CEO Spotlight – Shannon Hartsfield, Holland & Knight

One of the largest law firms in the world traces its roots back to 1889 and the Sunshine State when Peter Knight opened his practice in Tampa and the institution that became Holland & Knight was born. More than 80 years later, in 1972, it became the first Florida-based law firm to open an additional office in Tallahassee.

That office is now helmed by Executive Partner Shannon Hartsfield.

“Our Tallahassee office allows us to help the firm’s national clients work with the Florida government,” said Ms. Hartsfield. “Our lawyers and policy advisors know how Florida government works, and our focus is helping our clients interface with Tallahassee lawmakers and regulators.”

The Tallahassee office provides the camaraderie of a small, close-knight boutique firm with the resources of the 24th largest law firm in the U.S. and the 47th largest in the world, according to American Lawyer’s 2021 Am Law 200 list and the 2020 Global 200 survey. The firm has more than 1,400 attorneys working in 24 offices across the U.S. and three international offices – in London, Mexico and Colombia, with more than 380 lawyers and professionals based among its seven Florida offices.

The office also is home to Karen Walker, the previous Tallahassee executive partner who now heads the firmwide Government Section. Ms. Walker splits her time between Tallahassee and Washington, D.C, where she oversees the provision of regulatory services and government affairs to the firm’s clients.

In 1972, Holland & Knight wasn’t the only new addition to the state’s capital. A young Ms. Hartsfield moved that year to Tallahassee with her mother, who was born here. Ms. Hartsfield has remained in her hometown through college and work, attending Florida State University and Florida State University College of Law before beginning as a summer associate at Holland & Knight in 1994 and an associate in 1995. She was appointed as the executive partner of the Tallahassee office in February of 2020 and has been recognized by numerous organizations and publications for her legal abilities. Chambers USA – America’s Leading Business Lawyers guide has recognized Ms. Hartsfield as one of the nation’s top healthcare lawyers since 2006, with the most recent honor noting that “she has her finger on the pulse.”

Her ability to prepare for the unexpected in legal matters also is serving her well during the pandemic. She has guided the lawyers and policy advisors in her office in providing comprehensive support to clients throughout the world as they represent their interests in the capital and across the state, which is heavily reliant on tourism and includes an extensive and sophisticated healthcare industry.

“Holland & Knight provides an amazing opportunity to serve large, national clients while getting to work in a small office in a wonderful city,” said Ms. Hartsfield. “Next year we’ll celebrate 50 years in Florida’s capital. Holland & Knight is committed to our presence in Tallahassee, and we look forward to serving clients here for another 50 years.”