Ask the Attorney 

Holly Howanitz, Wicker, Smith, O’Hara, McCoy & Ford, P.A.

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Holly Howanitz

Wicker, Smith, O’Hara, McCoy & Ford, P.A.

Bank of America Building
50 N. Laura Street, Suite 2700
Jacksonville, FL 32202

Phone: (904) 355-0225 ext. 3207


  1. What brought you to Jacksonville?
    1. Law school. I came, I left, and I came back.
  2. Why did you choose to go into law?
    1. I actually wanted to be a lawyer since I was 5. I used to watch Matlock as a kid and I loved it. It’s one of the only jobs you can still have where there’s winners and losers.
  3. What is your specific field of law?
    1. We do all  sorts of civil litigation defense work. I do a lot of auto and trucking litigation, construction litigation, and professional liability. The latter being primarily professional malpractice cases.
  4. How do you set yourself apart from other firms in the area?
    1. We’re known as a trial firm. There are a lot less civil trials than there used to be overall in Florida, but we make sure all of our people are trained to try cases, especially more complex cases.
  5. What do you see as the greatest challenges in your practice?
    1. I think weighing the cost of defending a case aggressively is key. You have to have a plan to begin with, deciding whether to go forward or settle. A cost benefit analysis is always wise. Defending on principle is always to be considered too.
  6. What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as an attorney?
    1. That’s a tough one. I had a very unusual trial in federal court in Maryland. I had to learn the ins and outs of the recycling industry, something I knew nothing about. I always smile when I think about how I learned everything I possibly could about the field in a brief time and managed to win. My best personal accomplishment is that I was the first female shareholder at Wicker Smith who was also a mom.
  7. Does your firm sponsor any special events throughout the year?
    1. We just did a diversity event at Florida Coastal as we’re trying to hire and retain more females and diverse attorneys.
  8. Finish the sentence: “In 5 years I will…”
    1. I definitely think we’ll be bigger. I should have my board certification for civil trials. My office will hopefully be bigger as well.