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Member Spotlight: Fishback Dominick Law Firm Celebrates Its 85th Year

Winter Park Weekly e-blast from Winter Park Chamber of Commerce – August 20, 2020

As one of the oldest law firms in Central Florida, Fishback Dominick hasn’t just watched Central Florida grow and evolve but has helped shape it since 1935.

To put that in perspective, here’s a glimpse of central Florida 85 years ago: In 1935, Orlando was no longer a rural citrus growing area but a growing city; we were still grappling with the Great Depression but FDR’s New Deal was helping rebuild the economy; the FBI raided notorious gang leader Ma Barker’s hideout in Marion County; and aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart paid a visit to Orlando.

To reflect on the vast changes that have come to Orlando since 1935, when Ben Fishback, a young humble lawyer, relocated from Kentucky and founded the firm at the corner of Rosalind and Washington Avenues in downtown Orlando, is truly remarkable.

The firm’s longevity is a testament to the quality of its people. “We have been around since 1935, representing public and private clients not just in central Florida but statewide, and I think the culture and legacy of the firm is a culture of excellence. We hire folks that are diligent and passionate and bright, and it has made us very successful for 85 years,” says partner Kurt Ardaman.

Their areas of practice include bankruptcy, business law, car accident, criminal defense, employment, estate planning, government, industry, litigation and real estate. Real estate has been a dominant practice for many firms in central Florida, but Fishback Dominick has been very influential and instrumental in helping several local cities handle real estate development. The rules and regulations guiding development in Florida are some of the most stringent in the country, and the firm built an expertise on knowing them as Florida grew.

Their list of long-term clients includes ABC Fine Wine and Spirits, which has relied on the firm for more than 80 years; Manheim Auctions, the world’s largest auto auction wholesaler; and Horizon West Inc., an entity that Fishback Dominick worked to create to help guide the county and 220 land owners in southwest Orange County to create a 50-year plan to sell, redevelop and zone 23,000 acres of rural agricultural land. They created a plan for sustainable, mixed-use communities that led to a statewide model for large-scale regional planning encompassing housing, roads, utilities, schools, and pedestrian zones for environmentally conscious and resident-focused development.

The revitalization of the historic downtown Winter Garden was achieved in part through the consult and guidance of Fishback Dominick.  “Our cities are the heart and soul of our community. Working to advise them is a big responsibility and requires a lot of trust,” says Ardaman.

“When I started back in 1984, there were clients who had been with the firm for decades, and to this day we still represent those clients. It’s more than just being a lawyer in the law. It’s attorneys and counselors that also know how to do the day-to-day politics, the media … how it affects our clients and how can we enhance those relationships,” says Ardaman.

Fishback and Dominick’s founding partners have long been regarded as legal icons in Central Florida, and the firm they built reflects their legacy. “We have that endurance and tenacity, but a lot of our success is based on our culture – a family relationship that is enhanced with excellence,” says Ardaman.