Carlton Fields Celebrates 120 Years

January 20, 2021
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Dear Clients and Friends, 

This year marks our law firm’s 120th anniversary. This is no mean feat. During that time, hundreds of law firms have come and gone. We owe a great debt of gratitude to those who came before us and to all of our colleagues today for working so hard and so well to ensure that our firm continues to thrive for the next 120 years.

We have been blessed with many iconic colleagues over the years. Our firm bears the name of Governor Doyle Carlton, who fought for women’s suffrage in Florida. President Eisenhower appointed him to the first Civil Rights Commission. Former firm Chair William Reece Smith, who served as President of The Florida Bar, the ABA, and the International Bar Association, likewise championed social justice over many decades for women, minorities, and citizens who lack access to justice. Former firm Chair Sylvia Walbolt, a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, a Fellow in the American Academy of Appellate lawyers, the current chair of our firm’s Appellate Practice Group, and a staunch champion of pro bono services for many decades, was one of the first women attorneys in Tampa and the first to be hired by any law firm fresh out of law school. In that connection, Carlton Fields was one of the first law firms based in the South to employ a Jewish partner, a Black partner, and a woman partner, and to embrace equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community long before there was a “business case” for doing any of this. 

The profession and our law firm have changed dramatically over this time. We have brought together other law firms and professionals all across the country to forge who we are today. We are now a “business” that integrates best business practices and tools at every turn. Technology is an indispensable part of our platform, enabling us to work remotely with ease. We practice Legal Process Management. We represent clients from diverse industries all over the world. We have created consultancies that now help us provide cross disciplinary resources and services to a range of industries. But we have always been and will always be about the fundamentals. 

We strive to provide outstanding service to all of our clients, anticipating and meeting their increasingly complex challenges; we are committed to the rule of law and the highest professional standards and ideals; we deeply value diversity, collegiality, transparency, and mutual respect; and we aspire to be the preferred alternative for all of our clients, attorneys, and professional staff.  

This anniversary year comes at a fitting time, on the heels of 2020, one of the most tumultuous years in recent history, though neither the first nor the last. This helps remind us of our staying power. We will celebrate this milestone with that in mind. This is as much or more about our future as our past. 

We don’t say this lightly given the shoulders we rest on, but we do believe sincerely that Carlton Fields has never been stronger or better poised to face what may come. Thank you for your trust and continued commitment to our firm over the years.

Gary Sasso, President and CEO, Carlton Fields


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