Archives: Attorneys

Jon Gronbeck is a native of the Panama City area, and joined Burke Blue as an associate in 2021. Prior to joining the firm, Jon started his legal career working for a Fortune 500 title insurance company, where he acquired extensive knowledge about real property title issues and contract disputes. 

Jon attended Louisiana State University on an academic scholarship, graduating with dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in International Studies and Spanish with a minor in Business Administration. During his time at LSU, Jon received a multiple Chancellor’s Honor Roll and Dean’s List distinctions. He was also actively involved in his fraternity, Theta Xi, and completed a semester abroad at Universidad Católica del Uruguay in Montevideo, Uruguay. After graduating, Jon was admitted to a JD/MA Joint Degree Program at the American University Washington College of Law and School of International Service in Washington, D.C. During his time at American University, Jon completed internships at two federal government agencies, a non-profit organization, and a private practice law firm. 

Jon is member of the St. Andrew’s Bay Inn of Court and currently serves as the Vice-President of the Bay County Bar Association. 

Outside of the office, Jon enjoys spending time with his family, friends, and his two dogs. He is an avid outdoorsman that enjoys hunting and fishing. 

Kellianne Campbell Barkley is an associate with Burke Blue and joined the firm in 2020. Ms. Barkley focuses her practice on General Litigation and has experience with Personal Injury Claims, Real Property & Construction Disputes, Insurance Disputes, as well as, Automotive Litigation and Product Liability. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Barkley practiced in Pensacola, Florida focusing her practice primarily on Insurance Defense. Before moving to Florida, Ms. Barkley practiced with a Birmingham, Alabama defense firm where she dedicated a majority of her time to automotive product liability and discovery.

Kellianne earned her BS in Biology from The University of Alabama and completed the joint JD/MBA degree program at Samford University while attending Cumberland School of Law. While in law school, Kellianne consistently made the deans list, was appointed to serve as a Judge Abraham Caruthers Teaching Fellow and was nominated to join the Career Development Advisory Board. Additionally, she was an active member of her law school’s chapter of the American Inns of Court.

Ms. Barkley was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts. She currently resides in South Walton with her husband, Tim and golden retriever, Murphy. Away from the office, Kellianne relishes outdoor activities, including running, hiking and paddle boarding. She also enjoys cooking and spending time with her family, friends and pets.

Jessica Lynn Stewart is an associate with Burke Blue and joined the firm in 2019.  Ms. Stewart is an experienced litigator of divorce and paternity litigation involving issues such as child custody and support, alimony, asset and liability distribution and child relocation.  She has experience in the family law discovery process, drafting pleadings, trial preparation and the trial process.  Prior to joining Burke Blue, Jessica practiced (at 3 different private law firms in Okaloosa, Walton and Bay Counties) and has experience handling cases in Bay, Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Jackson and Leon Counties in Florida.

Jessica is a native of Mobile, Alabama.  She attended the University of Southern Mississippi and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Auburn University in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a minor in Psychology.  Jessica was also a member of the Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society while attending Auburn University.

After graduating from Auburn University, she continued her education at Mississippi College School of Law, where she obtained her law degree.  While attending law school, she received the Best Paper Award on two occasions.

Gregory J. Philo joined Burke Blue in 2015 after a twenty-year career specializing primarily in appellate law.  He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Florida State University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science in Communications, and went on to graduate with honors from the Florida State University College of Law, where he was a member of Moot Court, won first place in the Duke University Moot Court Competition, and received the Professional Responsibility Book Award.

After graduating from law school, Greg served as a staff attorney at the Florida First District Court of Appeal for The Honorable Anne C. Booth.  He went on to serve at the Florida Supreme Court in a variety of capacities over a number of years, including chambers staff attorney for The Honorable Barbara J. Pariente and The Honorable James E.C. Perry, staff attorney for the Clerk’s Office, and central staff attorney for the Court as a whole.  During his time with Florida’s appellate court system, Greg conducted research and assisted judges on a wide variety of substantive issues, assisted the Clerk of Court and Administrative Justice with various procedural issues, and for a time specialized in extraordinary writs, attorney discipline, and amendments to the Florida forms and rules of court.  He has also worked in the Florida Senate, an appellate law firm, and an elder law firm, and served as Chief Appellate Counsel at the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, where he represented the agency in appeals involving health care facility licensing, regulation, and discipline.  Greg is a member of The Florida Bar, and has been variously active over the years with the Appellate Law Section, Appellate Court Rules Committee, and Elder Law Section of The Florida Bar.

