Personnel note: Louise St. Laurent joins Panza Maurer as partner

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St. Laurent previously worked as General Counsel to the Department of Health.

Louise St. Laurent is leaving her position as General Counsel at the Florida Department of Health to become a partner at Tallahassee-based law firm Panza Maurer.

St. Laurent has spent the past 10 years at DOH, becoming General Counsel in 2018. In that role, she practiced administrative law and gained extensive experience in litigation and rule-making support for the Department’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use, which oversees the third-largest marijuana market in the country.

Previously, she served as the Deputy General Counsel for DOH’s Prosecution Services Unit, and as Chief Legal Counsel, supervising the Emergency Action Unit and Unlicensed Activity Unit.  Before joining DOH, St. Laurent was an assistant state attorney in Florida’s 2nd Judicial Circuit. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and law degree from Florida State University.

Panza Maurer has become a fixture in governmental relations and administrative law in the more than 40 years since its founding.

While the firm has been involved in highly publicized disputes, including one centered on the contract for the state’s contract to run the Florida Lottery’s online system, founding partner Tom Panza prefers to represent clients under the radar whenever possible.

Though not widely known, the firm also has a strategic relationship with Ballard Partners, one of the top lobbying firms at both the state and federal levels.

The partnership was forged 25 years ago when Brian Ballard and Jim Smith decided to close their law practice to focus solely on governmental affairs. They still wanted to practice law, however, so they needed to establish a relationship with a firm.

Both men were familiar with Panza from their work on political campaigns in the mid-1980s, making Panza Maurer a natural choice. Both joined the firm as “Of Counsel” to formally collaborate on administrative law cases with a governmental relations twist.

The partnership has since grown, with 10 Ballard Partners attorneys currently serving as “Of Counsel” at Panza Maurer: Brian Ballard, former Attorney General Pam Bondi, former Chief of Staff to the Governor Adrian Lukis, Jan Gorrie, Monica Rodriquez, Brad Burleson, Abby Vail, Syl Lukis and Jose Diaz, who is a partner in Panza Maurer’s Miami office.

Panza Maurer also moved into the second floor of the Ballard Building on the corner of Park Avenue and North Monroe Street two years ago.

St. Laurent joins former Hopping Green & Sams attorney Virginia Daiey in the Tallahassee office. The firm said her addition combined with the firm’s strategic relationship with Ballard Partners allows Panza Maurer to serve as a one-stop shop for corporations and institutions navigating the complexities of regulatory and administrative law at the state and federal levels.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


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