By Libby Hopkins

Many people love the FishHawk community because of its small town appeal. The people of the community are close knit and look out for one another. These qualities are what prompted Michael Severe and Erin Medearis to open their law firm, Medearis and Severe, P.A. in the FishHawk community. “The FishHawk community has that kind of small town appeal to it and we thought it would be a great place to open up a firm and become part of the community,” Severe said. “Back in the day, you had a small town doctor and a small town lawyers and there is still a place for that nowadays.” With many big law offices shutting down, Severe feels that more and more people and companies are realizing that they can hire a smaller firm to represent them for less money.

Severe is originally from San Diego, CA and he knew at a young age that he wanted to be a lawyer. He attended Revelle College at the University of California in San Diego, where he graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and a minor in English Literature. Medearis grew up in St. Pete and is the daughter of a former bankruptcy attorney. She graduated from USF with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. They both met and studied law Barry University Law School in Orlando. They worked well together on many different class projects. Severe also had the opportunity to study law in Florence, Italy and Cayman Islands. While he was studying in Florence, he had the honor and meeting Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, John Roberts. “I got the chance to have some one on one time with him and it was a great opportunity,” Severe said.

After graduating from Barry University, Severe and Medearis were faced with the decision to either find a job at a local firm or venture out and open up their own firm. They chose the latter of the two. “We didn’t want to work as an associate at a firm for a modest starting pay and never see our families again, so we decided to strike out on our own and try to do something a little more personal,” Severe said.

Being part of the FishHawk community is very important to Severe and Medearis and they want the community to know that they are here and ready to help. “We plan on getting involved with some of the youth activities in the area,” Severe said. “We also want to give back to the community by hosting free legal seminars.” For more information, visit or call 600-3772. Their office is located at 5963 Beaconpark St. in Lithia.


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Libby Hopkins has been a part of the Brandon community for more than 30 years. She is a graduate of USF with a degree in journalism. She has been a freelance writer for The Osprey Observer Newspaper since 2008. She also the Executive Director of Center Place Fine Arts and Civic Association. She is a dog mom to her rescue dog, Marshall. She loves being a part of the Brandon Community and she loves sharing positive news about our community.