Dean Burnetti’s grandparents left Italy in the early 1900s and immigrated to the United States in search of a better life. They were promised land and opportunity, but soon found themselves being forced into sharecropping and harsh labor in the Deep South. For this reason, soon after his parents married, they moved to the Greater Chicago area, and Dean was born in Elgin, Illinois in 1957.
At the time of Dean’s birth, his father worked for a major construction company as a laborer. When Dean was only five years old, his dad went to work at a construction site, and a wall caved in on him! As a result, he sustained numerous herniated discs in his low back. It was months until he could have surgery, but he still had a family to support. Because of his dedication to his wife and children, Dean watched every day as his dad strapped on a back brace and left for work despite his excruciating pain.
Dean’s father was eventually promoted into a supervisory position. Not only did he lead his work crew at the job site, but he led his children by example as he showed them the value of hard work. His dream was that each of his children would receive 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.
As Dean grew older, he immersed himself in church activities, including playing the piano and organ, and even teaching Sunday school. He had a resolute faith in God, and he knew in his heart that when he grew up, he would find a career that would allow him to serve the Lord.
When he was just seventeen, Dean left his family and his home to attend Seminary at Oklahoma Baptist Seminary in Marlow, Oklahoma. There, he received his Seminary Degree in Pastoral Ministries, and that was where he also met and married his sweetheart, Patti. A short time later, they had two daughters. During this time, Dean’s parents and siblings moved to Central Florida where his dad opened a convenience store.
Upon graduation from Seminary, the memory of his dad’s horrific injury was still fresh in Dean’s mind. As such, he felt such overwhelming compassion for people who were injured, he wondered if perhaps he had 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.
After feeling that God spoke to him about changing careers, Dean and Patti packed up their girls and moved to Florida as 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 Dean 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.
When he first 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. These Board Certified attorneys are the only lawyers allowed to identify themselves as experts or specialists in their field. Florida lawyers who are Board Certified are re-examined every five years to maintain their Board Certified status. Furthermore, they must participate in continuing legal education in order to be recertified. Only 7% of attorneys licensed to practice law in the State of Florida are Board Certified, and only a fraction of those have the distinct honor of being Double Board Certified like Dean.
To date, Dean is one of only four attorneys in the State of Florida who is Florida Bar Board Certified in the areas of Civil Trial Law and Workers’ Compensation.
Dean has been married to his wife, Patti, for over forty years, and they reside 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.
Dean’s Education Includes::
† 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
Dean’s 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