Jack Fernandez decided to go to law school after having studied at the U.S. Naval Academy and after serving in the Navy for eight years, four of them as an F-14 fighter pilot aboard the USS Independence. He was at sea during much of his time in the service, and this kept him from his two young children. Work as a commercial airline pilot didn’t interest him, and when his father suggested law school, it just made sense.

“It’s been a lot more fun than being an airline pilot,” says Fernandez. “All my buddies who became airline pilots seem bored. I have never been bored in this profession.”

Fernandez served as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida for six years in the 1990s and was one of five prosecutors selected to start the office’s Health Care Fraud Task Force. He remembers the field at that time as a “sort of avant-garde area” where attorneys, working with few established court precedents, played a large role in shaping the new field. Now, a partner with Zuckerman Spaeder since 2002, Fernandez says he’s found the defense side of health care litigation no less interesting.

“It’s a complicated area grounded in policy,” he says. “As you’re making arguments and doing pleadings, it still surprises me how often you run into novel issues that nobody has really confronted before.”

Fernandez is full of warmth and generosity for his family and friends, including colleagues at his firm and in his field who he credits with many of his professional successes.

“To be good at this work, you have to have a good team, and the men and women at our firm are spectacular. You also have to acknowledge what you don’t know when you don’t know it. There is a whole network of great health care lawyers who I frequently rely on—some in our firm, some outside our firm—and if I’m good at what I do, it’s because I know that you have to be constantly learning if you want to continue to deliver the best service to your clients.”

Fernandez has been recognized in Best Lawyers since 2007, for commercial litigation, health care litigation, and white-collar criminal defense.