George A. Vaka

  • Founder

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Practice Areas

  • Insurance
  • Appellate
  • Personal Injury
  • Professional Malpractice

Certified Legal Specialties

  • Board Certified by Florida Bar as a specialist in Appellate Practice, 1994 - Present

Professional Associations

  • Florida Justice Association, Board of Directors, 2003 to 2006
  • Florida Justice Association, Appellate Section, Chair, 2003 to 2006
  • Florida Justice Association, Amicus Curiae Committee, 1999 to Present
  • American Associations for Justice, Insurance Section
  • American Bar Association, Litigation Section
  • American Bar Association, Tort and Insurance Practice Section
  • American Bar Association, Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee
  • The Florida Bar, Appellate Practice and Advocacy Section, Charter Member
  • The Florida Bar, Appellate Practice and Advocacy Section, Executive Council, 1994 to 2000
  • The Florida Bar, Appellate Practice and Advocacy Section, Legislative Committee, Chairman, 1997 to 2000
  • The Florida Bar, Appellate Practice and Advocacy Section, Membership Committee, Vice-Chairman, 1997 to 1998
  • The Florida Bar, Trial Lawyers Section
  • Hillsborough County Bar Association, Appellate Advocacy Committee
  • Hillsborough County Bar Association, Insurance Coverage Committee
  • Defense Research Institute, 1991 to 1999
  • Defense Research Institute, President’s Blue Ribbon Committee on Insurance Company Practices
  • Florida Defense Lawyers Association, President, 1997 to 1998
  • Florida Defense Lawyers Association, President-Elect, 1996 to 1997
  • Florida Defense Lawyers Association, Secretary-Treasurer, 1995 to 1996
  • Florida Defense Lawyers Association, Board of Directors, 1992 to 1995
  • Florida Defense Lawyers Association, Ex-Officio, 1998 to 1998
  • Florida Defense Lawyers Association, Editorial Board, Trial Advocacy Quarterly, 1989 to 1996
  • Florida Defense Lawyers Association, Amicus Curiae Committee, 1991 to 1997
  • Florida Defense Lawyers Association, Convention Chairperson, 1994 to 1994
  • Florida Defense Lawyers Association, Florida Liability Claims Institute, Chairperson, 1999 to 1999
  • International Association of Defense Counsel, 1991 to 1999
  • Tampa Bay Trial Lawyers Association
  • Association Internationale de Droit des Assurance (Int'l Association for Insurance Law)
  • University of Florida College of Law, Law Center Association, Board of Trustee, 2012 to Present
  • University of Florida College of Law, Emeritus, 2012 to Present
  • University of Florida College of Law, Alumni Council, Member, 1986 to 2006
  • University of Florida College of Law, President, 2004 to 2005

Biography

George A. Vaka has been practicing since 1983. He has long been honored by his peers as one of the "Best Lawyers in America," and in 2014, 2017 and, again in 2019, was named "Lawyer of the Year" for insurance law by that same organization. He has been an "AV Rated Preeminent Lawyer" by Martindale-Hubbell for more than twenty-five consecutive years, and has been recognized as a "Florida Super Lawyer" in both appellate practice and insurance law. Mr. Vaka was named a Fellow of the American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel, a privilege bestowed on less than 300 attorneys nationwide. He has been recognized as "Legal Elite" for his years of work and superior legal accomplishments. Mr. Vaka is a member of "The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial Lawyers;" an invitation-only, nationwide organization that extends membership to only the select few of the most qualified attorneys from each state who exemplify superior qualifications of leadership, reputation, influence, stature and profile as a civil plaintiff trial lawyer. His reputation as a legal expert began when he was defending Fortune 500 companies and the insurance industry at trial and appellate levels. He has represented clients in a wide variety of civil legal matters ranging from mass tort product liability cases, medical device litigation, aircraft disasters, environmental torts to medical malpractice. His representation of insurance companies was likewise diverse ranging from automobile insurance, professional liability insurance to petroleum and environmental cleanups, just to name a few.

Mr. Vaka's reputation as a legal expert grew when he was able to dedicate his practice to his passion for helping others. His practice is now limited to representing small businesses and individuals who often find themselves in "David vs. Goliath" disputes against corporate and insurance company giants. He has frequently volunteered his assistance to colleagues and peers and shared his legal acumen through presentations in the classroom and the publication of numerous articles on a statewide and national level. Mr. Vaka has been recognized in Florida courts as an expert in matters relating to torts, insurance and appellate practice. In addition, he is a circuit court and appellate court mediator certified by the Florida Supreme Court and appointed by the United States District Court.

Mr. Vaka is also recognized as a leader outside the courtroom. When elected President of the Florida Defense Lawyers Association; he was, at the time, the youngest person selected for the honor. His colleagues in the Plaintiffs' bar also recognized his leadership skills appointing him to the Board of Directors and Chair of the Appellate Practice Section of the Academy of the Florida Trial Lawyers for three consecutive years. Mr. Vaka's experience serving at the executive board level of Florida's two largest and competing trial lawyer associations is unique among Florida's trial bar. 

Most telling of his reputation is the frequent description of him by his colleagues as a "Lawyer's Lawyer," a compliment recognizing his superior legal skills and extraordinary professionalism.

