Rich Newsome is the senior partner of the Newsome Melton law firm and represents individuals and families in complex civil litigation.
Rich attended Florida State University where he received his bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Economics, and then received his Juris Doctor from the University of Florida College of Law in 1989. While at both FSU and the University of Florida, Rich worked for the Florida House Minority Office.
After law school, Rich worked as a federal prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Northern and Middle Districts of Florida. During his time with the U.S. Attorney's Office, Rich prosecuted a variety of cases ranging from white collar fraud to narcotic conspiracies. Rich left the U.S. Attorney's Office in 1993 and went to work for a large product liability defense firm in Orlando, where he represented manufacturers.
After defending a manufacturer in a case brought by a family who lost a child, Rich felt compelled to leave the defense practice, and began representing only families and individuals. Since then, for more than 20 years, his practice has been focused on representing people who have suffered catastrophic or fatal injuries caused by defective products. He has won numerous large verdicts and settlements for his clients.
In 2001, Rich was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush to the Fifth District Court of Appeals Judicial Nominating Commission and served as the JNC’s Chairman during his term. He is a Past-President of the Orlando Federal Bar Association, Past-President of the Florida Justice Association, Past-Member of the Board of Governors of the American Association for Justice, and Past-President of the Central Florida Trial Lawyers Association.
Rich currently serves as a Member of the Board of Directors for the Florida Guardian Ad Litem Foundation and is a past member of the St. James Cathedral Parish Council.
In 2016, Rich was selected as the “Orlando Personal Injury Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers, a peer review publication. In 2015, Rich received the Steven C. Sharpe Public Service Award from the American Association for Justice, in recognition of his representation of Corey Burdick who was severely injured by a defective Takata airbag. The Steven C. Sharpe Award is awarded annually to one attorney and their client.
In 2017, Rich was appointed to the Constitution Revision Commission by Richard Corcoran, the Speaker of Florida’s House of Representatives. The 37-member commission, assembled every 20 years, will hold public hearings, examine the Florida Constitution, identify issues, perform research and possibly recommend changes to the Florida Constitution. Any amendments proposed by the CRC would be placed on the 2018 General Election ballot. Any amendments placed on the ballot by the CRC would have to secure 60 percent approval by voters to be added to the Florida Constitution.
Rich is also a member of the Summit Council, a national group of America's finest trial lawyers for plaintiffs. Members are nationally recognized by their peers as top civil justice advocates. All members have obtained at least one ten million dollar jury verdict and at least three jury verdicts in excess of one million dollars as lead counsel in jury trials, have served as the President or Chair of a state or national civil justice association, or have served as Chair of a plaintiff’s steering committee for a major mass tort or class action litigation. Membership is limited to less than thirty lawyers nationally and is by invitation only. Summit Council members work collaboratively to ensure the very highest level of representation to each of their clients. Rich’s clients benefit from access to this highly exclusive and talented group.
Additionally, Rich owns a staffing company, 4 Corner Resources, with his brother Pete Newsome. 4 Corner, with offices in Orlando and Tampa, specializes in recruiting and placing employees in the IT and technical sector. In 2017, 4 Corner was recognized as “Best of Staffing” by Inavero for both client and candidate satisfaction, and as one of Central Florida’s “Best Places to Work” by the Orlando Business Journal. The company was also recently recognized by Inc. Magazine as being one of the “Fastest Growing Companies in America.”
Rich’s family has deep roots in Florida, going back nine generations to St. Augustine. Rich and his wife Marcy live in Orlando and have three children. In his free time, Rich enjoys spending time with his family at sporting events, cheer-leading competitions, and on the water fishing. He and his family are members of the St. James Catholic Church.
State of Florida, 1989
State of New Mexico, 2009
U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida, 1992
U.S. District Court Northern District of Florida, 1992
U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida, 1992
U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit, 1990
U.S. Court of Federal Claims, 1998
Trial Lawyer's College, Graduate, Class of September 2016
University of Florida, Juris Doctor, 1989
Winner, National Prince Evidence Appellate Moot Court Competition, 1988
Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, 1986 - Bachelor of Science, Economics, Political Science
Honors and Awards
Best Lawyers' 2016 Orlando Personal Injury Litigation, Plaintiffs "Lawyer of the Year," 2016
American Association for Justice's Steven J. Sharp Public Service Award, 2015
The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers, 2013 to Present
The Summit Council, 2012 to Present
US News “Best Law Firms”, 2011 to Present
Florida's Legal Elite by Florida Trends Magazine, 2005 to Present
Best Lawyers in Orlando, Orlando Magazine, 2004 to Present
AV Rated Attorney by Martindale-Hubbell, 2004 to Present
The Best Lawyers in America, 2003 to Present
Association of Trial Lawyers of America's Steven J. Sharp Public Service Award, 2001
FL Lawyer’s Action Group, Chairman’s Outstanding Electoral Achievement Award, 1999
United States Department of Justice Special Achievement Award, 1991
Association of Trial Lawyers of America's Top 100 Trial Lawyers
Million Dollar Advocates
Avvo rating 10.0 out of 10.0
Professional Associations and Memberships
Florida's Constitution Revision Commission, Commissioner, 2017-2018
Florida Guardian Ad Litem Foundation, Board of Directors, 2017
Florida Justice Association (FJA), President, 2010-2011
Florida Justice Association (FJA), Executive Committee, 2005-2012
American Association for Justice (AAJ), Board of Governors, 2005-2015
5th District Court of Appeals Judicial Nominating Commission, Member and Chairman, 1999-2002
Central Florida Trial Lawyers Association (CFTLA), President, 2004
Orlando Federal Bar Association, President, 1990-1996
National Trial Lawyers, Top 100 Diplomat
The National Crime Victim Bar Association, Member
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