Former Third District Court of Appeal Judge Linda Ann Wells served on the Third District Court of Appeal for 14 years and has been a Florida Bar board-certified appellate specialist for over 20 years.
Upon graduating with honors from law school, Linda joined a well-established Miami law firm, where she would become both one of the firm’s first female partners and its principal appellate practitioner. She further refined her appellate skills as a partner at a major Florida law firm and, subsequently, at a firm dedicated to appellate practice, where she remained until becoming the Chief District Legal Counsel for the Miami District of the Florida Department of Children & Families.
In recognition of her appellate expertise, Governor Bush appointed Linda in 2003 to the Third District Court of Appeal, where she would go on to become the court’s first female Chief Judge.
During her judicial tenure, Judge Wells served as President of the Florida Conference of District Court of Appeal Judges, and as a member of The Florida Supreme Court Committee on Standard Jury Instructions in Civil Cases; the Florida Supreme Court Select Committee on Justice Teaching; and the Education Committee of Florida Conference of District Court of Appeal Judges. Additionally, Judge Wells served on the Florida Bar Family Law Section Rules Committee; the Bar’s Appellate Practice Section’s Rules Liaison Committee; and the Alumni Board of Directors for the Florida State University College of Law.
Linda has been a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation since 1998 and a member of the Dade County Bar Association since 1977—serving terms on both the board of directors and the executive committee (1996-1997). From 1991 through 2003, she was an Adjunct Professor of Law at St. Thomas University Law School. She has also been AV-rated by Martindale Hubbell for over 20 years.
In addition to Linda's expertise as an appellate specialist, and her credibility when it comes to the firm’s trial support work, Linda assists trial lawyers and their clients in four key ways:
First, Linda provides first-hand insight into the manner in which a recent member of a district court of appeal views the issues and arguments raised by opposing parties. Her insight helps us respond to opposing arguments when we draft answer briefs and reply briefs.
Second, Linda provides us a unique means to prepare for oral arguments: with her as part of the firm, we are able to better anticipate the issues and arguments most likely to be of concern to appellate judges.
Third, because of her court-side experience with the appellate process, the firm offers Linda's services as a consultant to other firms handling their own appeals when we are not representing the client as appellate counsel. These services include consultation on briefing and live moot court services.Fourth, Linda provides the firm with a judicial perspective on how to reverse adverse judgments, with insight into the best way to focus the initial brief on the most critical issues for appeal with clarity and acute awareness of what appellate judges find persuasive.