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Diana Santa Maria

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Toll Free: (800) 668-2156
Phone: (954) 680-6228
Fax: (954) 434-4462

University Place 5220 S University Dr #205c
Davie, Florida 33328

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Diana Santa Maria attended the University of Miami where she received both her undergraduate and law degrees. During law school she represented the school in Mock Trial and Moot Court Competitions on the state –wide level winning the Best Brief Award on behalf of the University of Miami at the (1983) Robert Orseck Memorial (State) Moot Court Competition. Upon graduation she was awarded and inducted into the Order of Barristers awarded to the top ten graduating law students based on leadership in trial and appellate advocacy.

Since being admitted to The Florida Bar in 1985, she has devoted her practice to the representation of persons injured as a result of the negligence of others. From 1985 until 1991 she practiced with one of the country's top personal injury law firms in the areas of Plaintiff's Personal Injury, Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death, both on the trial and appellate levels. In 1991 Diana formed her own practice specializing in Plaintiff's Personal Injury and Wrongful Death. She is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates as well as a past President of its Fort Lauderdale Chapter ( www.abotafll.org); she is a Sustaining Member of the American Justice Association, a member of the National Trial Lawyers Association and is AV rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory.

Throughout her law career and in addition to her practice, Diana has served the legal profession with distinction. She served a 4 year term as Commissioner on the State of Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission and she served as adjunct Professor of Law at Nova Southeastern University Law Center. She is an active member of The Florida Bar and its Trial Bar, having lectured and written on numerous legal topics within her field, to include Seven Steps to Effective Mediation published in the June, 1997 TRIAL magazine as well as Guideline for Handling Sexual Abuse of a Minor by a Public School Teacher, published as part of a National Conference by the National Crime Victim Bar Association in Washington, D.C.

From 1996 - 2006 she served on the Board of Directors for the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers ( n/k/a the Florida Justice Association) as well as on the Board of Directors for the Broward County Bar & Broward County Trial Lawyers Assn. ( n/k/a Broward Justice Assn.) . She was appointed by the Florida Bar in 2004 to the Florida Supreme Court's Commission on Professionalism and since 2013 has served on the Florida Bar Board of Governors for the 17th Judicial Circuit. Diana has been listed in Who's Who in American Law, The International Who's Who of Professionals and Outstanding Young Women of America. She has also been named to Florida’s Super Lawyers and is listed among the Best Lawyers in America. Aside from being a lawyer, Diana is a parent and has a particular interest in and sensitivity to protecting and preserving the rights of children and enhancing all aspects of public safety.


J.D. , University of Miami School of Law, Coral Gables, Florida, 1984
Honors: Order of Barristers
University of Miami Moot Court Team-
Robert Orseck Memorial Moot Competition - “Best Brief Award”-1981
University of Miami Mock Trial Team
Moot Court Board
Res Ipsa Loquitur- (Law School Newspaper)- Staff Writer

B.A., University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida, 1981
Honors: Cum Laude
Honors: Gold Key Honor Society

Bar Admissions Florida, 1985
U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida, 1985
U.S. District Court Northern District of Florida, 2008
Supreme Court of the U.S.,, March 2019
Professional & Bar Association Memberships

The Florida Bar
Member Since: 1985
Citizen's Forum (2000 - 2004)
Grievance Committee, 17th Judicial Circuit (2001 - 2004 )

Florida Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism (Ex-Officio) (2004- present)

Florida Supreme Court JNC (Judicial Nominating Committee) (2004-2008)
Gubernatorial Appointment

Florida Bar Board of Governors (June 2013- present)
Communications Committee (June 2019- June 2021)
Disciplinary Review Committee (June 2019- June 2021)
Board Liaison – (PILL Committee (June 2022-June 2023)
17th Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee Designated
Reviewer (Comm. “D” & “G”) (June 2013-present)
CSF DR Review (June 2013-June 2023)
PEC (June 2021- June 2023)
Technology Comm. (June 2021- June 2023)
Board Liaison - Legal Needs of Children Committee (June 2020-June 2021)
2018 JNC Screening Committee