Education

  • University of Florida College of Law, Gainesville, Florida
    • J.D. - 1993
  • Rutgers University Cook College, New Brunswick, New Jersey
    • B.A. - 1979

Past Positions

  • Vaka, Larson & Johnson, P.L., Member, 1999 to 2009
  • Fowler, White, Gillen Boggs Villareal & Banker, P.A., Shareholder, 1988 to 1999
  • Fowler, White, Gillen Boggs Villareal & Banker, P.A., Associate Attorney, 1983 to 1988

Bar Admissions

  • Florida, 1983
  • U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 10th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Classes & Seminars

  • Hillsborough County Bar Association Bench/Bar Conference “Preservation of Error for Appeal” (October 2012)
  • Welcome to Law School – University of Florida College of Law (September 2008)
  • The Basics of Coverage – Florida Liability Claims Conference (June 2005)
  • The Care and Feeding of Experts in Your Insurance Case: Finding and Retaining Expert Witnesses, and Presenting Their Testimony, The American Bar Association, Section of Litigation – Tucson, Arizona (March 2005)
  • Annual Update Evidence and Civil Procedure – Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers Annual Convention (June 2004)
  • “Good Hands? Good Neighbors? Good Grief!” – Confessions of a Born-Again Bad Faith Lawyer - Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers Annual Convention (June 2003)
  • “Appealable Orders and Extraordinary Writs” – Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers Workhorse Seminar (March 2003)
  • Faculty Member, First through Fourth – Annual Program on Successful Appellate Practice presented by Stetson College of Law and Appellate Practice and Advocacy Section of the Florida Bar (1998-2001)
  • “Image is Everything – Winning Your Case in the Court of Public Opinion” – Earth, Wind, Fire and Water: Cutting Edge Issues in Property Insurance Claims Following a Natural or Man-Made Disaster presented by American Bar Association – St. Thomas, USVI (April 2001)

Published Works

  • The Times are Changing and We Need to Change with Them – Journal, Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers (January 2004)
  • Some Tips on Avoiding Pitfalls and Potholes to the Infrequent Traveler of the Appellate Highway – Journal, Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers (November 2003)
  • Sometimes Being An Appellate “Nerd” Pays Off – Journal, Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers (February 2003)
  • North Florida Women’s Health & Counseling Services, Inc. v. State: A Blueprint to Help Challenge the Constitutionality of the 2003 Medical Malpractice Reforms? – Journal, Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers (August 2003)
  • Preserving the Denial of a Challenge for Cause for Appellate Review – Journal, Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers (February 2003)
  • Multiple Liability Insurance Policies – Florida Automobile Insurance Law, 4th Ed. (Fla. Bar Publisher) Summer 1998
  • CGL Policy is Not a Panacea for Employee Claims – The National Law Journal (August 26, 1996)
  • Non-Disclosure of the Underinsured Motorist Carrier at Trial: Jury Deception or Protection of the Jury Process? – Trial Advocate Quarterly, Vol. 15, No. 1 (Winter 1996)
  • The First Party Insurance Bad Faith Claim: Basics and New Developments, Part II – Florida Bar Journal, Vol. LXIX, No. 7 (July 1995)
  • Multiple Liability Insurance Policies, Chapter 6 – Florida Automobile Insurance Law, 3rd Ed. (Fla. Bar Publisher) June 1995
  • The New Uninsured Motorist Statute: Implications and Possible Constitutional Challenges – Trial Advocate Quarterly Vol. 11, No. 4 (October 1992)
  • Multiple Liability Insurance Policies, Chapter 6 – Florida Automobile Insurance Law (Fla. Bar Publisher) 1991
  • Multiple Liability Insurance Policies, Chapter 6 – Florida Automobile Insurance Law, 2nd Ed. (Fla. Bar Publisher) July 1993
  • Bad Faith Actions in Florida, Defendant’s Perspective – Florida Insurance and Tort Law Update, Professional Education Systems, Inc. (1991)
  • Bad Faith in the 90’s – Trial Advocate Quarterly, Vol. 9, No. 4 Symposium Editor (October 1990)
  • Case Comment, Shelby Mutual Insurance Company of Shelby, Ohio v. Mary Lou Smith – Trial Advocate Quarterly, Vol. 9, No. 1 (January 1990)
  • Bad Faith Actions in Florida, Defendant’s Perspective – Florida Insurance and Tort Law Update, Professional Education Systems, Inc. (1990)
  • Possibility Plus Foreseeability Equals Liability: It’s Time to Rethink the Proximate Cause Equation in Florida – Trial Advocate Quarterly, Vol. 6, No. 1 (January 1987)
  • Child Molestation: Intentional Act, Unintentional Injury? – The Advocate, Vol. XI, No. 3, Co-Author (June 1985)
  • Alpert, Products Liability, The Law in Florida – 1982 Supplement, Co-Author (1982)
  • Alpert, Florida Settlements and Release – Contributing Author (1982)
  • Police Records Bill Clouds Status of Meetings – Florida Freedom of Information Clearing House Newsletter, Vol. 6, No. 9, Contributing Author (November 1982)

Honors

  • AV Preeminent Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Fellow, American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel
  • One of Florida's "Legal Elite" by Florida Trend Magazine
  • Honored in “Best Lawyers in America,” Named “Lawyer of the Year” in 2014, 2017 and 2019 in insurance law by Best Lawyers in America
  • Leading American Attorneys
  • Florida Super Lawyer
  • One of the Best Lawyers in Tampa Bay by Tampa Bay Metro Magazine
  • “Best Legal Eagle” in the state by Florida Monthly Magazine
  • “Best Lawyers” by Corporate Counsel Magazine and National Law Journal
  • Top 100 Trial Lawyers, National Trial Lawyers
  • Best Amicus Brief Award, Florida Defense Lawyers Association
  • President’s Award for Outstanding Service, Florida Defense Lawyers Association