Marianne R. Howanitz
The youngest of eight children, I was raised in Ft. Lauderdale and am a native Floridian. I’ve always had a strong work ethic and put myself through school, earning a double Bachelor’s degree in Finance and International Business from Florida International University, graduating cum laude. I earned my law degree from Florida State University College of Law in 1991, and am licensed to practice in both state and federal courts.
I always knew I wanted to be a plaintiff’s lawyer because I like helping victims and have always had a passion for fighting for the underdog. At the beginning of my legal career I interned at the State Attorney’s office. This is where I fell in love with the jury trial system. I found that if evidence was properly secured, presented to the jury and subjected to cross-examination, the truth would come out. And in most instances, the jury would get it right and make the correct decision.
After graduation from law school I worked as an Assistant Public Defender. Many people ask how I could defend the criminally accused. It was my honor to do so. In this country, a person is innocent until proven guilty and if the government brings criminal charges and is threatening to strip you of your liberty, it was my job, not to “get the Defendant off”, but to make sure the State gave the accused a fair trial. While at the Public Defender’s Office I was assigned to the domestic violence unit. This is where I learned about the plight of victims and the devastating effect violence and trauma had on their lives and the lack of resources to help victims. I decided then and there that was what I wanted to do with my life; to represent victims and their families and help them obtain the resources to heal and hope for a better life.
As part of my journey to become an accident victim’s lawyer, I realized that in order to serve my clients better, I needed to learn exactly how insurance companies processed and evaluated claims. It was for this reason that I went to work with one of the nation’s largest insurance companies as in-house trial counsel. I was assigned to and litigated all types of claims under all lines of policies, including homeowner’s, commercial, automobile, and uninsured motorist policies. This experience taught me first-hand how insurance companies evaluate cases and the factors they consider in deciding whether to resolve claims or to litigate them.
I have practiced exclusively in north and central Florida since 2003. I have deliberately limited my practice of law to personal injury and wrongful death cases.
As a wife, mother of twin boys, businesswoman and horsewoman, I’ve learned to manage my time well and find that my tenacity and competitive nature serve me well in my chosen profession. My clients find me accessible, caring and compassionate, but also aggressive on their behalf. One of my clients gave me a statue of a pit bull with a halo and wings; I took that as a grand compliment. It represents my passion for victims’ rights and working on their behalf is what drives me.