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Jax Daily Record Monday, Apr. 16, 201806:00 AM EST

Attorneys Abel, Bean take leap together

After 30 combined years of working together at Holland & Knight, Michael Abel and Daniel Bean launch a Downtown law practice.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

With more than 50 combined years of experience, including 30 years between them in the Jacksonville office of Holland & Knight, Michael Abel and Daniel Bean are partners at Abel Bean Law.

“It’s a challenge and an  opportunity to create a law firm that’s known in the business and legal communities,” said Abel, who left Holland & Knight 12 months ago for solo practice.

He and Bean worked together and became friends over the years, so when Bean began a few months ago considering the possibility of making the same change, joining forces worked out to be a good fit for both.

“I needed a challenge. When you test yourself, that’s when you find out what you’re made of,” Bean said. “Watching Mike do so well gave me the courage to make the leap.”

In addition to general civil business practice, transactional law and trust and estate practice, the firm is developing a niche Abel and Bean believe is needed in Northeast Florida: general counsel services for small and medium-sized businesses.

That includes board and governance advice such as assistance drafting bylaws, corporate filings and agreements; legal compliance issues; and oversight of outside counsel engagements for more specialized services with review and audit of legal invoices.

“We’re fascinated with how companies run. We have the entrepreneurial spirit,” said Bean, who admits that part of their plan is to make more business owners aware that they need what Abel Bean Law can provide.

“The biggest challenge with middle market clients is they don’t realize they need a general counsel,” he said.

There’s also a need for what the partners call “preventive law.”

“We have litigated so many cases, but we only got involved when the claim was filed. It’s much better to not go to court than to win in court. We have the insight to head off problems,” Abel said.

“Mike and I are alike in that we don’t like to see people in extremis, knowing they could have avoided a struggle if they simply had asked a lawyer,” said Bean.

The new partnership has less than a month under its belt and there’s no immediate plan for expansion, or even a staff. Abel and Bean plan to practice in their small offices at Bank of America Tower a few floors below their former address.

“But we’ll offer the big law values in a small office,” Bean said.

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