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Firm History

In September 1976, James O. (Jay) Fergeson Jr., realized his desire to return to Sarasota and establish a "boutique" law firm specializing exclusively in the areas of federal and state taxation, wills, trusts and estates.

Mr. Fergeson opened his practice in what was then known as the United First Federal Savings and Loan Association Building located on Main Street at Pineapple Avenue. J. Ronald Skipper, a specialist in wills, trusts and estates, joined Jay in 1978.

Growing to meet the needs of our clients, the firm expanded with the addition of Andrew Shaw in 1979. As a civil trial attorney, Mr. Shaw's presence marked the beginning of our transformation from a specialty firm to the full-service firm that exists today.

On January 1, 1984, trial attorney David J. Baron and real estate attorneys Stephen B. Keyser and E. Ralph Tirabassi merged their law practice into the firm and Fergeson Skipper, P.A., was established.

The continued growth and expansion of the firm and the increase in space demands resulted in a move to larger accommodations in April 1993. The firm presently occupies the 10th floor of the Northern Trust Plaza in the center of downtown Sarasota. The firm offers a full range of legal services to complement Sarasota's growing economy and the expectations of our clients. All services are provided by knowledgeable and experienced attorneys with the assistance of a proficient and dedicated support staff.

The complexity of both the law and our judicial system has engendered specialization within our profession. In 1982, The Florida Bar initiated a certification program to identify for the general public and the profession those attorneys who have demonstrated special knowledge, skills and proficiency in certain areas of the law. Most of our attorneys have attained certification from The Florida Bar in one or more of the areas of specialization including taxation, wills, trusts, estates, civil trial litigation, and real estate law. Two of our attorneys have been elected to the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, or ACTEC, in recognition of their skill as trusts and estates lawyers and their contributions to the practice of trusts and estates law.

*AV Preeminent and BV Distinguished are certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the confidential opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell ratings fall into two categories: legal ability and general ethical standards.

**Established in 1982 by the Florida Supreme Court, board certification provides consumers with assurance in the selection of legal counsel. Certification is the highest level of recognition by The Florida Bar of the competency of attorneys in the areas of law approved for certification by the Supreme Court of Florida. To be certified, lawyers must practice for at least 5 years, show substantial involvement in the area of law for which they are certified, receive a passing examination grade, be assessed by peer review, and meet continuing legal education requirements in the area of law certified.

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