Chip Mander was born in Florida, but grew up in the Pittsburgh area of Pennsylvania. He returned to Florida to attend law school just days after graduating from Grove City College in 1974.
He graduated from Stetson University’s College of Law in 1977 and gained valuable trial experience as a prosecutor in the Pasco-Pinellas State Attorney’s Office in the Sixth Judicial Circuit. In fact, during his first two years, he prosecuted over 100 jury trials. While in that office, Mr. Mander met an outstanding legal secretary named Debbie Sessoms who remains his legal assistant some 30 years later.
In 1979, both Mr. Mander and Ms. Sessoms left the State Attorney’s Office and joined the solo Law Firm of Glen Greenfelder in Dade City, Florida. Since that time, the full-service law firm now named Mander Law Group has grown to over 20 employees, which includes a total of six attorneys, and its office space has tripled in size.
Mr. Mander is the senior jury trial lawyer of the firm. He defends citizens accused of crimes, represents plaintiffs seeking monetary recovery who have been negligently injured, along with families of those wrongfully killed and victims of serious injuries or death due to medical malpractice, and persons needing to force insurance companies to meet their contractual obligations.
In 1990, Mr. Mander became a Board Certified Criminal Law Trial Attorney. This distinction is held by less than 1% of all Florida attorneys and requires extensive trial experience and passing a rigorous exam.
Mr. Mander is often asked if he has any important cases pending. He always answers, “Every case I have is important to my client.” Mr. Mander handles cases ranging from complicated murder cases and medical malpractice deaths down to misdemeanor cases. He has handled personal injury cases involving devastating injuries, complicated liability patterns, and medical malpractice cases involving the unnecessary deaths of infants.
To date, Mr. Mander has tried over 300 jury trials, including 19 murder cases. Standing a daunting 6’4” and 280 pounds, the former college football player is an imposing lawyer and is known for intense pre-trial preparation that causes him to be disconcertingly calm in the courtroom.
After over 34 years of experience, Mr. Mander has not lost his passion for the courtroom fight when the opposition is unreasonable or incorrect.
Mr. Mander enjoys traveling to new courthouses and dealing with new judges, prosecutors and defense lawyers through the State of Florida. To date, Mr. Mander has handled cases in 23 different Florida counties.
Mr. Mander’s success in the courtroom, as well as cases resolved favorably prior to trial, has earned his inclusion in the Florida Super Lawyer magazine in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 & 2010.
Since 1989, Mr. Mander has received an AV Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell’s lawyer evaluation service. This is the highest competency and ethical rating available to attorneys.
Mr. Mander has also been previously selected for inclusion in the Leading American Lawyers publication and a Life Member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He is a former President of the Pasco County Bar Association and has served on Florida’s Judicial Qualifications Committee (JQC) and the Florida Bar Disciplinary Committee. Mr. Mander has been a certified Florida Circuit Court Mediator since 1991.
Mr. Mander has been married to Deanna Bardin Mander since 1981. They have three grown daughters. He has coached youth t-ball, baseball, soccer and basketball teams. Mr. Mander helped form the local non-profit youth theatre and arts group called Arts in Motion and has been a major fundraiser for that organization.
Mr. Mander played college football and college intramural volleyball, basketball, softball and handball. He believes the lessons he learned as an athlete -- such as teamwork, preparation, pain endurance and perseverance -- have provided the competitive spirit needed to be a trial lawyer. Mr. Mander believes it is not enough to have the will to win; he believes that a lawyer must have the will to prepare to win.
Mr. Mander enjoys the process of investigating, preparing questions, taking witness depositions, crafting pretrial motions, cross examinations and arguments.
Mr. Mander enjoys tennis, swimming, reading history, playing cards and chess, and he is an avid hiker. Every member of Mr. Mander’s family enjoys traveling to other states and countries.