Joel Hyatt, an associate in our Fort Myers office, is a man in motion as a father of three young children with a busy practice that focuses on business, construction and real estate litigation. Joel started with Hahn Loeser in 2012 as the first summer associate in Florida and has been an integral part of the Firm ever since.
From Philadelphia to Southwest Florida
Joel was born and raised in Philadelphia. During his senior year at Penn State, he answered an ad to “Teach at the Beach.” After he graduated with an English degree in 2004, he adventurously moved to southwest Florida to teach high school English and coach basketball in northern Collier County with a population made up of many migrant workers. Although not a certified teacher, Joel aced the subject test for accreditation and immensely enjoyed his five years as an educator and coach. Since his move to Florida, he has never looked back and is proud to say he has not scraped ice off a windshield in 15 years!
Love of Learning Leads to Career in Law
Ready for a new challenge and wanting to build on his love of learning, Joel set his sights on law school. He attended the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he graduated cum laude in 2013. His natural curiosity and joy of problem solving has made practicing law a great fit.
Every Day Serving Clients is an Adventure
He serves a full range of national and local clients, navigating through all manners of legal issues, including breach of contract, construction liens, foreclosures, replevin and covenant disputes. Those who work with Joel know he is a tenacious advocate when it comes to resolving issues for clients.
Joel’s days go by at a breakneck speed, and he’s never afraid to roll up his sleeves in his service to the Firm. One day, Joel was representing a condo association in a construction defect case. He explained, “I participated in a leak test on a roof on a 92-degree day and did not realize that it would be a ‘dirty job.’ I ended up covered in water, rotten insulation and mold. With no time to change, I attended a telephonic hearing with one of our Cleveland partners from a coffee shop parking lot for another client.” Joel enjoys his jam-packed days because every one of his days at the Firm is an adventure.
Continuing His Love of Continuous Learning at Hahn Loeser
Joel describes Hahn Loeser as “a great opportunity to practice law with outstanding lawyers in a firm with a national presence. Everything you learn in law school exists in a vacuum. The only way you really learn to practice law is to do it for years and years. I am continually learning from, in awe of, and inspired by my colleagues.” For example, “[Fort Myers partner]Ted Tripp is a legendary litigator in Southwest Florida, and has been for more than 40 years. I wouldn’t be the lawyer I am today if it were not for the mentoring of great lawyers like Ted,” Joel added.
Interestingly, Joel shared that when he started with Hahn Loeser, the Firm’s Fort Myers Office was located in a historic house. “My office was the butler’s pantry, which I shared with a copy machine. I remember a co-worker standing on top of a desk screaming as a snake slithered past. Now we have some of the nicest offices in downtown Fort Myers. It has been a pleasure to grow with the firm in Southwest Florida.”
Dedicated to Community Service
Outside of work, Joel feels called to give back to the community and his roots in education and the importance of literacy have shaped his efforts. Over the years, he has volunteered for the Boys & Girls Club of Collier County, served on the board of the Literacy Council Gulf Coast, has been President of the Young Lawyers Division of the Lee County Bar Association and has been a member of the twentieth Judicial Circuit Court Pro Bono Committee. Joel’s efforts have not gone unnoticed, and he has been designated by Florida Super Lawyers® as a Rising Star® for the past five years.
Zone Defense Keeps Joel on the Move
With three children, Joel and his wife love the year-round warm climate and have enjoyed exploring many of the great beaches, zoos and museums that Southwest Florida has to offer. Looking back, Joel is pleased that he traded in his snow shovel for sunscreen. He is appreciative of his full and hectic life and would not have it any other way.