Our Motto: Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum
Our motto is a Latin phrase which means “If you want peace, prepare for war,” or “peace through strength.” This motto perfectly embodies our firm’s philosophy in all of our practice areas.
That is, we believe in being fully prepared to litigate an issue, if and when litigation is necessary (that’s the “war” part). But we also believe in working toward resolving disputes without litigation if a reasonable settlement can be reached without litigating (that’s the “peace” part). The very fact that we are ready, willing, and able to take a case all the way to trial, that we think about and prepare a case all along as if a trial may be the end result, and that the lawyers on the opposite side of our cases often know this about us, frequently enables us to effectuate better settlements for our clients. But . . . where a reasonable settlement cannot be reached, we’re ready to go to Court, and we’re aggressive, creative and prepared when we get there.
Our motto also translates to our practice areas where it may not seem like litigation would normally be on the horizon. When drafting legal documents for our clients, whether it be estate planning documents, physician employment and non-compete agreements, pre-nuptial, or domestic partnership agreements, we strive to draft the strongest and clearest language we can, so that if issues do arise and litigation ensues, our clients are protected, to the extent possible.
We think in-side the law and out-side the box. We customize strategies with creativity and legal acumen. Our approach optimizes the odds of success.
Here’s a list of our practice areas:
In the beginning.
Steve Combs began a one-man-firm in 1996, starting out with a cell phone, a lap top computer, a folding table, and a borrowed conference room for client meetings. Within 5 years, through hard work and mergers, Steve built that one-man-firm into the law firm of Combs Greene Harris & Ellis, a 5 attorney, thriving, family law, personal injury, criminal law and appellate practice law firm, which had over 100 years of combined legal experience.
While Steve was starting his one-man-firm, his wife Deborah Greene, was honing her litigation and legal skills as a commercial and civil litigator at a 20 lawyer local firm which later merged into a large, international law firm, where she was one of the hardest working lawyers at the firm. Deborah joined Steve’s up-and-coming firm in 1998, where she practiced personal injury law, civil litigation, matrimonial and family law and appellate law.
In 2001 Steve left private practice and began serving the local Court system as a family law magistrate, where he presided over more than 14 thousand hearings in family law, divorce cases, and dependency cases. In 2005, in addition to continuing to serve as a magistrate, Steve also served as the general counsel for the local Court system.
While Steve was serving the local Court system, Deborah continued with her private practice at a well known local civil and commercial litigation firm. But, being fiercely independent, Deborah eventually started her own law firm where she continued to polish her skills as a litigator. It was then that Deborah began to practice almost exclusively in the area of family and matrimonial law. Deborah found it extremely rewarding to guide her clients through the emotional, and yet often legally complex, process of navigating family law litigation. During this time Deborah also served as President of the Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association, as well as the Chair of one of The Florida Bar’s local grievance committees.
And that brings us to . . .
Where we are today.
In 2006, Steve left the Court system and made an unsuccessful bid to be elected as a County Court Judge. After Steve’s run for judge, he went back into private practice, and he and Deborah joined forces again, ultimately building Combs Greene in just a few years into a successful, full service Florida law firm, with a total of 6 attorneys (2 shareholders, 2 associates, and 2 of counsel attorneys), with over 100 years of combined legal experience. The lawyers at our firm possess a breadth and depth of academic and legal credentials and experiences, as well as real-world experiences, which gives our firm a unique culture and perspective. We strive to not only be students of the law, but to also bring a practical, pragmatic and common-sense approach to the issues facing our clients.
It’s no wonder, then, that our firm is “AV Rated,” which means we have achieved the highest rating for legal ability from Martindale-Hubbell, that our lawyers have also received numerous “Top Attorney Superb 10.0” ratings from Avvo, which is the highest rating from Avvo, and that our lawyers have received Avvo Clients’ Choice awards two years running for Family Law, Personal Injury, Foreclosure Defense, Bankruptcy Chapter 7, Commercial Litigation, Appeals, and Mediation.
It’s also no wonder that most of our clients are referred to us by other lawyers or by our existing or former clients, or that we are often called upon by other lawyers for advice about the law, the rules of procedure, or to help craft strategies in complex cases. But we also apply a down-to-earth, pragmatic approach to legal issues, and we’re able to explain complex legal issues and analysis to our clients. This means that our clients are able to fully participate in setting goals, from which we then formulate creative and achievable strategies.
Smart. Aggressive. Creative. Committed.
Our lawyers possess a breadth and depth of academic and legal credentials and experiences, as well as real-world experiences, which gives our firm a unique culture, and which enables us to bring a unique sensibility and combination of legal acumen, creativity, and common-sense to the issues facing our clients. We have a great team of support staff who help us keep our clients informed at all stages of the case. Our support staff team members are responsive, efficient and compassionate.