Broward County Trial Lawyers Association
Member Since: 2004
Board of Directors (2004- 2008)

Broward County Bar Association
Member Since: 2005
Board of Directors (2005- 2010)

Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers (n/k/a: Florida Justice Association)
Member Since: 1985
Board of Directors (1996 - 2006)
Fellow (2015 -present)
Chair, Continuing Legal Education (1999 - 2001)
Chair, Allies Committee (2001-2003)
Endowment for Academy Giving to Law and Education (Patron)
Florida Lawyer's Action Group (Trustee) 2002-2005

Florida Lawyer's Action Group
Trustee (2002 - 2005)

American Board of Trial Advocates
[ABOTA] President (2012) (Ft. Lauderdale Chapter)

The Association of Trial Lawyers of America (n/k/a: American Justice Association)
Sustaining Member

Trial Lawyers for Public Justice

National Trial Lawyers Top 100 (Executive Board Member)
Member Executive Board Member

Law Dragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers

National Crime Victims Assn
(Advisory Board Member 2006-2014)

Coalition for Family Safety
Charter Member, Officer and Director

Published Works and Presentations
  • Publication: "Seven Steps to Effective Mediation", Trial, June 1997
  • Publication: Guideline for Handling Cases Involving Sexual Abuse of a Minor by a Public-School Teacher by: Diana Santa Maria∗ Laura D. Dolin, Nova Law Review Volume 33, Issue 3 2009 Article 5
  • "Mediation Strategy and Techniques", Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers, 1996
  • "Handling Causation Issues in the Low Impact Case", Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers, 1998
  • "Demand Packages that Get Results and Winning at Mediation", Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers, 1999
  • "Frye and Daubert Hearings and Issues", Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers, February 2001
  • "Trial of the Soft Tissue Case", Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers, June 2001
  • "Cross Examination of a Lay Witness at Trial", Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers, August 2001
  • "Proof and Argument of Liability In the Slippery Surface Slip & Fall Case”, Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers, April 2002
  • "Settlement and Negotiation in Mediation", Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers, June 2002
  • "Direct Examination of the Plaintiff - A Demonstration by the Masters", Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers, October 2002
  • "Ten Most Commonly Misunderstood Litigation Deadlines", Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers, February 2003
  • "Depositions", Practicing with Professionalism Seminar, Florida Bar, Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers, December 2003
  • "Managing Your Own Law Practice", Florida Association of Women Lawyers, January 2003
  • "Proof and Argument of Past and Future Medical and Related Expenses at Trial", Florida Justice Assn. Workhorse Seminar, February 2006
  • "Handling Sex Abuse Cases Involving Minors in Public Schools" May 2006, presentation George Washington University School of Law, Washington, D.C. (NCVBA, National Conference with ATLA, Civil Actions for Criminal Acts) May 2006
  • The Defense Exam and Plaintiff’s Pre-Existing Conditions & Injuries- Strategies, Tactics and Techniques to Debunk Defense Positions and Strategies, Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers, Feb. 2007
  • Negotiating, Mediating, Settling and Trying Personal Injury Cases -Florida Personal Injury Practice for Paralegals, Jan. 30, 2009
  • Do's and Don'ts of Mediation (Broward County Hispanic Bar Assn.) Oct. 2011
  • President’s Installation Message- ABOTA (Ft. Laud. Chapter) Jan. 2012
  • Bilingual Mediations: Cultural Diversity in Mediation (ABOTA Ft. Laud. Chapter) Oct. 2012
  • Masters in Trial- Plaintiff Trial Lawyer Team -Direct Examination, ABOTA- Fort Lauderdale Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (May 2013)