Since joining Burke Blue, Greg has practiced in the areas of appellate law, real estate closings, condominium law, and business formations. He lives in Panama City, and works in the firm’s Panama City Beach branch.

Natalie A. McSwane graduated Magna Cum Laude from WMU Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 2016. Prior to law school, she received a Master’s in Security Management and a Master’s in Criminal Justice with a minor in Public Administration. While attending law school, she was on the Honor Roll all 7 terms she attended and the Dean’s List for 6 terms. She served as a Grade Appeals Magistrate, participated in the Client Counseling competition and was the Resource Editor/Board Member for the Western Michigan Cooley Journal of Practical & Clinical Law.

Ms. McSwane was born and raised in Las Cruces, New Mexico and moved to Florida in 2006. Prior to pursuing her law degree, she worked as a Deputy Sheriff, first in New Mexico and then in Pasco County Florida. These prior experiences provide her perspective and utility in the practice of law.

Ms. McSwane’s practice areas at Burke Blue include governmental law, law enforcement defense, real property law litigation, and estate planning. She currently assists the City Attorney for the City of Panama City, Nevin J. Zimmerman, and is assigned to the Panama City Police Department.

Clark T. Rogers, Jr., is a native of the Panama City area, and joined Burke Blue in 2011. He graduated Cum Laude from the University of Florida in 2008 with a Bachelors of Science in Business Finance. He also studied Psychology while at the University of Florida, and received multiple Dean’s List and President’s List distinctions. He went on to attend the Wake Forest University Worrell School of Law, where he was the recipient of the Wade Brown Scholarship and the Griggs Scholarship for academic excellence. While at Wake Forest, he also participated in the Small Business Clinic, Innocence and Justice Clinic, and volunteered at an Immigration Clinic aiding Haitian immigrants in applying for Temporary Protection Status after the 2010 earthquake.

Since joining Burke Blue, Clark has practiced in the areas of real property law (litigation and transactional, and development), foreclosure and collections, condominium and homeowner associations, landlord/tenant, environmental/administrative, general civil litigation, and all areas of family law. He is particularly drawn to the “dispute resolution” aspects of family law, and utilizes his knowledge of business finance, psychology, and multiple areas of law, to assist his clients in negotiating resolutions or settlements to their challenging family situations, or litigating their issues if settlement is not possible.

Clark has previously served as a co-chair of the Bay County Pro Bono Committee, and is a member of the American Bar Association, Florida Bar Association (Family Law and Real Property Law Sections), Bay County Bar Association, Bay County Family Law Bench and Bar, and the Northwest Florida Collaborative Law Group. He is the former President and current Treasure of the Collaborative Law Group.

Clark is extremely excited by the emerging trend of Collaborative Law, as he firmly believes that all sides to a dispute benefit when they are able to put their differences aside and reach a fair compromise without an unnecessary waste of their assets on contentious litigation (particularly where children are involved).  Clark encourages his family law clients to consider the collaborative approach where at all possible.

Sandra Adams Wilson is of counsel in the firm and focuses her practice on Estate Planning, Probate, Guardianship and Elder Law. Sandra assists clients in preparation of wills, trusts, Powers of Attorney, Health Care Surrogates and Living Wills and assists with probate administrations.

Sandra has resided in Bay County the majority of her life and worked in law firms after graduating from Bay High in 1961. She worked with her husband and grown children in the family business for many years and then returned to school and received her J.D. from Faulkner University in 2013. She devoted over fifty hours in service in the public interest while in law school and received recognition as a Public Interest Fellow.

Sandra has been actively involved in the community throughout her life and currently serves as a volunteer with the Guardian ad Litem program as well as a pro bono attorney for the program. She is a sustaining member of the Junior League and has served in years past on the Board of Directors of the Junior Museum and the Pregnancy Center. Sandra is a member of the American Bar Association and the Bay County Bar Association

“WC” Henry concentrates his practice in the areas of Local Government Law, Civil Litigation, and Employment Law, representing both employers and employees. Mr. Henry has extensive experience in Local Government Law, having worked 10 years in the Manatee County Attorney’s Office in Bradenton, and serving as Chief Assistant County Attorney the last four of those years. Since joining Burke Blue, Mr. Henry has served as County Attorney for both the Bay County and the Walton County Boards of County Commissioners. He has also represented the Bay County Transportation Planning Organization, and the Panama City Housing Authority.

