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Michelle Diffenderfer attorney photo

Michelle Diffenderfer

President/Shareholder | West Palm Beach

Co-Chair of: Native American Law

Mrs. Diffenderfer assists landowners, businesses and governments with local, state and federal, environmental, natural resource and land development legal requirements. Michelle helps clients navigate these laws and regulations in the permitting of their land development and infrastructure projects.

Areas of Practice

  • Represents the Seminole Tribe of Florida as special environmental counsel, including land development, water rights and cultural resource issues.

  • 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 U.S. 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, Past Chair

  • American College of Environmental Lawyers, Member

  • Seminole Coconut Creek Education Foundation, Secretary and Board Member

  • American Bar Foundation, Fellow

  • United Way, Women's Leadership Council

  • Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County, Mayor's Ball Event Co-Chair, 2024

  • American Heart Association Southeast Region Go Red for Women Luncheon, Host Committee Member, 2024

  • City of West Palm Beach, Mayor’s Task Force for Racial and Ethnic Equality, Past Co-Chair

  • Leadership Florida, Cornerstone Class 33 (2014)

  • Leadership Palm Beach County, Class of 2000

  • Girls II Women, Inc., Past Chair

  • Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches, Past Chair, 2011-2012

  • The Florida Bar, Environmental and Land Use Law Section, Past Chair, 2007-2008

  • Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County

  • Executive Women of the Palm Beaches

  • Florida Association of Environmental Professionals

  • Palm Beach County Bar Association

  • Caribbean Bar Association

Awards and Recognitions

  • Martindale Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated

  • Best Lawyers in America, Environmental Law, Government Relations Practice, Land Use and Zoning Law, Natural Resources Law, 2021-present; Lawyer of the Year in Environmental Law, West Palm Beach, 2023

  • Florida Super Lawyers, Environmental Law; Natural Resources Law; Land Use/Zoning Law, 2010-present

  • South Florida Legal Guide, Top Lawyer in Environmental Law, 2016-present

  • Lawdragon, Leading U.S. Environmental Lawyer, 2023

  • Leadership Palm Beach County, Leadership Excellence Award Recipient, 2022

  • YWCA of Palm Beach County, Dorothy Height Racial Justice Award Nominee, 2022

  • Women in Leadership, Florida Trend Magazine, November 2021

  • The Florida Bar Environmental and Land Use Law Section, Bill Sadowski Memorial Outstanding Service Award, 2019

  • The Florida Commission on the Status of Women, Florida Achievement Award, 2016

  • 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

  • The International Who’s Who of Environmental Lawyers, 2009-2012; 2014-2015; 2019

  • Who’s Who Legal Florida: Environment, 2020, 2022 and 2023

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

  • The Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches ATHENA® Award, 2008

  • Palm Beach Illustrated Magazine Top Lawyer, Environmental Law, 2018-present; Natural Resources Law, 2018, 2021-present; Land Use and Zoning Law, 2022; Energy Law, 2018, 2020-2021




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

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