  • Vanity Insanity – Trending Malpractice Issues Involving Cosmetic and Procedures- Florida Justice Assn. Workhorse Seminar (Feb. 2013)
  • “Trial Lawyer of the Year” Acceptance Speech- ABOTA- Ft. Laud. Chapter Jan. 2014 with Sheldon J. Schlesinger, Esq. presenting the award
  • Civil Justice for Victims of Crime in Florida –panelist- National Crime Victims Assn (NCVBA)- March 2014
  • “Creating Your Blueprint for Leadership”- panelist- FAWL-Florida Bar Annual Convention June 25 th, 2015
  • “Compassionate Gladiatrix” – Acceptance of Award and Presentation, “Redress, Restitution and Redemption” (Florida Justice Association – Workhorse Seminar, April 2016)
  • Medical Malpractice Session - “Pre-suit Steps and Procedures – Six Hot Tips and Things You Need to Know” (Florida Justice Association – Workhorse Seminar, April 2016)
  • Opening Statement Lecture- 7 Goals for an Effective Opening Statement – Florida Justice Assn.- Al Cone Trial Advocacy Institute- (Aug. 4, 2016)
  • Making your Mediation Great- Practical Tips for a Successful Mediation- panelist – South Broward Bar Assn. (Aug. 2017)
  • Bench & Bar Convention Mock Trial- Broward County Bar Assn. (Oct. 2017)
  • Super Stars in Trial: Plaintiff Team- Miami vs. Broward & Palm Beach- Dade County Bar Assn. (March 2018)
  • Closing Argument- panelist- Dade County Bench & Bar & Spellman -Hoeveler Chapter of the American Inns of Court (March 2019)
  • The Anatomy of a Defense Medical Exam and Deposition- Florida Justice Assn.- Workhorse Seminar (presentation with Nelson Baez, Esq.) Florida Justice Assn.-Workhorse Seminar March 2020
  • Learn from the Legends Florida Justice Association (November 19th, 2021, Orlando, Fl.) with Co-Panelists, Fred Cunningham & Troy Rafferty (Moderator Steve Watrel)
  • “Prosecuting the Personal Injury Case” Panelist -Dade County Bench & Bar Convention (February 18th, 2022)
  • National Trial Lawyers (NTLA) Courtroom Playbook: “Creating & Developing Demands with a Stamp of Distinction that Grab Attention & Get Results (January 31st, 2022)
  • FJA Workhorse Seminar Lawboratory Medical Malpractice Panel with panelists, Dave Paul, Dave Carter & Ryan Fogg (Moderator Jonathan Gilbert) (March 23, 2022)
  • Publication: The Trial Lawyer- (Co-Author) “Attendant Care for Life Care Plans of Spinal Cord Injury Patients in the last years of Life: A legal and Ethical Dilemma” with co-authors, Bernard F. Pettingill, Jr PhD, and Federico R. Tewes, BA (Fall 2022)
  • FJA Workhorse Seminar Lawboratory: Direct Examination, Cross-Examination, Re-Direct Examination and Re-Cross Examination – Learning the Strategy and Tactics of “Response Advocacy,” with panel members: Justin S. Kahn & Chadrick A. Mancee (February 20th, 2023)
Honors and Awards
  • Best Lawyers in America 2009-present
  • ABOTA (Ft. Laud. Chapter) Trial Lawyer of the Year (Jan.2014)
  • Florida Justice Association Compassionate Gladiatrix Award (2016)
  • National Trial Lawyers Top 100 (Civil Plaintiff- Florida) (Diplomat)
  • South Florida’s Leading Lawyers – Legal Guide- Top Lawyer- (March 2017-present)
  • Martindale Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers
  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum (1995- present)
  • Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers – Most Valuable Player- Staff Appreciation Award (1997)
  • Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers - Legislative Leadership- Shoe Leather Award- (Oct. 1997)
  • Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers - Above & Beyond Call of Duty Award (June 1999)
  • Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers - Wings of Justice Award (June 2000)
  • Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers – Bronze Eagle Award (June 2001)
  • Florida Super Lawyers (2005)
  • Martindale Hubbell AV rated 1991- present