Mr. Henry is a Vietnam veteran. He retired from the U. S. Air Force as a Colonel in 1993 after a 24 year career, serving in various operational intelligence, judge advocate and management positions around the world, including two tours of duty (77 – 80 and 86 – 89) at Tyndall Air Force Base in Bay County. His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, and five Meritorious Service Medals.

Mr. Henry received the Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award for the 12th Circuit in 1996. For four years, he served on the Board of Directors of Legal Aid of Manasota. He also served on the Manatee County Bar Association’s Law Library and Pro Bono Legal Advice Committees. In 2014, Mr. Henry was appointed to the Florida Bar’s Military Affairs Committee and served as Vice Chair for two years. In 2016, he received the Bar’s Clayton B. Burton Award of Excellence for his work on the Committee.

In the past, Mr. Henry was active in coaching youth baseball and soccer, including here in Bay County. He is a member of the  Bay County Bar Association, the Military Officers Association of America, and the Disabled American Veterans.

Graham Clarke has been a Board Certified Specialist in Marital and Family Law since 1996 and a Supreme Court of Florida Certified Family Mediator since 1997. He joined the firm in 2018 to provide family law clients, seeking experienced family law counsel, the resources of a full service civil law firm.

He is informed by year of experience, including simple and complex marital estates, and by years attending educational seminars. Mr. Clarke established the Bay County Bar Association “First Saturday Legal Clinic” and the Bay County “Family Law Bench and Bar.” He has served on the Florida Bar Grievance Committee for two terms.

Nevin Zimmerman is a resident in the firm’s downtown Panama City office, and he has experience practicing in the areas of governmental law, administrative law, land use law, contract law, real estate financing and municipal bond finance law. In his representation of Bay County for over 20 years, Mr. Zimmerman gained considerable expertise in the areas of land use, growth management, environmental permitting and infrastructure financing. Nevin presently serves as the City Attorney for Panama City.

Nevin has also assisted numerous clients with a variety of land use and permitting issues; he has provided valuable guidance to developers and landowners in interpreting the State land use laws, in navigating through the local land use codes and comprehensive plans, and in assisting in the financing of their projects, including FHA and HUD insured loans. Recently, Mr. Zimmerman represented numerous borrowers of FHA/HUD insured loans to construct and refinance apartments, workforce housing facilities and nursing home facilities. He has also represented clients obtaining bonds and tax credits through the Florida Housing Finance Corporation and USDA Rural Development loan guarantees for senior living housing projects.

Mr. Zimmerman has served as local counsel and consultant for court appointed receivers, developers, lawyers, architects and engineers, and he can be a valuable member of any development and problem solving team. Teamwork and consensus building are important aspects of Mr. Zimmerman’s practice, and he is available to assist you in arriving at solutions for your project challenges.

Nevin has lived in Bay County since 1979, and he and his wife have four daughters. He was admitted to practice law in the state of Florida in 1979. Nevin and his wife (Gigi) have organized and sponsored traveling youth choirs for over 20 years, and he serves as President of the Bay County Christian Youth Choir, Inc.

Mike Burke is resident in the firm’s Panama City Beach office conveniently located to serve clients in all of the Northwest Florida Panhandle.  His practice is primarily focused on representing local governments and businesses and individuals that require representation before local, state and federal governments and agencies.  His experience with local government law runs the gamut from land use, zoning, code enforcement, contracting, administrative processes, bond financing and many other areas of local government law.  Mr. Burke’s experience includes, but is not limited to, representation of the Bay County Board of County Commissioners, Walton County Board of County Commissioners, Walton County Tourist Development Council, the Town of Cedar Grove, Bay County Supervisor of Elections, and the Lake Powell Residential Golf CDD.   Additionally, Mr. Burke has represented numerous developers, businesses and individuals before various Northwest Florida local governments in matters related to zoning, land use, code enforcement and contracting.

Mr. Burke’s experience in the wide ranging areas of local government law is a benefit to clients that seek his counsel in areas of the law such as real estate transactions, leases, litigation, contracts, and appeals.

