Dale Swope

Dale Swope is managing partner of Swope, Rodante P.A. which is the development of the solo firm practice he founded six months out of law school, in 1979.

Mr. Swope is a Tampa native, and a graduate of Hillsborough High School, the University of South Florida, and the University of Florida Law School. The firm’s most senior lawyer, Mr. Swope has received virtually every professional recognition available to lawyers who practice in his field.

He has an AV rating (the highest possible) by Martindale-Hubbell, the oldest reviewing agency in the country. He has a ‘Superb’ rating (the highest possible) by AVVO.com, that is probably the newest rating agency in the country.

He has been designated as a ‘Super Lawyer’ by Super Lawyers Magazine. He is also listed in ‘Best Lawyers in America,’ ‘Who’s Who in the South’ and ‘Who’s Who in American law.’

For more than a dozen years he has been Board Certified as a Civil Trial Specialist and was previously also Board Certified as a Business Litigation Specialist. These certifications are considered the most substantive credentialing of attorneys, since admission actually requires taking a substantial test and serious peer review by lawyers and judges familiar with the lawyer’s work.

He was the original incorporator of the Tampa Bay Trial Lawyers Association and the first of two partners in the firm (along with Angela Rodante) who have been elected as president of that organization. He has been a director of the Florida Justice Association and currently serves on its Executive Committee as President Elect for 2016.

American Board of Trial Advocates is an organization that requires actual trial experience and peer approval for admission, and he has been a member for more than a decade. Recently, Mr. Swope was elected to be a member in the prestigious American Law Institute.

But while the recognition of these prestigious organizations is flattering, Mr. Swope will quickly tell you that none of these ‘credentials’ mean a thing compared to a simple ‘thanks’ from a client or family that has been helped by the law firm.

Professional Distinctions

  • President-Elect, Florida Justice Association
    Currently the President-Elect of the Florida Justice Association, and on track through the offices to become President of that Association.
  • Board Certified by the Florida Bar as a Civil Trial (1992) and Business Litigation Specialist (1995-2005)
    A certification requiring a favorable showing of actual trial experience, positive reports from other lawyers and judges familiar with his abilities, and requiring the successful completion of a comprehensive examination testing knowledge of civil trial law. Certification also requires continuing legal education specifically in this field, significantly more than what is required of all lawyers.
  • Listed in Martindale-Hubbell with an AV rating
    Martindale-Hubbell does not make an independent evaluation of lawyers but relies exclusively on confidential opinions expressed by sampling selected members of the Bar and judiciary familiar with the lawyer.
  • Top 100 Civil Plaintiff Trial Lawyers, The National Trial Lawyers, 2016
  • Recipient of the EAGLE Centurion Award , Florida Justice Association, 2016
    Recognizes an exceptionally generous lifetime individual contribution to the FJA EAGLE Program.
  • Recipient of the “Churchill Award”, Florida Justice Association, 2015
    For relentless commitment, perseverance, and fortitude to seek justice and achieve success at the FJA.
  • Top Rated Lawyer in Insurance Law, Martindale Hubbell and American Lawyer Media, 2013
  • Member, Super Lawyers Blue Ribbon Panel, 2013
    Selected members of the panel help evaluate the nominees for 2013 Florida Super Lawyers.
  • Member, Federal Bar Association, 2012
    The Federal Bar Association works to strengthen the federal legal system and administration of justice by serving the interests and the needs of public and private federal practitioners, the federal judiciary and the public.
  • Member, American Law Institute, 2010-Present
    The prestigious organization is comprised of lawyers, judges and law professors around the country who work to have a positive impact on cutting edge legal issues.
  • Super Lawyer, Super Lawyers magazine, 2006-Present
    Only 5% of Florida lawyers are recognized with this distinction based on peer evaluation and third party research.
  • “Legal Leader” in Florida Trend’s  Florida Legal Elite, 2004-2008, 2010-2011, 2014, 2016
    Honorees are nominated by fellow attorneys who were asked to select lawyers whom they hold in the highest regard.
  • Rough Rider & Teddy Roosevelt Award, Florida Justice Association, 2011
    The organization recognized his efforts to preserve the civil justice system during the 2011 Legislative Session.
  • S. Victor Tipton Award, Florida Justice Association, 2010
    A distinction earned in recognition of superior achievement in legal writing.
  • Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers, 2008-Present
    The publication depends on rigorous peer reviews from over four million top attorneys in the nation.
  • EAGLE Hall of Fame, Florida Justice Association
    Inducted for his commitment to protect Florida’s civil justice system through outstanding lifetime contributions.
  • Founder and initial Chairman of the Hillsborough County Solo Practitioners Committee, 1991-1992
    The committee supports and guides solo practitioners as they develop the skills necessary to effectively practice law.
  • Member of the Board of Directors of the Hillsborough County Young Lawyers Section, 1988-1989
    The division helps new attorneys of diverse backgrounds develop important leadership skills.
  • Bronze, Silver and Crystal EAGLE Awards, Florida Justice Association
    A distinction earned for an unwavering passion and purpose lying behind a commitment to justice.
  • Mickey Smiley Award for Mentorship, Florida Justice Association Young Lawyers section
    An award which recognizes FJA members for their dedication to helping young attorneys improve their legal skills.
  • Recipient of the Hillsborough County Bar Association’s Outstanding Young Lawyer Award, Hillsborough County Bar Association
    Recognition for significant accomplishments achieved during the Bar year.

