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About Michael Brownlee

Appeals and trial-level proceedings are completely different.  There are different rules—either the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure or the Federal Rules of Appellate procedure apply to all appeals. The audience is different—most appeals in state and federal appellate courts are decided by three judge panels, not juries or individual judges.  And the ultimate goal for the appellate advocate (persuading through clear writing and sound legal argument) is a far cry from the goal of a trial lawyer (using direct and cross-examination to elicit testimony from witnesses that appeals to the jury’s sense of fairness and justice).   As a result, if your case is on appeal, you need an attorney who understands the appeals process intimately and has a track record of achieving success for his clients.

Michael Brownlee is that attorney.  He is board-certified as an appellate specialist by the Florida Bar, and he has the knowledge and experience to guide you through the appellate process. Here is a little bit more about appellate attorney Michael Brownlee.

Dedicated to the Appeals Process

Michael Brownlee found his enthusiasm for appeals in law school. During the summer of his second year in law school, he interned at The Public Interest Law Center at Florida State’s College of Law. While there, he handled an appeal which sparked a passion for this particular branch of law.  He also clerked for Judge Edwin Browning at the First District Court of Appeal during law school as part of an externship program.  Michael went on to earn his J.D. from Florida State University, graduating cum laude in 2009. Based on his performance in law school, Mr. Brownlee was inducted into the Order of the Coif.

After graduating from law school, he joined Fisher Rushmer, P.A., an award-winning Florida law firm, and assisted with appellate cases. He then spent three years with a boutique law firm that focused entirely on appellate litigation before returning to Fisher Rushmer in an of-counsel role to handle the firm’s appeals.  In 2017, Michael started The Brownlee Law Firm. 

During his career as an appeal lawyer, Michael Brownlee has performed oral arguments in multiple appellate courts, including the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans, the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta, the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, and the First Circuit in Boston. He has also appeared before the Third, Fourth, Eight, and Ninth Circuits, the Federal Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court.  Michael won a case before the Florida Supreme Court in 2016, and has won other appeals throughout Florida’s district courts of appeal. 

Michael Brownlee is currently admitted to all courts of appeal in Florida and all but two of the federal courts of appeal, making him uniquely qualified to handle your case no matter your geographic location. 

Mr. Brownlee is married to the Honorable Paetra Brownlee. Judge Brownlee was a partner at The Brownlee Law Firm until she was appointed to the Circuit Court bench in May of 2020. In July of 2023, Judge Brownlee was elevated to Florida's Sixth District Court of Appeal, where she currently presides.

Florida Board Certified Specialist in Appellate Practice

Michael Brownlee is a member of the Appellate Practice section of the Florida Bar. He is also on the Orange County Bar Association’s Appellate Practice Committee and is Board Certified by the state of Florida for appellate work.

This particular distinction is one that only 7 percent of attorneys in Florida can claim in any practice area, and in appeals it is even more rare.

Gaining Florida Board Certified Specialist in Appellate Practice status means that Attorney Michael Brownlee has proven his extensive knowledge of the appeals process through a rigorous testing process.

Honors and Awards

In addition to his board certification, Michael Brownlee is highly rated among his peers.  He is rated AV Preeminent and Client Champion 2017-2023 by Martindale-Hubbell, Client Champion Platinum 2022 - 2023 by Martindale-Hubbell, and was chosen as a Super Lawyers in Appellate Law in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023.


Presenter – “Advanced Writing: Do’s, Don’ts, and Maybe’s,” Advanced Legal Drafting: How to Get the “Write” Result and Best Position Your Client to be the Appellee, The Florida Bar CLE (February 19, 2015) (co-presented with The Honorable James Edwards of Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal)
Presenter – Basic Overview of the Criminal Appellate Process in Florida, The Florida Bar CLE (March 24, 2015)
Moderator – Judicial Philosophy Panel - Orange County Bar Association, 2016 Bench-Bar Conference (Panelists: The Honorable Dorian K. Damoorgian, The Honorable Samuel J. Salario, Jr., The Honorable Richard B. Orfinger), The Florida Bar CLE (April 15, 2016).
Presenter – “Important Distinctions Between State and Federal Court in Criminal Cases,” Federal Traps for State Court Practitioners: What You Need to Know About the Differences Between State and Federal Court, The Florida Bar CLE (February 2, 2017) (co-presented with The Honorable John Antoon, II and William Ponall, Esq.)
Presenter – “Appealing to a Higher Power: Do’s, Don’ts, and Maybe’s,” Christian Legal Society National Conference (October 12, 2018).
Speaker – Practicing in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Orange County Bar Association (Co-speaker: The Honorable John Antoon II), The Florida Bar CLE (November 16, 2018).
Moderator – Panel Discussion with Circuit Judges of the Ninth Judicial Circuit - Orange County Bar Association, Criminal Appeals and Post-Conviction Relief in 2019 (Panelists: The Honorable Dan Traver, The Honorable Leticia Marques, The Honorable Heather Higbee), The Florida Bar CLE (March 13, 2019).


In 2023, Mr. Brownlee was nominated and approved by Florida's Supreme Court to be a member of the Civil Jury Instruction Committee.

Contact Michael Brownlee

Your appeal is likely your last chance to preserve a hard-fought victory, or to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.