Mr. Burke used his extensive experience in local government law as part of Burke Blue’s team of lawyers that assisted Ken Feinberg in his role as Administrator of the Gulf Coast Claims Facility.  In December 2010, Mr. Feinberg hired Burke Blue to act as his Florida Liaison and assist GCCF claimants across the State of Florida.  Mr. Burke was an integral part of the firm’s involvement with the GCCF and undertook primary responsibility for assisting claimants in the Pensacola and Gulf Breeze areas.  The experience was rewarding on personal and business levels.  Not only did he get the opportunity to assist his fellow Floridians through some very tough times, he also gained a great deal of experience in claims administration, mass torts and accounting of damages.

Mike is a native of Northwest Florida and lives in Panama City Beach with his wife and three children.  He served as an Assistant State Attorney in Gulf County under Jim Appleman from 1997 to 1998.  He is a member of The Florida Bar, Bay County Bar Association, St. Andrews Bay American Inn of Court and he currently serves on the Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.  He enjoys the Northwest Florida outdoors and coaching youth soccer.

Douglas Smith is a Shareholder whose practice focuses on the areas of Civil Litigation, Commercial Law, Real Property, Banking, Eminent Domain, and Creditor Bankruptcy Law. Doug is an AV rated attorney and has significant litigation experience in both the State and Federal Court systems. Additionally, Doug has been a Certified Circuit Civil Mediator since 1998.

In 1983, Doug attended Duke University where he received a BA in Economics, cum laude. He then served in the United States Peace Corps from 1984-1986 specializing in economic development in The Federated States of Micronesia. Upon returning to the United States, he attended law school at The College of William & Mary where he received both the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award and the Phoenix Award for service to the College.

For more than 20 years, Doug has practiced law in the northwest Florida area. His general civil litigation practice has resulted in numerous money judgments obtained for clients, including one for in excess of $3,000,000. His philosophy regarding civil litigation is that it takes a team effort between the client and the client’s law firm to achieve the best results, and therefore, clients play an active role in all of the cases he handles. Doug has also been active in eminent domain cases throughout Northwest Florida.

In recent years, Doug has also focused attention on the representation of condominium and homeowner associations and has presented seminars on such topics. Doug has specialized in defending associations’ rights when they are made junior defendants in mortgage foreclosure lawsuits, as well as representing associations in lien collections actions against nonpaying owner members of the associations. With the ever increasing number of condominiums and homeowner association controlled communities in Florida, association representation is an expanding area of law where the law is continuing to evolve.

Doug is a member of the Duke University Alumni Interview Committee. He has also graded The Florida Bar Exam and has written an examination question used by the Florida Board of Bar Examiners.

A civic leader at heart, Doug is a past-president, current Board member, and founding member of Habitat for Humanity of Bay County, Florida, Inc., and a member and former Board Member of NCSC Federal Credit Union, now known as Innovations Federal Credit Union. In addition to other community organizations, he was a member of the Leadership Bay Class of 1997, Race Director of the Race Judicata 1991-1997, and is currently a program chair of Panama City Kiwanis Club and member of Panhandle Runners & Triathletes Club. Doug also enjoys coaching youth soccer and is Chancellor for Holy Nativity Episcopal School.

In 2017, Doug was chairman of the Bay County Chamber of Commerce’s Federal Courthouse Committee, which was instrumental in saving the permanent location of the federal courthouse in Panama City. For this work in 2018 Doug was honored with the Chamber of Commerce’s Member of the Year award.

Ward Hutchison is a Shareholder in the firm whose practice focuses on the areas of Estate Planning, Probate, Trusts, Corporations, Banking, Real Property and Real Estate Law. Mr. Hutchison is a BV rated attorney by Martindale-Hubbell and has practiced in Bay County for over thirty years. Mr. Hutchison has served as managing shareholder for the firm for over 20 years and has been the president of the firm for the past 3 years.

Mr. Hutchison has always been extremely involved in his community and charitable activities. He has served as past president of the Florida State University, Panama City Campus Development Board, and as a board member of the Panama City Downtown Improvement Board, Panama City Community Redevelopment Agency, Bay County Public Library Association; Florida State University Panama City Campus Advisory Board; the Crisis Pregnancy Center, Bay County Christian Counseling Center, Florida Panhandle Pediatric Foundation, Gulf Coast Children Advocacy Center, and the Panama Country Club. He is a former member of the Board of Country Club Harbor Community Association, and he participates in the alumni activities of Stetson University and Florida State University. He is also an active member of the First Baptist Church of Panama City.

