|Robert Stuart Willis
Mr. Willis, senior partner, has been board certified in criminal trial law since 1993 and is a former prosecutor with extensive experience in the defense of criminal cases in both state and federal courts. He is AV rated (highest) by Martindale-Hubbell and has been featured in Jacksonville Magazine as one of the five best criminal lawyers in Jacksonville as voted by his peers. He has also been consistently named in articles by that same publication as among the best criminal lawyers in the City of Jacksonville. He is included annually in the national publication entitled The Best Lawyers In America and Mr. Willis was named as Lawyer of the Year for Jacksonville in 2011 by that same publication. He is also included in the statewide publication, Florida Super Lawyers, and has been named by Florida Trend Magazine as a member of Florida’s “Legal Elite” in the practice area of criminal law. Mr. Willis has twice been named Chairman of the Criminal Law Section of the Jacksonville Bar (1994-1995, 1995-1996), was a State Board member of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and Chairman of the Ethics Committee of the Criminal Law Section of the Florida Bar. He is also a Master in the Chester Bedell Inn of Court. For almost a dozen years he was an instructor at the Trial Advocacy Seminar for prosecutors and public defenders at the University of Florida School of Law and has lectured on various criminal law subjects for Bar sponsored seminars including giving the professionalism lecture for the “Bridge the Gap” seminar that is required for all new Florida lawyers. Mr. Willis has also served as a mentor for the Jacksonville Bar and been recognized as a pro bono resource attorney in capital cases by the Commission of the Administration of Justice in capital cases. He is “death qualified” to serve as lead counsel in capital cases.
Mr. Willis is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the Middle District of Florida, and all Florida courts. He has appeared pro hoc vice in the courts of New Jersey, North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland and Tennessee. He is also a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.
Mr. Willis’ undergraduate education was at the University of Florida and the University of South Florida. While an undergraduate at the University of Florida, he was a member of the university’s debate team. He holds a juris doctor degree from the University of Florida College of Law. While earning that degree, he was elected Chancellor of the Student Honor Court, and was inducted into Florida Blue Key Honor Fraternity. He has served as an officer or member of the Board for various charitable organizations with a special interest in serving the needs of mentally handicapped children and adults. He has also received various awards for his pro bono representation of indigent persons.
In addition to criminal trial practice, Mr. Willis has extensive experience in licensure defense, primarily defense of lawyers in Bar grievance proceedings, and, similar disciplinary proceedings involving healthcare professionals.
|David B. Ferebee
Mr. Ferebee, a senior partner, also is a licensed Certified Public Accountant since 1979 and prior to entering the practice of law he was employed by local and national CPA firms. In addition to his law degree, Mr. Ferebee holds a graduate law degree, a Masters of Law-Taxation from the nationally recognized University of Florida Graduate Tax Program. As an attorney, Mr. Ferebee is AV rated (highest) by Martindale-Hubbell, a recognized national lawyer directory, based on peer reviews.
Since 1985, Mr. Ferebee has been in private legal practice providing advice and legal representation primarily in areas of tax, Internal Revenue Service matters and controversies, estates, wills, trusts, guardianship, business and bankruptcy. While in private practice, he has qualified and testified in state and federal courts as an expert witness in tax and bankruptcy matters. Mr. Ferebee has routinely been asked by other legal practitioners and judges to serve as court appointed counsel in estate and guardianship cases protecting the rights of incapacitated individuals or minors. Mr. Ferebee has also been lead trial counsel in several nationally reported and published trial decisions in the tax, estate, commercial and bankruptcy areas. Mr. Ferebee’s commitments, clientele, and experience are broad based, including over 15 years of pro bono voluntary service to the Jacksonville Bar Association providing consultations in estate, tax and bankruptcy matters.
Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Ferebee was a trial attorney with the Office of Chief Counsel, Internal Revenue Service, representing the Internal Revenue Service in trials before the United States Tax Court and serving as a legal advisor for the Internal Revenue Service audit, collection, and criminal personnel.
Mr. Ferebee has been a lecturer, speaker, and instructor in the estate and tax areas as well as an adjunct professor in tax research at the University of North Florida Graduate School of Accounting, an instructor in the estates and trusts course for the American Institute of Paralegal Studies, and a lecturer for the Jacksonville Bar Association, Florida Community College, and Jacksonville Public Libraries. Mr. Ferebee’s past and/or current affiliations include membership in the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the American Association of Attorney Certified Public Accountants, the American Bankruptcy Institute, and the Tax Section, Elder Law Section, and Real Property and Probate Law Section of the Florida Bar.
Mr. Ferebee obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (B.S. – Business Administration) and he received his Juris Doctor with honors (J.D.) from the University of Florida.
|L. E. Hutton
L. E. Hutton joined Willis, Ferebee & Hutton in 2001 practicing primarily in the area of state and federal criminal defense. Mr. Hutton has been named by Florida Trend Magazine as a member of Florida’s “Legal Elite” in the practice area of criminal law. This prestigious recognition is based on a vote of his peers with “Legal Elite” attorneys representing less than 2% of the nearly 63,000 Florida Bar members practicing in Florida.
Mr. Hutton is a member of the Florida Bar, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, and the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Mr. Hutton is also a member of the Criminal Law Section of the Jacksonville Bar and the Criminal Law Section of the Florida Bar.
Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Hutton was an Assistant State Attorney in the Fourth Judicial Circuit which includes Jacksonville, and had trial responsibility for the prosecution of felonies ranging from murder to various drug or drug related violations. He was selected to be part of the elite Special Prosecution Unit which focuses on major and/or complex criminal cases.
Prior to joining the State Attorney’s Office, Mr. Hutton received his law degree from the University of Florida College of Law. While at the University of Florida College of Law, Mr. Hutton clerked for United States District Court Judge Jack T. Camp in Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Hutton also clerked for former Circuit Court Judge Larry Turner while Judge Turner was still in private practice specializing in criminal defense. Additionally, while Mr. Hutton was at the University of Florida College of Law, he served as Chancellor of the Student Honor Court.
Mr. Hutton also received his undergraduate Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Florida. While at the University of Florida, Mr. Hutton was inducted into and maintains his membership in the Florida Blue Key Honor Fraternity and the Sigma Chi Fraternity. Additionally, Mr. Hutton was Chief Justice of the Student Traffic Court and named the Outstanding Male Leader for his graduating class by the University of Florida National Alumni Association. More recently, Mr. Hutton was appointed by the State Attorney to serve as a member of the Ethics Commission for the City of Jacksonville which advises on and investigates ethics complaints related to local government.