Attorney at Law
Ken Hamner, a 2014 Rising Star in Orlando’s Legal Elite, has been named Orlando Style Magazine’s top attorney in Business Planning and Mergers & Acquisitions in 2015. He started his career 25 years ago, after graduating from George Mason University with degrees in Finance and Accounting, at Arthur Andersen in Washington DC, where he served as an Audit Senior primarily auditing financial institutions, real estate developers, and asset managers. Ken later moved to Ernst & Young in Washington DC as a Senior Consultant, where he participated in a variety of projects, including valuing a nationwide portfolio of commercial real estate for a Swiss bank and a study of market rents for HUD to aid in developing a voucher pricing model. Then at age 29, he moved to Florida and accepted a position as CFO of an early stage venture.
“Taking a rather untraditional leap into entrepreneurship seemed at that time to be a bit of a gamble, but looking back on it now, it was the key move that shaped my career,” Ken said. “In three years, we went from having operations in Orlando and the Marco Island area in Florida, to expanding to Palm Springs, California, Puerto Rico, the US and British Virgin Islands, Aruba, St. Lucia, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and eventually Hawaii.” Planning and executing international market penetration, including negotiating foreign direct investment and structuring foreign distribution and strategic alliances led to a more than ten-fold increase in revenue for the company. Ken played the key role in raising the seed capital that fueled this growth.
In 1999, Ken took yet another unconventional path and returned to school, attending Florida State University where he earned his Juris Doctor and MBA. “I was only 32 at the time, and during my time as CFO I realized that virtually every aspect of a company’s growth depended on good legal advice”, Ken said. Upon graduating law school and business school, he served as CFO and General Counsel for two international steel trading firms before joining a small law firm in Orlando, where he eventually became managing partner. In 2008, he launched The Entrepreneur Law Center to focus on building a multidisciplinary practice tailored to the needs of business clients. “I guess you could say that now I do a lot of what I did as a CFO in helping my clients grow and navigate the troubled waters that come with being an early stage venture.”, Ken said. The Entrepreneur Law Center focuses primarily on business planning, mergers & acquisitions, CFO/General Counsel services, due diligence, tax, international business, strategy, venture capital, private equity, and angel investor services. The firm has offices in downtown Orlando and at the Tampa Bay Technology Incubator.
Aside from his Juris Doctor and MBA from Florida State University, Ken also hold a MS in Entrepreneurship in Applied Technologies from the University of South Florida, a Master of Accounting in Forensic Accounting from Florida Atlantic University, a BS in Accounting and a BS in Finance, both from George Mason University. He is a Certified Merger & Acquisition Advisor, a Master Analyst in Financial Forensics, a Certified Fraud Examiner, a Certified Due Diligence Professional, a Certified Business Intermediary, a Licensed Real Estate Broker, and holds both a Series 82 Private Securities Offering and a Series 63 securities license with FINRA. Internationally, he has studied law at Humboldt University in Berlin where he received certificates in both mediation and dispute resolution, at the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing, where he received a Certificate in Chinese Law, and at the University of the West Indies in Barbados, where he authored a published academic article on foreign direct investment.
The Entrepreneur Law Center has been the recipient of numerous awards in recent years, including Business Planning Law Firm of the Year in the United States by Acquisition International, Entrepreneurial Services Advisory of the Year in ACQ’s Law Awards, Transactions Law Firm of the Year in the United States by Corporate LiveWire in their International M&A Awards, Independent Boutique Law Firm of the Year in the United States in ACQ’s Global Awards, the Golden Advisor Award by Worldwide Financial Advisor Magazine, Best Venture Capital Law Firm in ACQ’s Law Awards, and Independent Boutique Law Firm of the Year in North America and recognized as part of the Global 100, consisting of only the world’s leading 100 firms by KHM Media’s M&A Today.
Aside from the main office in downtown Orlando, The Entrepreneur Law Center opened a second office at the Tampa Bay Technology Incubator in 2014 to be closer to the startup ecosystem developing there. Additionally, Ken joined the University of South Florida’s Center for Entrepreneurship faculty, where he teaches graduate courses in Intellectual Property and Mergers & Acquisitions to a diverse student body consisting of graduate business, entrepreneurship, engineering and medical students. Tiffany Springsteen, a student in his Intellectual Property class said, “Professor Hamner was honestly one of the most influential and inspiring professors I have ever had at USF. He is one of those teachers that will have a lasting impact on my future.” Ken counts his involvement at USF as one of the most rewarding of his career.
Bill Moore, a Candidate for Orange County Commissioner District 3 and a longstanding client as a Board Member of the Fraternal Order of Police and a former Agent for the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation said, “I asked Ken to lead my campaign as Campaign Treasurer after seeing first hand his skills in both financial and legal matters. At the Fraternal Order of Police, Ken has served in a General Counsel role for District 7 covering ten counties and nearly 20 lodges, and in various roles for the Orange County Sheriff’s FOP Lodge, the Orlando Police Department’s Lodge, and the Orange County Corrections’ Lodge. He also was instrumental in working with the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation in helping us seize one of the largest Civil RICO forfeitures in the history of the agency during my time as an Agent there. He brings such a wide range of skills to his clients, from legal strategy to forensic accounting and from financial strategy to corporate governance.”
Dennis Wilkinson, a longstanding client and veteran senior executive with numerous international logistics firms, including Worldlink Logistics, Hanjin Logistics, Kuehne + Nagle, and his current role as General Manager for transpacific services for DHL Global Forwarding says, “I have worked with many attorneys both on a personal and professional basis and Ken was absolutely the best. Without a doubt his common sense approach coupled with flawless strategy produced positive results far greater than expected. Ken has so many skill sets not commonly found in even large law firms, much less in one attorney directing his own boutique firm. I have called on Ken’s expertise to structure M&A deals, to conduct due diligence on acquisition targets, and for general business insight into a wide variety of matters over the years.”
Stanley and Debbie Britt, who own a highly successful e-travel venture and a CFO/General Counsel client for more than five years, said the following, “We consult Ken on virtually all aspects of our business and consider him to be our most trusted advisor. Not only has he been undefeated in the courtroom for us, which has been invaluable in an increasingly litigious environment, but his ability to understand our business and provide strategic insight has been a key factor in our success.”
In closing, Ken said, “What I enjoy most about my work is helping my clients become successful. The increasing rate of globalization and the infusion of technology into all facets of business will inevitably increase the pace and scale of the global M&A marketplace. Companies that used to be too small to even consider global alliances or to sustain global customer relationships now can. My firm is living proof. I have clients reaching well beyond Florida to international commercial centers like New York, Beijing, Seoul, Amsterdam, and London, as well as clients in the Caribbean, South America, Europe, and Africa. Tomorrow’s clients could come from anywhere.”
Kenneth Hamner: Attorney at Law
The Entrepreneur Law Center, P.L.
250 North Orange Ave., Ste. 1200, Orlando, FL 32801
P: 407-601-4980 | F: 407-601-4981
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