My name is Mike Mastry. I’m an accomplished woodworker and a third generation fisherman who grew up on the waters of Florida’s Gulf Coast. I’m also a passionate and dedicated lawyer with a unique combination of practice areas: Estate Planning and Natural Resource Law.
I was raised in a fishing family on the West coast of Florida. As a kid, we caught all the fish that we wanted. But as the population on the Gulf coast grew throughout the 1980s and 90’s, fish became harder to catch and the state and federal governments began to regulate fishing activities in a heavy-handed way. By the mid-90’s regulations had become so restrictive that fishermen were unable to keep most of what they caught, despite the fact that fish populations seemed to be healthy. So I decided to do what I could to make sure that the information underlying the regulations was sound and I took a job as a Marine Biologist working for the State of Florida. It only took a few years for me to realize that I wouldn’t be able to have a meaningful effect on regulations because, as a biologist I had no real influence over policy makers.
Determined to make a difference, in 2000 I entered Vermont Law School and got the best environmental law education in the country. Then I moved back to Florida to work for a small law firm trying cases involving state and federal commercial fishing issues. In 2005, I opened a law office in St. Petersburg, Florida, and continued to represent members of the commercial fishing industry in fisheries and natural resources cases. I successfully sued the federal government and was finally beginning to have a positive affect on the regulation of our fisheries.
Within a few months of opening my office I was asked by a commercial fisherman if I could “put together a will” for him and his wife. I hadn’t thought about it before then, but providing estate plans for my existing clients was a perfect match since commercial fishing is one of the most dangerous jobs that you can have.
For the next few years I continued to represent commercial fishermen in state and federal courts and I continued drafting basic estate plans for my clients. Then, in July 2009, an opportunity for history to repeat itself was presented to me when I made the decision to take a job with the federal government in the NOAA Office of General Council. As an attorney for NOAA I would have to give up estate planning, but I would be right in the middle of our nations fisheries management where I’d able to affect positive change, right?
Wrong! I’ll spare you the details and simply say that I’m not cut out for government work. After four years I left NOAA’s Office of General Counsel to re-entered private practice and I picked up right where I left off; drafting estate plans and handling fisheries and natural resources cases.
My reputation as a fisheries and natural resource attorney speaks for itself and my knowledge and experience in this area of the law are equaled by few other attorneys. In fact, I know of no other attorney in the country who can say that they have worked for a state conservation agency, the NOAA Office of General Counsel, and as a private practitioner.
On the Estate Planning side of my firm, I have significantly expanded my practice and I’ve dedicated myself to providing carefully crafted trust-based estate plans that are tailored to meet the unique needs of each client, passing on assets as well as family legacies. I work hard to set myself apart from other estate planning attorney’s and in several significant ways.
I live in St. Petersburg, FL with my wife, Andrea, our two wonderful children, Ella and Garrett, and our weimaraner, Truman. I enjoy woodworking, fishing and spending time with my family. Please give me a call to let me know how I can help you.