Stephen W. Sessums

Stephen W. Sessums

Founding Partner

Areas Of Practice – 100% of Practice devoted to Marital and Family Law

CONTACT
Steve@sbcf-famlaw.com
Phone: (813) 251-9200

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Stephen W. Sessums is a graduate of the University of Florida Law School, where he was editor in chief of the Law Review, president of Florida Blue Key and graduated number one in his class.  Steve is rated AV Preeminent by Martindale Hubbell.

The AV® Peer Review Rating serves as an objective indicator that a lawyer has demonstrated ethical standards and professional ability. This honor is a reflection of an attorney’s skill, experience, integrity, and overall professional excellence. By earning an AV rating by Martindale Hubbell, an attorney is part of a select group of Tampa area lawyers recognized for their legal abilities and professional ethical standards.

Steve’s dedication to professionalism is evidenced by his participation and leadership in bar associations and organizations.  He is a diplomat of the American College of Family Trial Lawyers and a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.  He is a past Chair of the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar, a past Chair of the Board of Certification for Marital and Family Law, past president of the Hillsborough County Bar Association.  He has served as Chair of the Florida Bar Committee on the Bounds of Advocacy, as a member of the Florida Bar Committee on Family Law Rules, the Florida Bar/Bench Commission and the Supreme Court Commission on Matrimonial Law. He is a past President of the Hillsborough County Bar Foundation

Steve has been recognized for his achievements in numerous publications and by numerous organizations.  He has been listed in the Best Lawyers of America, Naifer & Smith. He was listed as one of 43 of the nation’s top divorce lawyers in National Law Journal, Vol. 10, No. 10, November 16, 1987. He was recognized as Fellow of the Year by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in 2000. He received the 2004 Service to the Community Award from the Florida Chapter of the Association of Family and Consolidation  Courts. and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Florida Chapter of the AAML in 2006.

Professional Associations and Memberships:

Diplomat Emeritus, The American College of Family Trial Lawyers

Fellow, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers

  • National Board of Directors 1985 to 1988
  • President, Florida Chapter 1985 to 1987
  • Chairman, Bounds of Advocacy Committee, 1987-1991
  • Chairman, Client Relations Committee, 1991-1994
  • Chairman, Bounds of Advocacy Revision Committee, 1998-2001

Member, Family Law Section, The Florida Bar

  • Section Chair, 1982-1983
  • Chairman, Bounds of Advocacy Committee, 2002 – 2004

Member, The Florida Bar

  • Member, Committee on Family Law Rules, 1993-1998
  • Member, The Florida Bar/Bench Commission, 1990-1992
  • Chairman, Certification for Marital and Family Law, 1987-1988

Member, Supreme Court Commission on Matrimonial Law, 1982-1987.

  • Chairman, Subcommittee on Procedure and Support Enforcement.

Member, Supreme Court Committee on Rules for Mediation and Arbitration, 1987.

Member, Florida Judicial Council, Family Court Sub-Committee, 1989-1990.

President, Hillsborough County Bar Association, 1977-1978.

President, Hillsborough County Bar Foundation, 20011 – 2012.

President, Bay Area Trial Lawyers Association, 1967.

Adjunct Professor of Law, Stetson College of Law, 1984-1988.

Interim Assistant Professor of Law, University of Florida Law School, 1959.

Author/Lectures:

