Abigail C. Watts-FitzGerald
Abi represents public and private clients across a broad range of industries and serves as outside general counsel to various for profit and nonprofit entities.
Her practice focuses on mergers, acquisitions and divestitures; corporations; partnerships, joint ventures and LLCs; tax-exempt organizations (both public charities and private foundations); sports and entertainment law and sponsorships; naming rights; closely-held corporations, shareholders agreements, employment agreements and restrictive covenants; intellectual property matters; and distribution and licensing agreements.
Abi was recently recognized for her 36 years of experience providing legal advice to nonprofit organizations and their boards of directors by Corporate America Legal Elite, being designated the Best for Nonprofit Entities in the State of Florida. She has also been recognized again in the 2016 edition of Florida Super Lawyers magazine in the areas of Business/Corporate, Nonprofit Organizations, Mergers & Acquisitions, which ranking is based on a multi-phased selection process that includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations, “Super Lawyers” identifies outstanding lawyers who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.
Over the years, Abi has represented a variety of nonprofit organizations and their boards as outside general counsel, such as The Orange Bowl Committee, Inc., Gulliver Schools, Inc., Norton Museum of Art, Inc., The Collins Center for Public Policy, Inc., the South Florida Golf Foundation, Inc., Hands on Miami, Inc., and Broward Bulldog, Inc.
- Represents for profit private pre-K through 12th grade schools and colleges in transitioning to a nonprofit status with the IRS and applicable accreditation agencies.
- Represents public and private clients in the acquisition and divestiture of companies in such diverse industries and fields as the cement industry, cruise industry, temporary staffing companies, telecommunications, theater chains, radio stations, newspapers, perfume manufacturers and distributors.
- Represents sports and entertainment clients such as The Orange Bowl Committee, Inc., assisting in all aspects of their business operations, including, without limitation, Title and other Sponsorships; Media and Broadcast Contracts (television and radio); Stadium and other venue Use Agreements; Team Agreements; Talent and other Entertainment Contracts; Hotel Agreements; Concessionaire Agreements; Licensing Agreements; Security Agreements; Naming Rights Agreements; Responding to Requests for Proposals to Host Olympic events; Governance Issues; Nonprofit Issues for the Nonprofit Sports Clients including avoidance of Unrelated Business Income Taxes and otherwise complying with IRS rules and regulations governing Nonprofit Sports Clients; Practice Site Facilities and Other Use Agreements.
- Represented national temporary staffing company in the acquisition of more than 30 temporary staffing businesses throughout the United States.
- Outside General Counsel to The Orange Bowl Committee, Inc. for over two decades, assisting in all aspects of the Discover Orange Bowl and BCS football games, basketball tournaments, junior tennis championships and other festival events.
- Represents private companies in connection with business succession planning to the next generation.
- Was lead counsel in the transition of Gulliver Schools, Inc. from a for profit to nonprofit corporation and continues to serve as outside counsel to Gulliver Schools, Inc.
- Represented Rinker Materials in the acquisition or divestiture of more than thirty (30) entities throughout the United States.
- Arnold & Porter, LLP
- Steel, Hector & Davis, LLP
- Hunton & Williams, LLP
- “Abigail Watts-FitzGerald: Building Lasting Relationships,” Featured as Distinguished Attorney in South Florida Legal Guide, 1/3/13
- “Legal People,” Daily Business Review, 5/14/12
- “People,” South Florida Business Journal, 5/11/12
Awards & Recognitions
- Recognized in the "Martindale Hubbell 2018 Judicial Edition," the highest possible rating by the Judiciary for both Legal Ability and Ethical Standards. It is the pinnacle of professional excellence attained through a strenuous peer and judicial review rating process that is managed and monitored by the world’s most trusted legal resource, Martindale-Hubbell.
- Recognized in Best Lawyers ® "Women in the Law" Business Edition, 2016, 2017
- Listed, The Best Lawyers in America®, Mergers and Acquisitions Law and Non-Profit/Charities Law, 2007-2019 every edition
- "Leader in the Field," Corporate/M&A & Private Equity, Florida, Chambers USA: Guide to America's Leading Lawyers for Business
- Named one of the top 25 "Most Influential Business Women," South Florida Business Journal
- Listed in "Best Attorneys in Florida," published in Best Lawyers and The Wall Street Journal
- Featured as a Distinguished Attorney, South Florida Legal Guide, 2013 edition
- Named, "Top Lawyer," Corporate and Business, Securities, South Florida Legal Guide, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2019
- Master of the Bench, American Inns of Court (Spellman-Hoeveler Chapter)
- Listed, "Florida Super Lawyer," Business/Corporate, Nonprofit Organizations, Mergers & Acquisitions, 2007-2008, 2015-2017
- Listed among "Top Attorneys," Super Lawyers, The Corporate Counsel Edition
- Listed as a Florida Legal Elite, Florida Trend magazine
- Ranked AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5*
*AV® Preeminent™ and BV® Distinguished™ are certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies.