with the migrant community. In that vein, I ultimately decided to major in Spanish at the University of North Florida where I had the opportunity to study abroad in Spain. No one in my family is bilingual and learning a new language is never easy, but learning Spanish has been a great way to expand the demographic of clients that I can help and learn more about other cultures. I hope to continue to use it throughout my career.

Alex Underkofler

Shareholder at Delegal Poindexter & Underkofler

Alex UnderkoflerAlex Underkofler is a shareholder at Delegal Poindexter & Underkofler, P.A. Her practice focuses on advising and representing employees as they navigate employment questions and disputes. She is licensed to practice law in Florida and Washington D.C. She enjoys spending time with her husband, Andy; son, Noah; and dog, Hobie.

What professional accomplishment are you most proud of? I am most proud of being named a shareholder of my law firm. I have been with my firm since 2018 – first as a law clerk, then as an attorney following my admission to the Florida Bar. I am so passionate about our mission to represent employees. I have been truly fortunate to work with Tad Delegal and James Poindexter, both of whom have so much expertise in our practice area. Being invited to be a partner with two attorneys of their caliber, who are so well-respected in the local legal community was a huge honor. Receiving the invitation not long after making a huge transition into parenthood and getting that affirmation that I was still a valuable member of the team even after having a child was also incredibly important and validating at a time when more women are returning to their careers in parenthood. 

Sam D. Smart

Attorney at Plata Schott Law

Sam SmartSam Smart founded her career as a trial attorney. Starting off as an assistant public defender, to private criminal defense, insurance defense, and now personal injury, she loves being in the courtroom and fighting on behalf of her clients. She enjoys spending time with her husband, two kids, and listening to a good audiobook.

What’s something people would be surprised to learn about you? My husband and I met at the Public Defender’s Office – and before we were married, we had the opportunity to try cases together. To this day, he is my favorite trial partner. We balance each other out perfectly in the courtroom.

Lauren Purdy

Managing Partner at Gunster Jacksonville

Lauren PurdyLauren Purdy serves as Gunster’s Jacksonville office managing shareholder and co-chair of the firm’s
appellate practice. She advises local, national and multinational clients in a wide array of business disputes in both state and federal courts. Purdy’s practice is focused on complex commercial litigation, transportation and professional liability matters at both the trial and appellate court levels.

What professional accomplishment are you most proud of? The professional accomplishment of which I am most proud was receiving the Spirit of Giving Award from the judges from the Jacksonville Division of the Middle District of Florida for my pro bono service in two federal cases, one before the 11th Circuit and one before the Middle District of Florida. We all accept pro bono appointments as part of our duty to the Bar; we don’t expect recognition for it, and I certainly didn’t for these cases. So, having the judges choose to recognize my service, among the many Jacksonville lawyers who give their time, and do so at the same time the judges recognized Bill Sheppard, a Jacksonville icon, was especially humbling and rewarding. 

Holly Howanitz

Managing Partner of Tyson & Mandes Jacksonville

Holly HowanitzHolly Howanitz leads Tyson & Mendes’ Jacksonville office, representing corporations and insurance carriers in premises liability, transportation, construction defect, professional malpractice, general and automobile negligence, and products liability defense. She is currently an ABOTA executive board member for the Jacksonville chapter. She is also recognized by Best Lawyers, Florida Trend’s Legal Elite, Attorney at Law Magazine, and Martindale-Hubbell. 

What’s a professional goal you’d like to achieve in your career? I would like to sit for the Board Certification Exam in Civil Trial. I have been board eligible in terms of the number of trials needed for years now but I have never set aside the time needed to take the exam.

Adina Pollan

Attorney at McGlinchey

Adina PollanWith almost 20 years of experience, Pollan’s practice spans every point along the corporate life cycle, from bankruptcy and commercial litigation to formation, governance, and transactions. Her background in Big Law, boutique firms, and solo practice affords her a unique capacity to advocate for business and individual clients in many contexts.

What’s something people would be surprised to learn about you? I’ve always wanted to be an event or wedding planner.

Lyudmyla Kolyesnik

Attorney at Purcell, Flanagan, Hay & Greene

Lyudmyla KolyesnikLyudmyla Kolyesnik is a distinguished attorney whose professional expertise encompasses the intricate realms of trust and estate litigation, complex business disputes, and construction-related conflicts. With an unwavering commitment to her Ukrainian roots and a fervent dedication to the Ukrainian community, Kolyesnik’s practice harmoniously blends a profound understanding of cultural nuances with a meticulous approach to legal advocacy.

What’s something people would be surprised to learn about you? From dreaming of the courtroom in seventh grade to safeguarding legacies, my journey spans from Ukrainian roots to American horizons. In my practice, I have developed a calling for navigating the complexities of disputed probate and trust cases. While others may avoid these cases, I’ve developed a sincere passion for assisting families in securing their inheritances and preserving their legacies.

2023 First Coast Women in Law

2022 First Coast Women in Law

2021 First Coast Women in Law

  • Cyndy Trimmer of Driver, McAfee, Hawthorne & Diebenow, PLLC
  • Lindsay Tygart of Coker Law
  • Holly Howanitz of Wicker Smith
  • Missy Davenport of Jacksonville Area Legal Aid
  • Jessica E. Byrne of Orr | Cook
  • Angie Huston Miller of The Chief Counsel’s Office of the IRS
  • Joni Alexis Poitier of Moseley, Prichard, Parrish, Knight & Jones
  • Katharine B. Hartland of Web.com

2020 First Coast Women in Law

2019 First Coast Women in Law

  • Monique Brown of Deutsche Bank
  • Giselle Carson of Marks Gray PA
  • Stacey Clark of Morgan & Morgan
  • Amelia Henderson of Smith Hulsey & Busey
  • Jamie W. Karpman of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Janeen Kirch of Coker Law
  • Jennifer Shoaf Richardson of Jackson Lewis P.C.
  • Cyndy Trimmer of Driver, McAfee, Hawthorne & Diebenow, PLLC

Attorney at Law Magazine

Attorney at Law Magazine is a national B2B trade publication for and about private practice attorneys. The magazine focuses on the industry, its events, happenings and the professionals and firms that drive its success. The editorial is a collaboration of interviews with professionals, industry expert penned columns and articles about advancing your legal practice through marketing, practice management and customer service.

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