Mary Kestenbaum Fortson, Esq.

877 449 4700

Mary Kestenbaum Fortson


777 S. Harbour Island Blvd. Suite 950
Tampa, FL 33602

Office: 813-229-1000

Licensed in:

  • Florida
  • Texas

Bar Admissions

  • Florida
  • Texas
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas

Attorneys by State

New Jersey
New York
North Carolina
U.S. Virgin Islands
Washington, D.C.

Mary Kestenbaum Fortson, Esq.

As Managing Attorney, Mary Fortson participates in Merlin Law Group’s most complex legal cases and projects, and provides litigation and appellate support and guidance to the attorneys, overseeing and ensuring the quality of the legal work conducted. She coordinates and supervises the attorneys of the firm, and participates in law office operations including case assignment, hiring, supervision and professional development of the firm’s attorneys.

Mary directs the attorneys and their legal staff in effective and efficient use of resources while servicing the client. She assures that services are in compliance with professional standards, and state and federal regulatory requirements. Mary supplies advice and guidance to the Firm attorneys on all matters of procedure, practice, and policy. She provides administrative and technical oversight for attorney activities and coordinates with other internal staff and external entities and organizations.

Stetson University College of Law
St. Petersburg, Florida

Juris Doctor
Honors: Magna cum laude
Honors: Class Valedictorian
Honors: Dean’s List Each Semester
Honors: West Publishing Awards for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement
Honors: Corpus Juris Secundum Award for Scholastic Excellence, Civil Procedure
Honors: Lazan & Trute, P.A. Trusts Award

Cedar Crest College
Allentown, Pennsylvania

Bachelor of Science
Honors: magna cum laude

“Lessons Learned After the Storms, Co-Author with William F. Merlin, Jr. and Amy Bach, Trial” – Journal of the American Association for Justice, August, 2007

“Practical Considerations for Plaintiff Attorneys Handling First-Party Insurance Claims – Mold, Co-Author with William F. Merlin, Jr.”Property and Personal Injury Litigation Magazine, November, 2004

“Colossus: Taking on a Giant”, Co-Author with William F. Merlin J.R., Trial – Journal of the American Association for Justice, September 2000

“Property Insurance Case Law Update for Florida & Related States” – First Party Claims Conference, 2013

“Depositions & Surviving Litigation in the Era of Social Media” – First Party Claims Conference, 2012

“Depositions – A Survivor’s Guide” – First Party Claims Conference, 2011

“Insurance Fraud from All Perspectives” 12th Annual Windstorm Insurance Conference, 2011

“Depositions and Examinations Under Oath: The Good…The Bad…The Ugly” – First Party Claims Conference, September 2010

“Deposition ABC’s – Preparation is Key to Survival” – FAPIA Summer Conference 2009

“Speed Adjusting: A Fast and Furious Look at the Concerns and Considerations of Insurance Claims and How They Can Affect Public Adjusting” – FAPIA Summer Conference 2009

“The Merlin Guide: How to Ethically and Efficiently Adjust Claims in Texas” – Seminar for Texas Public Adjusters, 2009

“Delay of Game, Panel discussion of specific types of business interruption claims” – NAPIA/MAPIA, 2008

“The Perfect Game, Best Practices for Claims Handling when it comes to Maximizing the Recovery for a Client” – NAPIA/MAPIA, 2008

AV Preeminent Rating, Martindale-Hubbell Lawyer Rankings

Manchester’s Who’s Who Registry of Executives and Professionals

United Policyholders Exceptional Policyholder Advocate

The Florida Bar, Appellate Practice and Trial Lawyers Section

The Florida Bar, Grievance Committee, 2009-2011

Florida Justice Association, Amicus Curiae Committee

American Association for Justice

Hillsborough County Bar Association

Tampa Bay Inn of Court, 2005- 2011

Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (FAPIA) Associate Member; past General Counsel

National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA) Associate Member

First Party Claims Conference, Education Committee, 2009 – 2013

Texas Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (TAPIA), Associate Member; past General Counsel

Windstorm Insurance Network, Chair of Conference Committee, 2012

Windstorm Insurance Network, Chair of Membership and Professional Designation Committee, 2016