  • “The Bounds of Advocacy – its Beginning and Evolution,” Commentator, Family Law Section, The Florida Bar, Summer 2016.
  • Author, with Judge John Lenderman, of Chapter1, Professionalism and Ethics, Dissolution of Marriage Manual, Florida Bar, 2006.
  • Family Law Superstars, “How Family Law Should be Practiced in the 21st Century,: Family Law Section, The Florida Bar, 2000.
  • “Ethics and Professionalism” American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Annual Institute 1999.
  • “How to Take and Defend Depositions” Pennsylvania Bar Association, Family Law Section Summer Meeting 1996.
  • “Preparation of Experts and Witnesses for Trial” American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Seventh Annual Institute, 1995.
  • “Ethics, Professionalism and Attorney’s Fees”, Master Seminar, The Florida Bar, June 1994.
  • “Adversarial Cooperation: A Concept that Works”, 9 Journal of American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 1993.
  • “Organizing the Family Law Practice”, Family Law Section, The Nevada Bar, 1992.
  • “Ethical Considerations for the Matrimonial Law Lawyer”, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Twelfth Annual
  • Institute and Colorado State Bar, Family Law Section, 1990.
  • “The Paper Chase: Practical Tips on How to Collect, Control, Organize and Use Financial Documents in Divorce Cases”, Florida Academy of Trial Lawyers, 1989.
  • Case Law Update: Eleventh Annual Institute, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 1989.
  • “Divorce and Antenuptial Agreements, Drafting and Enforceability”, Professional Educational Systems Seminar, 1989.
  • “Organizing the Family Law Practice”, American Journal of Family Law, Vol. II, No. 4, Winter 1988.
  • “Organizing a Family Law Practice”, National Meeting, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 1988.
  • “Equitable Distribution in Dissolution of Marriage: Consideration of Contingent Tax Liabilities of Assets in Valuation and Distribution.”, with Melvyn B. Frumkes, The Florida Bar Journal, April and May, 1987, Vol LX, No. 4 and 5.
  • “Adversarial Cooperation: A Modern Litigation Necessity”, The Florida Bar Journal, May, 1985.
  • Moderator, “The Skilled Trial Judge’s Observations about Matrimonial Litigation”, Sixth Annual Institute, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 1984.
  • “Putting the Spouse Through – A Good or Bad Investment?” (with Laura L. Sessums), The Florida Bar Journal, June, 1984.
  • “Case Law Update”, Fifth Annual Institute, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 1983.
  • “Equitable Distribution and Its Effect on Property Acquired by Gift or Inheritance.”, The Florida Bar Journal, April, 1983.
  • “Equitable Distribution, As of What Date is Property Included and Valued?”, The Florida Bar Journal, March, 1982.
  • “Dissolution of Marriage Trial: The Bench and Bar’s Viewpoint”, 1981.
  • “Family Law Practice Techniques from Seasoned Practitioners”, 1981.

Community Activities:

  • Volunteer, Meals on Wheels 2007 to present.
  • Volunteer and Mentor, Hillsborough Educational Association, 2011 to present.
  • Northside Community Mental Health Center, Inc.: Founding Directory, Past President, 1982; Director, 1975 to 1995.
  • Greater Tampa United Way, Executive Committee, 1974-80: Executive Committee, 1974-1980; Vice President for Planning, 1974-1976; Chairman, Professional Service Division, 1973-74.
  • American National Red Cross, Tampa Chapter: President, 1970-72; Disaster Committee Chairman, 1966-69; South Florida Division Advisory Council, 1970-72; Chairman, 1971-72; Member, National Resolutions Committee, 1972-75; Centennial Celebration, Chairman Committee on Commemorative Materials and Subcommittee on Planned Giving, Southeastern Area.
  • Chairman, Bi-Racial Committee for Hillsborough County School System, 1971-72.
  • Member, Board of Directors of University Chapel Fellowship, University of South Florida, 1963-75.
  • Past Vice President and Member of Board of Directors of Hillsborough County Society for Crippled Children and Adults.
  • Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases, Director, 1980-83.
  • Southwest Florida Blood Bank, Director, 1979-83.

Honors and Awards:

  • 2017 Rated AV Preeminent by Martindale Hubbell
  • Listed in “The Best Lawyers in America”, Naifer and Smith, beginning with the original publication in 1983.
  • Received the Herbert G. Goldburg Memorial Award from the Trial Lawyers Section of the Hillsborough County Bar Association forDistinguished legal career, May 7, 2008.
  • Recognized as National Fellow of the Year by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Chicago, November 10, 2000.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 2006.
  • Service to the Community Award from the Florida Chapter of the Association of Family and Consolidation Courts, 2004
  • Recognized by Florida Trend Magazine as one of Florida’s Legal Elite, 2004
  • Received the Board Member of the Year award from the Florida Council for Community Mental Health, September, 1993.
  • Listed as one of 43 of the nation’s top divorce lawyers in National Law Journal, Vol. 10, No. 10, November 16, 1987.

Education:

  • Doctor of Jurisprudence, 1959
    University of Florida Levin College of Law
    Gainesville, Florida
    with honors, Class Rank #1
    Editor-in-Chief University of Florida Law Review,
    President Florida Blue Key Leadership Fraternity
  • Bachelor of Arts, 1956
    University of Florida
    Gainesville, Florida

Bar Admissions:

  • Florida, 1956