Rich Newsome is the senior partner of the Newsome Melton law firm and represents people and families in complex civil litigation.
After graduating from the University of Florida College of Law in 1989, Rich worked as a federal prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Northern and Middle Districts of Florida. Rich left the U.S. Attorney's Office in 1993 and went to work for a large product liability defense firm in Orlando, Florida where he represented manufacturers. After defending a manufacturer in a case brought by a family who lost a child, Rich felt compelled to leave the defense practice and began representing only families and individuals. Since then, for more than 25 years, Rich’s practice has focused on representing people who have suffered catastrophic or fatal injuries.
In 2001, Rich was appointed by the Florida Governor to the Fifth District Court of Appeals Judicial Nominating Commission and served as the JNC’s Chairman during his term. He is a Past-President of the Orlando Federal Bar Association, Past-President of the Florida Justice Association, Past-Member of the Board of Governors of the American Association for Justice, Past-President of the Central Florida Trial Lawyers Association, and is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocacy.
Rich is a graduate of the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyer’s College and was invited to serve as a member of the College Faculty. Rich is a member of the Florida, Texas, New Mexico, and Oregon Bar Associations.
In 2016, Rich was selected as the “Orlando Personal Injury Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers, a peer review publication. In 2015, Rich received the Steven C. Sharpe Public Service Award from the American Association for Justice, in recognition of his representation of Corey Burdick who was severely injured by a defective Takata airbag. The Steven C. Sharpe Award is awarded annually to one attorney and their client. In 2017, Rich was appointed to the Constitution Revision Commission by Richard Corcoran, the Speaker of Florida’s House of Representatives. The 37 member Commission drafted and submitted 32 amendments to the Florida Constitution which were placed on the ballot and approved by Florida voters to be part of the Florida Constitution in November 2018.
In 2019, Rich was recognized by the National Law Journal as having won two of the Nation’s 100 largest verdicts in 2018.
Rich is a member of the Summit Council, a national group of America's best plaintiff trial lawyers. Membership is limited to less than thirty trial lawyers from across the country, is by invitation only, and is extended to lawyers who have a proven record of large jury verdicts and are recognized as leaders of the national plaintiffs bar.
Rich is a founding faculty member of Trial School, Inc., a not-for-profit organization which seeks to foster collaboration between lawyers on today’s best trial advocacy methods and to provide free education and practice for trial lawyers who exclusively represent people and families.
Bar Admissions State of Florida, 1989 State of New Mexico, 2009 U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida, 1992 U.S. District Court Northern District of Florida, 1992 U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida, 1992 U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit, 1990 U.S. Court of Federal Claims, 1998
Education Trial Lawyer's College, Graduate, Class of September 2016 University of Florida, Juris Doctor, 1989 Winner, National Prince Evidence Appellate Moot Court Competition, 1988 Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, 1986 - Bachelor of Science, Economics, Political Science
Honors and Awards Best Lawyers' 2016 Orlando Personal Injury Litigation, Plaintiffs "Lawyer of the Year," 2016 American Association for Justice's Steven J. Sharp Public Service Award, 2015 The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers, 2013 to Present The Summit Council, 2012 to Present US News “Best Law Firms”, 2011 to Present Florida's Legal Elite by Florida Trends Magazine, 2005 to Present Best Lawyers in Orlando, Orlando Magazine, 2004 to Present AV Rated Attorney by Martindale-Hubbell, 2004 to Present The Best Lawyers in America, 2003 to Present Association of Trial Lawyers of America's Steven J. Sharp Public Service Award, 2001 FL Lawyer’s Action Group, Chairman’s Outstanding Electoral Achievement Award, 1999 United States Department of Justice Special Achievement Award, 1991 Association of Trial Lawyers of America's Top 100 Trial Lawyers Million Dollar Advocates Avvo rating 10.0 out of 10.0
Professional Associations and Memberships Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission, Commissioner, 2017-2018 Florida Guardian Ad Litem Foundation, Board of Directors, 2017 Florida Justice Association (FJA), President, 2010-2011 Florida Justice Association (FJA), Executive Committee, 2005-2012 American Association for Justice (AAJ), Board of Governors, 2005-2015 5th District Court of Appeals Judicial Nominating Commission, Member and Chairman, 1999-2002 Central Florida Trial Lawyers Association (CFTLA), President, 2004 Orlando Federal Bar Association, President, 1990-1996 National Trial Lawyers, Top 100 Diplomat The National Crime Victim Bar Association, Member