State’s largest law firm acquires West Palm firm Ackerman in expansion


Akerman LLP, Florida’s largest law firm, is joined by West Palm’s Ackerman Law group professional liability firm

The state’s largest law firm, Akerman LLP, announced a new expansion Thursday in acquiring lawyers from West Palm Beach’s Ackerman Law Group, a specialist in defending clients from legal malpractice and ethics claims.

Akerman, which has about 650 lawyers nationwide, adds six more to its Professional Liability Practice in West Palm Beach, including Ackerman founder David Ackerman.

“Having the infrastructure of a national law firm like Akerman offers our clients diverse legal knowledge and experience, heightened security for law firm and business clients, as well as greater predictability and efficiency for their business needs,” said Ackerman, 61, whose old firm will now dissolve.

“To me, the change is about the future of the practice of law. Businesses and law firms are going to be expecting more predictability, analytics, ready use of data. Over the years, I’ve kept data on my cases, sort of manually, and am looking forward to having that more at my fingertips,” he said. “It’s a combination of modern analytics with good judgment, experience and basic scholarship in law.”

That’s an approach he shares with Akerman, he said.

They also share a building: Ackerman Law Group is housed in the east tower of Phillips Point, while Akerman is in the west tower. “We’re going to roll our chairs across the courtyard on March 1,” he said.

Ackerman is a past president of the Federal Bar Association, Palm Beach Chapter and chaired a number of committees in the Business Law Section of The Florida Bar. He joins Akerman as a partner, along with special counsel Kristen McKeever and associates Eleni Howard, Raul Novoa, Jessica Rosenthal and Christine Gardner.

Ackerman grew up in West Palm, attending grade school at St. Ann’s. He earned his undergraduate degree from Bucknell University and his law degree from George Washington University.

“David is widely known by both the bench and the bar as a compelling advocate, who has skillfully defended countless firms in high-stakes malpractice claims,” said Lawrence Rochefort, chair of the Akerman’s Litigation Practice Group. “His strong reputation in professional liability and commercial litigation makes him an important addition to our trial team and will bring immediate value to our clients nationwide.”

Akerman Chairman and CEO David Spector, who practices in the West Palm office, has known Ackerman for years and collaborated with him. “His knowledge of the law and integrity for the legal profession make him a welcome addition to our firm,” Spector said.

Ackerman, for his part, said people have long confused his name with Akerman’s and he’s ready for whatever additional confusion arises. “I’ve thought about changing my name just to avoid the confusion,” he said. “I’ve lived with it for many years.”

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