Claudia Haines Jones had a career in business before she embarked on a career as a lawyer, and that has made all the difference in her approach to serving business clients in her law practice.
Claudia recently assumed leadership of Dean Mead’s Viera/Melbourne office as managing shareholder. Dean Mead serves business clients from six offices across Florida, and Claudia is particularly excited about the firm’s work along the Space Coast, where she sees a strong economy on the horizon as the area pivots into an expanded economy that includes more high tech and defense companies.
“We’re seeing the emergence of a demanding and sophisticated business community, and we want to be at the top of our game to serve them,” she says.
Following an 11-year career at Wall Street investment banks, Claudia earned her law degree, entered private practice and then served as general counsel for a technology incubator and a publicly traded real estate development company, both in Florida, before returning to private practice.
“Everything I learned in business informs the way I approach my work now as a lawyer for business clients,” she says. “I have a keen appreciation for the risks that businesses – especially small businesses – face each day. When I was a GC, I had to know everything about the challenges my company faced – finance, changing regulations, labor, shifts in the economy – and I bring that same focus and commitment to my clients.”
Claudia’s business background helps her understand clients’ day-to-day operations and growth issues. She puts together transactions of all types, including sales and acquisitions, and advises on financing, employment agreements, governance and business formation, contracts, loan workouts and the full spectrum of issues that businesses face.
Claudia has been particularly involved in advising physicians on the business aspects of their practices, such as physician buy-ins and buy-outs, partnership agreements, employment and non-competition agreements, and contracts with other health care providers. Her practice also includes counseling medical staff organizations at local hospitals on governance, peer review and compliance.
While all of the lawyers in Dean Mead’s six offices work collaboratively and are available to clients across the state, Claudia notes that she works closely with colleagues in the Brevard County office who have deep experience in the issues faced by businesses. That includes commercial real estate; probate, trust and guardianship litigation; estate, tax and succession planning; business contract matters; land use and zoning; commercial and residential real estate financing; and agribusiness matters.
Claudia emphasizes that she encourages attorneys to collaborate with clients and take a holistic approach to their work.
“One of the things I learned as a GC is that you have to know everything about your company to be effective. I want our lawyers to take the same approach to their clients. And it means we think broadly about protecting our clients and helping them reach their goals. Whatever keeps you up at night, we have you covered.”
The firm also thinks broadly about its responsibility to the community, she says.
“That means we engage with the community, whether it’s with Junior Achievement, the EDC, private philanthropy or our churches and synagogues. For us, community engagement means to be there personally and to connect with people.”
If you would like to contact Claudia, please call her at (321) 259-8900 or connect with her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.