December 14, 2021 — Former Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) attorney Paul Joseph Polito has joined the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Practice at Lewis, Longman and Walker, P.A., one of the state’s largest environmental law firms. Polito has spent the past several years as a litigator at DEP, representing the state in complex matters related to environmental permitting and enforcement. He has served as lead counsel in almost two dozen administrative proceedings before the Division of Administrative Hearings, and several matters where he argued before the First District Court of Appeal.
“Paul has already hit the ground running and will be an asset to our firm and the clients we serve as they navigate through complex development and environmental matters. His deep knowledge as a litigator and understanding of Florida’s environmental laws and strong grasp of complex policy issues makes him a perfect fit,” said Michelle Diffenderfer, President and Shareholder. “We are thrilled to have him on our team.”
Polito also provided counsel to DEP’s regulatory districts statewide, providing guidance on permitting and enforcement matters. He has litigated cases involving challenges to joint coastal permits, wastewater treatment facility enforcement and hazardous waste and petroleum clean-up liability under Florida’s “mini-CERCLA.” Additionally, he has worked on legal challenges involving environmental resource permits, including permits for docks, piers and dredging activities.
Prior to joining DEP, Polito clerked for Chief Environmental Administrative Law Judge Bram D.E. Canter, working on drafting Recommended and Final Orders.
He is a proud Gator and Seminole, having graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science degree in finance and a Juris Doctorate from the Florida State University College of Law.
A Ft. Lauderdale native, Paul will be moving to West Palm Beach from Tallahassee next month. He is passionate about committing his time to helping others, and in 2012 he received a Volunteer Service Award for “exceptional care and compassion shown to patients and their families in the Emergency Room Department,” through his volunteer hours at the University of Florida Shands Hospital.
“We are excited about the growth of our firm and are proud of the strong bench of professionals who work tirelessly on behalf of our clients,” added Diffenderfer.
The firm’s 32 attorneys are known as problem-solvers who work with clients to efficiently manage and resolve issues encountered at every level of government. LLW’s environmental law practice assists clients in a variety of matters involving the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Florida’s Water Management Districts and multiple other federal, state and local regulatory and legislative bodies.