Since 1994, Michelle Diffenderfer has worked as a full-time attorney, starting her legal career at Lewis, Longman & Walker, P.A., located in West Palm Beach, Florida, after graduating from the University of Miami, School of Law. At the firm, Diffenderfer currently acts as the president and shareholder, having also served as the former Chair of the American Bar Association's Section of Environment, Energy and Resources.
Garnering nearly 30 years of legal experience, Diffenderfer primarily dedicates her time to the practice area of environmental law, guiding local landowners, businesses and government organizations to make sound legal decisions that work towards the preservation of the natural world and its resources. Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® since 2021 for her work in Government Relations, Diffenderfer is currently being recognized as “Lawyer of the Year” for Environmental Law in West Palm Beach for 2023.
When asked about her award, Diffenderfer stated: “I recently concluded my one-year term as Chair of the American Bar Association's Section of Environment, Energy and Resources. I am proud of what we accomplished over the past year, despite the continuing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. I oversaw the Section's priorities such as educational programs, substantive committees, publications, conferences and activities. The issues we work on effect everyone’s way of life, and I take that very seriously. The environmental world is still fairly small, and the people working in it are fabulous and a pleasure to work with, connections that have surely contributed to my continued success and current recognition.”
In 2020, Diffenderfer was appointed by West Palm Beach Mayor Keith A. James to co-chair the city’s Task Force for Racial and Ethnic Equality. In total, the task force was comprised of roughly 30 community leaders and officials, all with one common goal: to identify, research and educate the public on existing issues of racial and ethnic inequity. Additionally, Diffenderfer has been a career-long member of both the Palm Beach County Bar Association and the Florida Association of Environmental Professionals.
“The work we do matters. As a lawyer working in this sector, you want to make sure you do it very well. Good listening and writing skills are a must, having the ability to explain options both clearly and concisely to clients from a legal and business perspective can make all the difference in a case. In the legal industry, being one part of a larger team is a collaborative effort, having the ability to work well with others only improves your team’s effectiveness to get things done for the client.”