Michelle Diffenderfer

Mrs. Diffenderfer assists landowners, businesses and governments with local, state and federal, environmental, natural resource and land use issues. Michelle helps clients navigate these various legal requirements for permitting land development and infrastructure projects.


Areas of Practice

  • Represents local and state governments and special districts as special counsel on environmental, natural resource and water resource issues.

  • Represents the Seminole Tribe of Florida as special environmental counsel, including casino related development and water resource issues on the Tribe’s various reservations and land holdings.

  • Gains permitting and approvals for private development and public infrastructure projects involving complex issues related to wetlands, mitigation, threatened and endangered species, water quality, and drainage.

  • Represents landowners and governments in the review, preparation and comment on Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.

  • Represents landowners and governments in the development, implementation and interpretation of Water Supply Policy, Plans, and Regulations.

  • Represents clients in due diligence, permitting and compliance issues with the South Florida Water Management District, Department of Environmental Protection, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

  • Represents clients in the development of Biological Opinions, Habitat Conservation Plans and in the issuance of Incidental Take Permits and related consultation with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

Publications and Presentations

Professional, Civic and Community Involvement

  • American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy and Resources, Secretary

  • Leadership Florida, (Class of XXXIII) Gulfstream Council

  • Rosarian Academy Family Association, Board Member

  • The Episcopal Church of Bethesda by the Sea, Chancellor

  • Girls II Women, Inc., Past Chair

  • Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches, Past Chair

  • The Florida Bar, Environmental and Land Use Law Section, Past Chair

  • Leadership Palm Beach County, Class of 2000

  • Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County

  • Executive Women of the Palm Beaches

  • U.S. Green Building Council, South Florida Chapter

  • Florida Association of Environmental Professionals

  • Palm Beach County Bar Association

  • Caribbean Bar Association

  • American Bar Foundation, Fellow

  • United Way, Women's Leadership Council

Awards and Recognitions

  • Martindale Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated

  • The Florida Commission on the Status of Women, Florida Achievement Award, honoring individuals who have improved the lives of Florida women and/or have served as positive role models for women and girls in their communities, 2016

  • The Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches ATHENA® Award, honoring individuals that have achieved professional excellence, actively served the community, and helped women to reach their leadership potential, 2008

  • South Florida Legal Guide, Top Lawyer in Environmental Law, 2017

  • Families First of Palm Beach County, Harriet Goldstein Award, 2015

  • EmpowHER of the Palm Beaches, Palm Beach County’s Woman of Corporate Power 2015

  • The University of Miami School of Law Alumni Achievement Award, 2014

  • The Palm Beacher Magazine, Women in Power, 2014

  • The Caribbean-American Democratic Club of Palm Beach County, Community Change Maker Award for Environmental Advocacy, 2013

  • Business Leader Magazine’s Women Extraordinaire Award, 2011

  • Florida Super Lawyer, 2010-present

  • The International Who’s Who of Environmental Lawyers, 2009-2015

  • Florida Trend Magazine’s Legal Elite, Environmental and Land Use Law, 2011




  • J.D., cum laude, University of Miami, School of Law, 1994

  • B.A., with honors, Brown University, 1990