19Feb 2020

J. Jeffrey RiceFort Myers attorney J. Jeffrey Rice, who has been moonlighting as an NFL referee for 25 years, hung up his whistle for the final time after Sunday’s Pro Bowl.

Rice, a former managing partner of Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice & Purtz, P.A., retired as a game umpire after calling Sunday’s Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.

Rice began officiating high school football games in 1973, just a year after graduating from Northwestern University. After earning a juris doctorate from Case Western Reserve University in 1975, Rice was admitted to the Florida Bar and continued officiating on the weekends in Southwest Florida through the South Gulf Football Officials Association. He steadily built a reputation as a premier official and worked his way up to college games, then NFL Europe games, before being hired by the NFL in 1995.

Rice’s role on the field has been an umpire, which includes monitoring the line of scrimmage for illegal blocking or holding calls and false starts, as well as marking off penalty yardage and counting the number of offensive players on the field.

Over the past 25 years, Rice has officiated more than 400 NFL games and been granted 24 postseason assignments, including four Super Bowls and four Pro Bowls. Postseason officiating crews are considered the league’s top game officials. Rice is one of only 105 officials to work a Super Bowl game, and one of just 16 who have worked three or more Super Bowls, including two of the closest championship games in NFL history:

  • Super Bowl XXXV (2001 – alternate official): Baltimore Ravens 34, New York Giants 7
  • Super Bowl XXXVI (2002 – umpire): New England Patriots 20, St. Louis Rams 17
  • Super Bowl XXXVIII (2004 – umpire): New England Patriots 32, Carolina Panthers 29
  • Super Bowl 50 (2016 – umpire): Denver Broncos 24, Carolina Panthers 10

As an NFL official with 25 years of experience, Rice is recognized on a plaque displayed in a special exhibit at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Rice’s father, Bob Rice, worked for 19 years as an NFL official, including two Super Bowls.

At his day job, Rice also is at the top of his game, having been named to Florida’s prestigious Super Lawyers list for 14 consecutive years. To earn the annual honor, candidates are measured against 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement, a rigorous and methodical process to determine Super Lawyers that represent the top 5 percent of legal professionals in each state.

Rice, who often makes himself available as a guest speaker for local organizations, emphasizes his practice on commercial law, construction law, construction lien cases and real estate closings for clients. He is a member of the Lee County Bar Association and Florida Bar, and licensed to practice in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida and 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Rice has been honored by Martindale-Hubbell as a top-rated lawyer in business and corporate law, and has been included in the peer-reviewed legal publication Best Lawyers.

Florida Bar News: After 25 years as an NFL referee, Fort Myers attorney J. Jeffrey Rice hangs up his whistle
Naples Daily News: Fort Myers’ Jeff Rice retires after 25 years as NFL game official
Naples Daily News: Photos: NFL umpire Jeff Rice of Fort Myers through the years
WINK: SWFL lawyer retires from 25-year career as NFL official

21Jan 2020

Car Accidents: Our ExpertiseGoldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice & Purtz was recently named among the Best Car Accident Lawyers in Fort Myers, by Expertise. The firm was one of 19 selected out of 34 area firms considered.

Expertise hand-picks objectively quantified and qualified professionals for its lists, identifying the top service professionals in over 200 different industries in the United States. To date, Expertise has analyzed more than 10 million companies to help more than 10 million customers find the best qualified professionals for their needs.

Using publicly available data, Expertise verifies contact and license information, and then using in-house software grades each business on more than 25 variables across five categories: reputation, credibility, experience, engagement and professionalism.

To see the listing, click here.

19Nov 2019

Lanna-Servick,-Carleen-Menist,-Linda-Downs,-J.-Jeffrey-Rice-(right-to-left)-2011For the 13th year, Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice & Purtz, P.A. offices will collect toys to be distributed by the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots Foundation. Toys will be collected until Dec. 15 when they will be picked up and distributed by Toys for Tots to approved local social welfare agencies, church groups and other organizations.

“Supporting organizations within our community is within the core of Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice & Purtz, P.A. and Toys for Tots is an exemplary example of an organization,” said Managing Partner Chris Smith. “It’s our privilege to be a part of the community, so we feel it’s important to give back.”

During 2018, 10,960 children were supported with 38,090 toys distributed by Toys for Tots in Lee County. In Naples, 28,425 toys were distributed, supporting 5,338 children.

The public is invited to bring new, unwrapped toys for newborn children to age 12 to any of the six Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice & Purtz offices. In addition, members of the firm also donate toys for the drive.

Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice & Purtz locations accepting Toys for Tots donations include:

  • Fort Myers – Downtown: 1515 Broadway St., 239-334-1146
  • Fort Myers – McGregor: 2300 McGregor Blvd., 239-332-9437
  • Cape Coral – 461 Del Prado Blvd., 239-574-5575
  • Naples – 2590 Northbrooke Plaza Drive, Suite 105, 239-514-0924
  • Lehigh Acres – 4802 Lee Blvd., 239-368-6101
  • Port Charlotte – 2852 Tamiami Trail, Ste. 1, 941-624-2393

If it’s not convenient to shop for toys, monetary donations are accepted at www.toysfortots.org.

About Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice & Purtz

Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice & Purtz, P.A., has offered a full complement of professional legal services to Southwest Florida clients since 1962. The firm’s experienced attorneys are board certified by the Florida Bar, and their areas of practice include personal injury and accidents, fall and premises liability, wrongful death, motorcycle and truck accidents, medical malpractice, real estate, commercial litigation, construction law, wills, and estate planning and administration. With offices in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Naples, Lehigh Acres and Port Charlotte, attorneys can be reached by calling 239-500-HURT.

19Nov 2019

Adrea SmithIn October, Southwest Florida Business Observer’s annual 40 Under 40 issue recognized area entrepreneurs, executives and community leaders selected from Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Tampa Bay, Lakeland, Sarasota and Manatee. The area business magazine has selected 40 up-and-coming stars from nominations since 2014. In her profile in the magazine, partner Andrea Pleimling Smith said the best business lesson she’s ever learned was “the importance of client satisfaction — even with all the advertising we do, most of our clients come to us through referrals.”