1060 Maitland Center Commons, Suite 440, Maitland, FL 32751
P: 407-661-1123 

Shareholder, Upchurch Watson White & Max Mediation Group

Jeff is a shareholder with Upchurch Watson White & Max, a regional dispute resolution firm, where he serves as a Certified Circuit, Appellate, Family, and Federal Court Mediator. He has conducted over a thousand mediations. Jeff also works as a Florida Supreme Court Qualified Arbitrator. In addition, he is sometimes asked to serve as a Special Magistrate in pending cases and is a Fellow of the Academy of Court-Appointed Masters. In each of these capacities, Jeff serves as a “neutral.” In other words, his job is to work in the middle and not take sides, but that is not how Jeff’s legal career began.

There are lots of good reasons to go to law school, but for Jeff there was just one – to get into the courtroom. Upon graduating from Florida State University College of Law in 1985, he returned to Orlando and joined a downtown civil litigation firm. He was in trial almost immediately and was on his way to becoming a successful courtroom advocate and eventually managing partner of his firm. Jeff would earn the distinction of becoming a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer. He is also honored to receive the Martindale-Hubbell® rating of AV Preeminent®, the highest possible rating in both legal ability and ethical standards.  

Jeff was born and raised in Orlando and, after many years in private practice, felt a call to serve the community as a judge. In 2002, Florida’s governor appointed Jeff as an Orange County Judge and as a Ninth Circuit Judge in 2006. Jeff presided over a wide variety of matters including all types of civil, criminal, domestic relations, juvenile, probate, guardianship, and mental health cases. He also had the privilege of serving as an Associate Judge on the Fifth District Court of Appeal.

After more than a decade on the bench Jeff decided to return to private practice. He initially resumed his work as a litigator but also began to establish himself as one of the area’s leading dispute resolution neutrals. It has now been over seven years since he joined UWWM, where he has the privilege of helping individuals and businesses resolve their differences.   

Having been a trial lawyer and judge, Jeff knows firsthand the demands that litigation places on clients, lawyers, and the courts. He observes: “My experience has taught me that litigation is often highly stressful for everyone involved and not just for the parties, but sometimes their attorneys, too! It is rewarding to see that stress melt away as closure sets in after a case is resolved. I am fortunate to be able to draw on my legal experience to make a real difference in people’s lives and am so thankful for where my career has led me.”

Jeff lives in the Lake Conway area with his wife, Joanne; their boxer, Sadie; and Duke the Cat. They have four adult children. Jeff enjoys boating, water skiing, wakeboarding, and snow skiing. He also likes riding the 1980 motorcycle he bought in college…when it will start.