Laura Renstrom: ‘There Is Still More Work to be Done’

Laura Renstrom
2024 Feature Nominations

Attorney at Law Magazine sat down with Holland & Knight partner Laura Renstrom to discuss her busy career from her full-time practice, to her work in the community and her year-round work with THE PLAYERS.

AALM: How did your experiences and interests lead you to a legal career?

LR: I have always been interested in a career in the law. I am a lifelong learner, and was drawn to the ability to research and analyze new areas of the law, make persuasive arguments, and go to trial. I am a concert pianist and have a degree in piano performance – which always shocks people. But the University of Florida offered me the opportunity to pursue a combined degree, such that I received a Bachelor of Music in piano performance and a Master of Science in business management in four years. I knew from the start of college that I was interested in a career in the law, and took advantage of the opportunity to pursue my passion (music) and obtain a helpful business background before entering law school.

AALM: How is your practice different today than you envisioned in law school?

LR: In many ways, my practice is exactly how I envisioned it in law school – I have always been drawn to litigation and interested in complex issues of law and class actions. In my current practice, I focus on healthcare, products liability, and class action matters, both locally and nationwide. One of the incredible perks of Holland & Knight is that I can work with colleagues across the country, so that my practice is not limited geographically.

AALM: Tell us about some of the lessons you learned clerking/externing for the Hon. Richard C. Tallman and Judge Susan H. Black? How did this guide your legal career?

LR: I always tell people that clerking is the best job in the world. Judge Tallman and Judge Black are incredible jurists and inspiring people, and I am fortunate to have learned from both of them.

Judge Black’s dedication to our local legal community, including serving as a founding member of the Chester Bedell Inn of Court, has been inspirational to me. Our jobs are incredibly time-intensive, but Judge Black has always made it a focus to stay involved in the legal community. I have tried to do the same, including by serving as the president of the Jacksonville chapter of the Federal Bar Association from 2022 to 2023.

Judge Tallman was known for his preparation. He was always the most prepared judge on the panel, and he expected litigants to have an exhaustive knowledge of their case and the record. He has encouraged me to know the nuances of my cases, to understand the weaknesses of my arguments, and to make persuasive arguments to combat those weaknesses. Judge Tallman was also incredibly gregarious. He could build connections with anyone, and was very focused on mentoring and building connections with his law clerks. As law clerks, we traveled with Judge Tallman to attend oral arguments on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. During one week of oral arguments, Judge Tallman learned that it was my first time in San Francisco. He excitedly coordinated a walking tour of the city, complete with a cable car ride and Irish coffees. He wanted me to have a true San Francisco experience, and wanted to be there with the other law clerks to experience it with me!

AALM: Tell us about some of your legal or professional mentors and the best lessons they instilled in you.

LR: I was fortunate to work alongside Buddy Schulz at Holland & Knight for many years. Buddy always had an open-door policy – anyone could walk in at any time to ask questions, solicit input, or just catch up. Buddy was kind to everyone – from the newest lawyer at the firm to the most senior partner, to the staff, and everyone in between. And Buddy has always dedicated himself to pro bono work. I have tried to keep these lessons in mind throughout my legal career.

AALM: Of the organizations you’ve worked with in your legal career, which are you most passionate about?

LR: I am most passionate about the work I have done with Disability Rights Florida and Holland & Knight to help inmates with mental illness receive necessary treatment in Florida’s prisons. In 2018, after years of negotiations with the Florida Department of Corrections, we secured a settlement that significantly changed how inmates with serious mental illness receive care and treatment in Florida’s prisons. Over the past several years, the settlement agreement has been implemented by the department and we have seen improvements in the treatment that inmates with mental illness are receiving. There is still more work to be done, but this is a significant change, and I was honored to participate in this effort.

AALM: Tell us about your work with The Players Championship. How does your work impact the local community?

LR: As a vice chair for THE PLAYERS, I coordinate over 2,000 volunteers to help execute one of the largest golf tournaments in the world. Because the tournament is largely volunteer-run, THE PLAYERS is able to donate millions each year to local nonprofits. During the year, I am able to visit many of these nonprofits and witness the tangible impact that this giving makes on these organizations. In the past few years, we contributed to a new first-class playground for the children at The Sanctuary on 8th Street, donated vans to the Edward Waters University women’s golf team, and made an incredible $2 million gift to Nemours for THE PLAYERS Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, among many other contributions.

AALM: You were recently recognized by the University of Florida Alumni Association as one of the 2024 40 Gators Under 40. Tell us what this meant to you as a second-generation Gator?

LR: What an honor to return to UF for the 40 Gators Under 40 awards, alongside my parents who are both UF graduates as well! Returning to Gainesville in March for the ceremony was very sentimental, and made me grateful for the professors and friends that shaped me during those formative years.

AALM: Tell us about your life outside the office? What’s something someone would be surprised to learn about you?

LR: My free time these days is primarily focused around my family. I am a mother to three wonderful children (ages 5, 3, and 10 months) and make family time a huge priority. Also, my work as a vice chair for THE PLAYERS is a year-round job – we are already meeting regularly to plan and prepare for THE PLAYERS 2025!

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.

Comments 1

  1. Carolyn Dickson says:

    What an amazing and remarkable young woman. She is able to balance her busy life in a wonderful way and helps so many others while doing it. Such awesomeness to see! Congratulations Laura!

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