Community Distinctions

  • Vicente Martinez-Ybor Award, Ybor City Museum Society
    A distinction earned for efforts to create a diverse community through social commitment and personal enterprise.
  • Champion for Children Award, Voices for Children, a Guardian Ad Litem program, 2005
    Voices for Children is a non-profit organization which works to provide volunteer guardians the financial means necessary for Guardian ad Litem to continue to help children in need.

Community Involvement

  • Hillsborough High School Football Trust (Chair, 2008-Present)- Prior to this trust, the Hillsborough High School football team was forced to compete with much better funded schools.
  • Ybor City Museum Society (President, 2007-2008)- An enthusiast for Ybor City’s rich history, Mr. Swope works with the museum to preserve, promote and celebrate the city’s heritage.
  • Save Tampa History LLC (President and Founder, 2005-Present)- This organization renovates old casitas in the area and leases them out to responsible families in need. Ultimately, this is done in the effort to bring families back to the city and provide them with proper housing.
  • Tre Amici @ The Bunker (Owner, 2004-Present) – In 2004, Dale and Joseph Kokolakis decided to restore The Bunker building. Two years later, Mr. Swope and Ms. Rodante opened a café where friends gather for meaningful conversations and great coffee. Serving coffee, beer, wine and food, Tre Amici @ The Bunker regularly hosts art exhibits and musical events.

Publications

  • Author of “Tips for the Auto Practitioner,” a monthly column Journal of the Florida Justice Association
  • Co-author with Shea Moxon and Celene Humphries, “Bad Faith Claims,” the Florida Medical Malpractice Handbook (2nd Edition), Florida Bar CLE Manual (2009)
  • Co-author with Shea Moxon and Celene Humphries, “Bad Faith Claims,” The Florida Medical Malpractice Handbook (1st Edition), Florida Bar CLE Manual (2006)
  • Co-author with Shea Moxon and Celene Humphries, “Practice and Procedure in Handling an Automobile Case,” Florida Automobile Insurance Law (6th Edition), Florida Bar CLE Manual (2005)