Les W. Burke is one of the firm’s founding members and is Of Counsel to the Firm. Martindale-Hubbell has designated him as an AV-rated attorney for more than 25 years, which is the highest rating possible. With over 50 years of practicing law, Mr. Burke has extensive experience in the areas of Condominium Law, Local Government Law, and Real Estate Transactions & Litigation. He was a pioneer in the Northwest Florida region with respect to Condominium Law and has represented a multitude of condominium developers, condominium associations, unit sellers, purchasers, and lenders. The numerous developers he has represented are responsible for many thousands of units from Panama City to Pensacola.

In addition to being in private practice, Mr. Burke also served as Bay County Attorney from 1971 to 2007. During that time he witnessed the doubling in size of Bay County and saw the first privatization of jail facilities by a Florida county, the development of a Resource Recovery Facility handling disposal of municipal waste, and the initiation of comprehensive planning and land use regulations.

Mr. Burke is very active in both the legal and civic community of Northwest Florida. He has served on the Board of Governors of the Young Lawyers Section of the Florida Bar from 1973-1974, the Florida Bar Board of Governors from 1984-1988, and is the former Chairman of the First District Court of Appeals Judicial Nominating Commission.

Mr. Burke has also served on the Board of Directors of the Bay Chamber of Commerce and the former Peoples First Community Bank Holding Company. In addition, he was the president of the Bay County Library and presided as the Commodore for the St. Andrews Bay Yacht Club and as the President of the Panama Country Club. Mr. Burke’s alumni activities include the University of Florida, the Gator Boosters, and the Florida Law Review Alumni Association.

Rob Blue, Jr., is one of Firm’s founding members and is a Shareholder of the Firm. Mr. Blue has substantial experience in the areas of Banking Law, Real Estate Transactions and Litigation, and Condominium Law. Mr. Blue represents various developers, lenders, and landowners in Bay, Gulf and Walton County, Florida. He has been designated an “AV” rated by Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest possible peer review rating in legal ability and ethical standards.

While attending law school at the University of Florida, Mr. Blue was a member of Florida Blue Key, student leadership honorary, and was named Outstanding Male Graduate during his senior year in 1967. After graduation from law school, he entered the armed forces and served as Captain in the USAF from 1970-1974, as a JAG officer. After serving his country, he moved his family to Panama City, Florida and began practicing law with the firm of Hilton, Bennett, Logue, Burke & Paulk, P.A., which included one of his present partners, Les W. Burke.

From 2000-2004, Mr. Blue served on the Board of Governors for the Florida Bar, representing the 14th Judicial Circuit. He holds section memberships in  the  The Florida Bar in the areas of his practice: Corporation, Banking and Business Law and Real Property, Probate and Trust Law. He is also a member of the Bay County Bar Association and a former member of the St. Andrew Bay American Inn of Court. He  served as the president of the St. Andrew Bay American Inn of Court for its 2013-2014 term. Mr. Blue was the 2018 recipient of the Larry G. Smith Professionalism Award for the 14th Judicial Circuit.

Mr. Blue is active in the local community. He has served as a director for United Way and as President of Bay Arts Alliance and Girls Club, Inc. He is currently a member of the Panama City Rotary Club and St. Andrews Bay Yacht Club and enjoys hiking, sailing and other outdoor activities.

Joy Marler Masters is a Shareholder in the firm who focuses her practice on Estate Planning, Probate, Business Law (including Business Entity Formation), Estate Tax Law, Guardianship, and Real Estate Transactions.  Joy assists clients in all levels of estate planning, including drafting simple wills and ancillary documents such as Powers of Attorney, Health Care Surrogates and Living Wills as well as more complex tax planning with wills and trusts. She also assists clients by representing them in Florida domiciliary and ancillary probate administrations and Florida trust administrations.

Joy is a native of Northwest Florida. Prior to beginning law school at Florida State University, she worked as an accountant in the areas of pension plan administration and tax return preparation. While at Florida State, Joy served on the Business Law Review, held membership in Phi Delta Phi and graduated in the top one-third of her class. After receiving her J.D. from Florida State University, she has focused her law practice primarily in the areas of Estate Planning, Probate and Tax, including returning to school to earn her LL.M. in Taxation.

Joy is actively involved in the Northwest Florida community, currently serving as the Vice President of the Board of Directors for North Bay Haven Parent Teacher Student Partnership in Bay County as well as other charitable endeavors.  Joy is a member of the American Bar Association as well as the Bay County Bar Association.