Drew Hudgins’ love affair with Pasco County began 38 years ago when the Tampa native and his wife, Kerri, bought a weekend getaway on Lake Linda in what they called “Land O’ Lutz, Florida.”
“I had just started my career at a fast-paced law firm in downtown Tampa, often working 70-hour weeks,” Hudgins recalls. “We needed, and loved, our little lake place getaway, and began spending more and more time in Pasco. So, when we decided to open our own practice, we knew Pasco was where we wanted to be.”
That was in 1985, when there was little between Land O’ Lakes and east Pasco except citrus groves and pastureland. “Back then we could drive from Land O’ Lakes to Zephyrhills in just 20 minutes, with only one stoplight in between,” Hudgins laughs.
The couple settled on downtown Zephyrhills as the location for their new law practice, after they found an office on Eighth Street for just $350 a month that came with a one-page lease, compared to Tampa office leases of 40 pages or more. Success quickly followed.
He was able to purchase the building two years later, and since then has added two adjacent buildings that today total over 8,000 square feet for his clients’ comfort, and nine full-time employees.
Hudgins quickly learned that there was a tremendous need for legal services in Pasco County, which in 1985 had fewer than 100 practicing attorneys, compared to 7,000 in Hillsborough County.
Most Pasco attorneys back then did a little bit of everything. After graduating from law school in 1981 from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, Hudgins came back home to Tampa and worked for a firm that specialized in personal injury and took that experience with him when he opened his new practice in Zephyrhills.
“Most of my early clients came from referrals from other attorneys who did not do personal injury, and in return, I referred my clients that needed other legal services to other local attorneys,” said Hudgins. “I’m proud that today I continue to have great working relationships with my legal colleagues.”
It’s been 35 years since Hudgins Law Firm opened its doors in beautiful downtown Zephyrhills, and it ties to the community run deep. Proudly displayed in the office are pictures, plaques and certificates of community organizations the firm has supported through the years, including Little League team photos, and recognition for its participation in Christmas decoration contests and community parades.
No Upfront Fee
Hudgins Law Firm takes cases under a contingency fee agreement — meaning no payment is required upfront, because the firm gets paid a percentage of the recovery only, if and when a client receives a successful financial recovery. If there is no recovery, there is no fee. The contingent fee is often called the poor man’s key to the Courthouse.
“The vast majority of our clients are great, loyal, hard-working and family-oriented people. Most cannot afford the $300 or more hourly rate that other attorneys charge. Over time, our clients become family and we love fighting for them,” said Hudgins.
“It’s very rewarding to help people who don’t have the means to pay for legal assistance up front. We always welcome folks to call or come by the office to see if we can help them, and make sure when they do that, they don’t feel intimidated,” he adds.
Long before Google had reviews, Hudgins Law Firm was receiving testimonials from people it helped – oftentimes from second and third generations of families.
“Nothing makes me prouder than when a former client comes up to me at the grocery store or Walmart to thank me for fighting for them, and for being their attorney,” said Hudgins.
Hudgins has had many opportunities to double or triple the size of his firm over the years, but he believes bigger is not always better. “We’ve chosen to keep our firm small with just a handful of long-time employees,” he said. “We are truly a small family business.”
In addition to his wife, Kerri, who has been the office manager for 35 years, other team members include case manager Tammy Phinney (34 years), case manager Linda Hines (27 years), trial attorney Ken Minio (26 years), accountant Jana Tombrink (20 years), case manager Tammara Wentworth (15 years) and case manager Samantha O’Berry (14 years).
“All of our staff are caring, committed employees who work exceptionally hard for our clients,” said Hudgins. “My staff works as a team —we have four case managers that clients are assigned to — but every one of us is aware of every case we have and support each other. This means our clients are never left waiting for answers to their questions.”
Hudgins’ law partner for 26 years is Ken Minio, whom Hudgins describes as a tenacious advocate.
“Ken is just what clients need when battling for their settlements in court or in negotiations. He fights harder, and smarter, than any attorney I have ever known,” said Hudgins.
Besides his law firm, Hudgins is most proud of his son, Maximilian, who is a junior at Auburn University in Alabama, the alma mater of both of his parents.
“Having a son was the best thing we ever did,” said Hudgins.
Like his father and grandfather, Max is an Eagle Scout, and Hudgins spent many years in local scout leadership.
“I am incredibly proud that my father, George Hudgins, who is an unbelievable 96-year-old WWII and Korean War veteran, myself and Max are all Eagle Scouts. Less than 1% of scouting families can claim this third generation Eagle legacy, and we are so proud to be among them,” said Hudgins.
Hudgins has spent 35 years fighting for his clients and welcomes you to call his office to set up an appointment to see if his firm can help you. “One of the most important decisions you could ever make is to call Hudgins Law Firm. We hope you do, so we can help you and your family get what you deserve if you are the unfortunate victim of an accident.
Hudgins Law Firm
38543 Fifth Ave., Zephyrhills, FL
Office phone (813) 788-5534
Drew’s cell (813) 714-2018