Presentations

  • “Irony of Preparing for Trials,” Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division 2016 Basic Trial Practice (December, 2016)
  • “CRN Missteps That Kill Bad Faith Cases,” Florida Justice Association 2016 Drafting Civil Remedies Webinar (October, 2016)
  • “How the Courts have Turned the Keys to the Courthouse into a Massive Malpractice Exposure,” Florida Justice Association 2016 Proposals for Settlement Webinar (October, 2016)
  • “Closing Statements from the Plaintiff’s Perspective,” Hillsborough County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division 2016 State Court Trial Seminar (June, 2016)
  • “Voir Dire from a Civil Perspective,” Hillsborough County Bar Association 2016 Jury Selection CLE (March, 2016)
  • “Preparing for Trial – The Final Countdown,” Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division 2015 Basic Trial Practice Trial Prep Seminar (November, 2015) “Zen and the Art of Section 768.79, 14 Years Later,” Florida Justice Association 2015 Proposals for Settlement Webinar (October, 2015)
  • “Insurance Bad Faith Actions from Medical Malpractice Cases,” Florida Justice Association Titans of Trial Medical Mal Practice Seminar (October, 2015)
  • Al J. Cone Trial Seminar for the Florida Justice Association (August, 2015)
  • “Insurance Bad Faith” Florida Justice Association 2015 Annual Convention (June, 2015)
  • “Closing Argument,” Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division 2015 Basic Trial Practice Seminar (February, 2015)
  • “Discovery in a Dawning Digital Age,” Florida Justice Association 2015 Workhorse Seminar (February, 2015)
  • “Uninsured Motorist Bad Faith,” Honey Badger Presentation on Bad Faith 2015 (January, 2015)
  • “Uninsured Motorist Bad Faith,” Florida Justice Association 2014 Workhorse Seminar (February, 2014)
  • “Closing Arguments,” Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division 2013 Basic Trial Practice Seminar (October, 2013)
  • “The Current Standard for Bad Faith Failure to Settle Under Florida Law as Applied in State versus Federal Court,” Florida Justice Association 2013 Masters of Justice Seminar (September, 2013)
  • “Closing Statements from the Plaintiff’s Perspective,” Hillsborough County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division 2013 State Court Trial Seminar (June, 2013)
  • “Living with the New De Facto Changes for Bad Faith in Federal Court,” Florida Justice Association’s Annual Convention Advanced Trial Skills Seminar (June, 2012)
  • “Opening Statements,” Hillsborough County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division 2011 State Court Trial Seminar (June, 2011)
  • “The Strategies, Techniques and Pitfalls of Cases Involving a Liability Carrier’s Bad Faith Claims Handling,” Florida Justice Association 2009 Insurance Seminar (November, 2009)
  • “Strategies to Beat Insurance Company Conduct of Deny, Delay and Don’t Pay: A Review of Recent Caselaw,” Florida Justice Association 2009 Automobile Negligence Seminar (September, 2009)
  • “The X Files: What Insurance Companies Don’t Want You to Know about Bad Faith,” Florida Justice Association 2008 Masters of Justice Seminar (December, 2008)
  • “More than a Slingshot: First and Third Party Bad Faith – Taking Aim at Goliath: Conquering the Insurance Giants,” Florida Justice Association 2008 Insurance Seminar (October, 2008)
  • “Identifying and Preserving the Third Party Bad Faith Claim,” Georgia Trial Lawyers Association (September, 2008)
  • “Automotive Law Legislative Changes and Case Law Update” Seminar, Speaker at the Florida Justice Association Conference (June, 2007)
  • “Nuts and Bolts of a Bad Faith Case,” Speaker at Insurance Bad Faith Seminar for Florida Justice Association (March, 2007)
  • “New Approached to Damages,” Speaker at Association of Trial Lawyers of America Conference (February, 2007)
  • “Bad Faith: Getting to the Heart of the Matter at Mediation” Speaker at Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers Seminar (December, 2006)
  • “Tips for Proving the Bad Faith Case,” Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers Seminar Presentation (September, 2006)
  • Al J. Cone Trial Seminar for the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers (August, 2006)
  • Hillsborough County Bar Association State Court Trial Seminar (June, 2006)
  • FDLA Conference Seminar Presentation (June, 2006)
  • Medical Malpractice Seminar for Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers Conference (April, 2006)
  • “The Seven Cardinal Sins Committed by Trial Lawyers” Speaker at Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers Seminar (February, 2006)
  • “The Beginning of an Insurance Bad Faith Case,” 2005 Annual Education Seminar sponsored by Tampa Bay Paralegal Association (September, 2005)
  • “Keeping Faith in Bad Faith – Berges v. Infinity Insurance Co.,” 2005 Annual Convention – General Session: Advanced Trial Skills Seminar (June, 2005)