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In an eventful election battle, partners at Florida's Holland & Knight have voted for New York partner Howell Melton as the new managing partner.
He will take up the post on 1 April, replacing Robert Feagin, who has served in the role since June 2001.
Melton competed against Jacksonville trial lawyer partner George Gabel. Tallahassee, Florida, partner Martha Barnett, former president of the American Bar Association, withdrew from the race ahead of the vote. She was, however, elected as the new chair of the firm's 24-strong directors committee, the principal policymaking body of the firm.
Melton joined the firm in 1975 and has taken several leadership roles, including executive partner of Orlando and membership of the directors committee. His practice focuses on big contract and business torts litigation.