Dean Burnetti comes from a long line of people who possess a strong work ethic. His grandparents left Italy in the early 1900s, and came to the United States in search of a better life. They were excited by promises of land and opportunity. However, upon their arrival, they were actually forced into forced into sharecropping and harsh labor in the Deep South. Because of this, his parents migrated to the Greater Chicago area, and Dean was born in Elgin, Illinois in 1957.
At the time, Dean was born, his father worked for a major construction company as a laborer. When Dean was five, his dad went to work at a construction site, and a wall caved in on him! As a result, he sustained multiple herniated discs in his low back. It was months until he could have surgery, but he still had a family to support. So, every day, Dean watched his dad strap on a back brace and leave for work despite his excruciating pain.
Dean’s father was eventually promoted into a supervisory position. He managed his crew at the job site, and also led his children by example by showing them the value of hard work. He wanted his children to get a good education so they wouldn’t have to work as hard as he.
Dean admired his father and took his advice to heart. But he couldn’t shake the memory of his dad grimacing as pain seared through his body each evening as he removed his back brace after work. To this day, that recollection is as fresh in Dean’s mind as when he was five years old.
Walking with God
As Dean grew older, he immersed himself in church activities, including playing the piano and organ. He even taught Sunday school. Dean’s resolute faith in God was unshakable. He knew in his heart that he would eventually find a career that would allow him to serve the Lord.
Dean left home at seventeen years old to attend Seminary at Oklahoma Baptist Seminary in Marlow, Oklahoma. There, he received his Seminary Degree in Pastoral Ministries and met and married his sweetheart, Patti. A short time later, they had two daughters.
Upon Dean’s graduation from Seminary, the memory of his dad’s horrific back injury was still fresh in his mind. His overwhelming compassion for people who were injured made him question if he missed his calling. After diligent prayer and deliberation, Dean felt that he could better serve the Lord as an attorney who helped injured people in need.
While Dean was in Seminary, his parents and siblings moved to Central Florida where his dad opened a convenience store, so Dean and Patti packed up their girls and moved there while Dean searched for a Christian liberal arts college.
Three years later, Dean had earned a Bachelor’s Degree for his double major in Psychology and Biblical Studies at Warner University in Lake Wales, Florida. He and his wife and children then returned to Oklahoma, where he attended Oral Roberts University Law School in Tulsa, and earned his Juris Doctorate degree.
Upon Dean’s graduation from Oral Roberts University in 1986, he packed up the family again and moved back to Florida where, for the next few months, he studied for his Bar Exam as he worked the graveyard shift of his dad’s store. During this time, Patti worked at a grocery store a cashier, and their family shared two bedrooms at Dean’s parents’ house in Lake Alfred. When Dean finally took his Bar Exam, he passed on the first try, and received his license to practice law in the State of Florida.
Honor Thy Father
When he started practicing law, Dean wanted to honor his father as well as the Lord, so he focused on assisting people who had been hurt in on-the-job accidents. A short time into the new millennium, an automobile accident claimed Dean’s father. Because of that, as well as significant changes to laws in the field of Workers’ Compensation, Dean expanded the focus of his practice to include representation for people who were injured or suffered disabilities from all types of accidents.
Now, Dean is double Florida Bar Board Certified in the areas of Civil Trial and Workers’ Compensation Law, meaning that he is recognized by the Florida Bar as a specialist in these areas. In the State of Florida, Florida Bar Certification is the highest level of evaluation to test the skill, knowledge, proficiency, aptitude, professionalism, and experience of its attorneys in any of the two dozen areas of law available and approved for certification by the State Supreme Court.
Only Board Certified attorneys can identify themselves as experts or specialists in their field. Board Certified lawyers have to provide evidence of continuing legal education and courtroom experience requirements every five years to maintain their Board Certified status. Only 7% of attorneys licensed to practice law in the State of Florida are Board Certified. Only a fraction of those attorneys have the distinct honor of being Double Board Certified liked Dean.
As a matter of fact, Dean is one of only four attorneys in the entire State of Florida who are Double Board Certified in the areas of Civil trial Law and Worker’s Compensation Law.
Dean and Patti recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary. They live in Auburndale, Florida. Their two daughters have grown and married, and between them, they have given Dean and Patti twelve beautiful grandchildren. Dean is still a very active member of his church, and he also enjoys global traveling, bicycling, playing guitar and piano, adding to his vintage Boy Scout collection, and serving the Lord.
- Seminary Degree in Theology, Oklahoma Baptist Seminary Pastoral Ministries, Marlow, Oklahoma, 1980
- B.A. in Psychology and Biblical Studies, Warner University, Lake Wales, Florida, 1983
- Juris Doctor, Oral Roberts University School of Law, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1986
Licenses & Memberships
- Florida Bar Board Certified in Workers’ Compensation Law, 1992
- Florida Bar Board Certified in Civil Trial Law, 2013
- U.S. District Court Common Middle District of Florida 11th Circuit Court of Appeals
- Florida Justice Association