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    ORLANDO, FL – April 2, 2019 – GrayRobinson, P.A. announces that Dean Cannon, executive vice president and chair of the firm’s government affairs practice and former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, will be named as President and Managing Director of the firm, effective September 1, 2019. Cannon will succeed Mayanne Downs as she refocuses on her complex litigation practice at the Firm, while continuing to support and participate in firm leadership and management. Downs, who nominated Cannon for the position, has worked closely with him throughout his tenure at GrayRobinson as well as in their respective roles as president of The Florida Bar and Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives from 2010 to 2012. 

    A fifth-generation Floridian, Cannon began his career with GrayRobinson working as a runner in the firm’s Lakeland office while attending high school. He received both his bachelor’s and juris doctor from the University of Florida, and returned to GrayRobinson where he practiced state and local government law from 1995 to 2007. Cannon’s law practice has included litigation and appellate work at the District Court of Appeal and Supreme Court level, as well as land-use and state and local government law. Cannon is also widely recognized for his service in the Florida House of Representatives. During his eight-year tenure in the House, he played pivotal roles in property tax reform, growth management reform, health care and Medicaid reform, and major transportation infrastructure policy initiatives, among many other accomplishments. Cannon was elected by his peers to serve as Speaker of the House for the 2010 to 2012 term, where his leadership proved particularly effective during a time of great economic and political challenge for the state.  

    “I am extremely honored to have received Mayanne’s nomination and the unanimous support of my colleagues, many of whom have provided support and longtime friendship that has helped shape my legal and political career,” said Cannon. “We have an incredible law firm, and I am extremely grateful for this opportunity, and fully committed to our collective future success as I undertake the position of President and Managing Director.”

    With guidance from GrayRobinson Chair Emeritus J. Charles Gray, Chair of the Board of Directors Byrd F. “Biff” Marshall, and current President and Managing Director Mayanne Downs, Cannon recently traveled throughout the state, discussing his initial goals and seeking input from the shareholders. These are set to include a keen focus on recruitment in key practice areas and continued geographic expansion within Florida.

    Cannon also plans to emphasize one of the firms’ core principles established by Charlie Gray, that “if you build your community, you will also build your law firm.” The firm, which has spearheaded some of Florida’s most significant economic development efforts over the last five decades, will continue to embrace the “twin pillars” of civic involvement and maintaining strong relationships within government at all levels. “Building relationships with government leaders, as well as civic and corporate leaders throughout our state, has greatly enhanced our ability to advance our clients’ interests,” Cannon said. “In a time of great technological and cultural change, it will be even more important to maintain personal relationships within our communities, and within our government.”

    In her three-year term as the firm’s leader, Downs championed GrayRobinson’s expansion, including the opening of a new office in West Palm Beach and, most recently, the addition of an office which included a federal lobbying practice in Washington, D.C., the first office outside of Florida in the firm’s 50-year history. She is credited with enhancing the firm’s extensive range of services and, through her thoughtful and deliberate leadership, insistence on the commitment of the entire team to the hallmarks of creativity, ingenuity, and innovation that have made GrayRobinson a highly successful law firm since its inception in 1970.

    Her decision to transition the firm’s leadership to Cannon comes as GrayRobinson is poised to enter its next chapter and is a testament to the significance and positive impacts of Downs’ achievements as its leader.

    “Mayanne’s sincerity, enthusiasm, and dedication to the firm have been tremendous,” said J. Charles Gray, chair emeritus and founder of GrayRobinson. “Under her leadership, GrayRobinson has thrived. We have remained true to our traditions, yet never allowed ourselves to be restrained in the pursuit of excellence. I am truly grateful to Mayanne for her contributions to our firm. We look forward to her continued leadership and service as she continues her practice with GrayRobinson.”

    “It has been a tremendous honor to serve our clients and my colleagues at GrayRobinson,” said Downs. “With the work I set out to achieve now completed, and as I look toward the future of the firm, I am enthusiastic about our continued success under the leadership of my colleague and friend Dean Cannon. There is no one more devoted or visionary as he is, and it will be exciting to work alongside him as he takes the helm.” 

    Read press coverage below: 

    "GrayRobinson President and Managing Partner Mayanne Downs to Step Down," Daily Business Review

    "Dean Cannon to Assume Presidency of GrayRobinson Law Firm," Florida Politics

    "Former Top Legislator to Lead Area Law Firm," Business Observer

    "Former Florida House Speaker to Head Up GrayRobinson Law Firm," Orlando Business Journal

    "Former Florida House Speaker to Head Up GrayRobinson Law Firm," Tampa Bay Business Journal

    "GrayRobinson President and Managing Partner Mayanne Downs to Step Down," Yahoo! Finance

    "Dean Cannon to Take Over as President, Managing Partner of GrayRobinson," Sunshine State News

     "Dean Cannon to Assume Presidency of GrayRobinson Law Firm," Florida Dispensaries

     "The Hill's Headlines," The Hill, Lobbying World

    "7 Things to Know Today and GrayRobinson Names New President," Orlando Business Journal

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