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John H. Pelzer


John H. Pelzer is Board Certified by The Florida Bar as a specialist in Appellate Law, a select credential earned by experience, examination, enhanced continuing education and peer review by judges and lawyers in the field. He handles appeals on all substantive law subject matters.

Appellate practice involves the skills of mastering a static record, capitalizing on or avoiding the weaknesses of judicial decisions, identifying the issues most likely to serve the client’s purposes, researching and analogizing pertinent precedent, applying standards of review, and then expressing the result in a cogent written brief that makes the desired result appear obvious from the outset. This can also involve oral advocacy in an unscripted and unpredictable format, wherein each position, point or argument is tested and explored by three or more intelligent and well-prepared judges. During and before trial, appellate practice requires proper preservation of the record so that the case is not lost before it is begun. These skills are very different from the skills of a trial lawyer, just as a jury of laypersons is completely different from a panel of judges.

Mr. Pelzer has mastered these skills over the course of more than thirty (30) years devoted to appellate practice. As a young attorney, Mr. Pelzer participated as lead counsel or assisting counsel in both jury and non-jury trials, and the litigation leading up to them, thus gaining valuable insight into the experience of being a trial lawyer, and how it can affect the appellate process.

Over his years as an appellate practitioner, Mr. Pelzer has successfully handled cases in virtually all substantive areas of the law in every Florida appellate court and most federal appellate courts. As a member of a large, diverse, full-service law firm throughout his career, Mr. Pelzer has handled cases for the highest level practitioners in all their fields, and has the ability to draw on that expertise whenever necessary. For example, Mr. Pelzer has experienced handling appeals in administrative law, real estate, bankruptcy, banking, constitutional law, construction, contracts, family law, insurance, land use, patent, personal injury and probate.

Mr. Pelzer has been professionally involved with The Florida Bar in areas affecting appellate practice, having served on the Appellate Court Rules Committee and the Appellate Practice Certification Committee, including a stint as Chair.

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida
  • U.S. Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, Third, Seventh, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Federal and District of Columbia Circuits
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Bar Admissions

  • Florida


  • J.D., Tulane University School of Law, cum laude, 1983
  • B.A., Stetson University, cum laude, 1980

Professional and Community Involvement

  • The Florida Bar, Member
    • Appellate Rules Committee, Member
    • Appellate Practice Certification Committee,Vice Chair
      • Former Chairman
    • Board of Legal Specialization & Education, Member
      • Chair, 2013-2015


  • U.S. News & World Report, “Best Lawyers in America,” Appellate, 2008-2024
  • Benchmark Litigation, Florida “Litigation Star,” 2019-2024
  • Fort Lauderdale Illustrated, “Top Lawyers” 2021 & 2022
  • Martindale-Hubbell, Rated AV Preeminent®
  • U.S. News & World Report, Best Lawyers in America “Lawyer of the Year,” Appellate, 2022
  • Super Lawyers magazine, Florida “Super Lawyers,” Appellate, 2006-2017, 2019-2020
  • Top Lawyers, South Florida Legal Guide, 2014-2015
  • Super Lawyers magazine, Super Lawyers Business Edition, Appellate, 2014, 2018
  • The American Lawyer magazine, “Top Rated Lawyers,” 2012
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