Paul McDermott is a trial and litigation attorney in Holland & Knight's Tampa office. He advises and represents businesses and individuals who operate in the financial services, healthcare, real estate and manufacturing industries.

Mr. McDermott regularly litigates in federal and state courts, as well as arbitration forums, and his practice covers all aspects of trial litigation, including pre-suit investigations through jury and non-jury trials. His practice focuses on complex commercial litigation matters involving contract disputes, business torts, shareholder disputes, consumer and commercial banking disputes, noncompetition agreements, intellectual property disputes, insurance brokerage disputes, physician joint venture disputes, adversary bankruptcy proceedings, and real estate.

Mr. McDermott also serves as the pro bono partner for the Tampa office and regularly provides pro bono representation to clients in need. Among other pro bono matters, he has argued before the Florida Supreme Court on behalf of an indigent prisoner defendant, represented a single parent in a family custody dispute, represented a minor in the foster care system, and represented an armed services member in obtaining a civil injunction.

Mr. McDermott is a former board member of the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. He is a longtime member of the local board of directors of Junior Achievement, a nonprofit organization that emphasizes economic literacy and entrepreneurship in schools. Mr. McDermott is the former co-chair of the Opening Doors for Children Mock Trial Program at Benjamin Franklin Middle School, sponsored by Holland & Knight.

Representative Experience

  • Representing lenders and financial institutions in commercial loan litigation, foreclosures, workouts, and lender liability disputes
  • Defending institutional investors and private equity firms in contract, fiduciary duty, and related business disputes
  • Representing buyers and sellers in merger and acquisition disputes, including representation and warranty claims, indemnification disputes, and post-closing litigation
  • Representing financial institutions, broker-dealers, investment managers, and registered representatives against claims brought by consumers alleging securities fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, breach of trust, and breach of contract
  • Advising owners of closely held businesses on shareholder disputes, business dissolutions, and related litigation
  • Representing board members of for profit and not-for-profit entities in corporate governance matters
  • Representing property owners, developers, and landlords in commercial lease disputes
  • Defending business tort and mismanagement claims brought against the minority owners of a statewide healthcare provider
  • Defending claims of professional malpractice against an accounting and advisory firm
  • Defending institutional trustees and a mutual fund distributor in matters regarding trust administration and investment performance
  • Representing a majority owner in a dispute involving the purchase of a physician joint venture practice
  • Defending fiduciary duty and related claims brought by minority shareholders of a healthcare insurance company against a private equity firm
  • Representing digital graphics manufacturers in advertising, competition, trade secret, and employment-related disputes
  • Representing a packaging industry manufacturer in matters involving advertising, trade secret, and competition disputes
  • Representing a national kidney dialysis provider in various litigation and administrative compliance matters
  • Defending claims of medical malpractice and personal injury, including wrongful death
  • Representing national multifamily residential developers on claims of construction and design discrimination under the Fair Housing Act and Americans with Disabilities Act brought by private plaintiffs and the U.S. Department of Justice
  • Representing a county government defending claims of intentional discrimination under the Fair Housing Act and Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Advising multifamily residential developers and owners on compliance with state and federal accessibility laws
  • Representing a federal residential mortgage purchaser in a putative class action involving claims of disparate impact discrimination


  • University of Florida Levin College of Law, J.D., magna cum laude
  • University of Florida, B.A., cum laude
  • University of Florida, B.S., cum laude
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • Florida
Court Admissions
  • All State Courts in Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • Florida Bar Diversity & Equity Committee, 2023
  • Florida Bar Grievance Committee, Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, 2015-2018
  • Hillsborough County Bar Association, Young Lawyers Division
  • Hillsborough County Bar Association, Trial Lawyers Section, Business Law Section
  • Federal Bar Association, Tampa Bay Chapter, Board Member, 2014-2015
  • Junior Achievement of West Central Florida, Board Member
  • Journal of Law and Public Policy, University of Florida Levin College of Law, Articles Executive Editor, 2003-2004
  • University of Florida Levin College of Law, Trial Team, 2002-2004
Honors & Awards
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Commercial Litigation, 2017-2023
  • Florida Super Lawyers magazine, 2013-2024
  • Florida Legal Elite "Up & Comer," Florida Trend magazine, 2012, 2014, 2015
  • Rising Star, Florida Super Lawyers magazine, 2010-2012
  • Holland & Knight Public and Charitable Service All-Star, 2014
  • Up and Comer, Tampa Bay Business Journal, 2013
  • Pro Bono Champ, Holland & Knight, 2007
  • Book Award, Economic Crime, University of Florida Levin College of Law
  • Order of the Barristers


Speaking Engagements