Dean Burnetti’s grandparents left Italy in the early 1900s, and came to the United States. Though their search of a better life, they found the promise of land and opportunity. However they were soon forced into forced into sharecropping and harsh labor in the Deep South. Because of this, Dean’s parents migrated to the Greater Chicago area, and Dean was born in Elgin, Illinois in 1957.
When Dean was born, his dad worked for a major construction company as a laborer. When Dean was only five, his dad was at work when a wall caved in on him! He sustained multiple herniated discs in his low back, and couldn’t get surgery for months. However, he still had a family to support, so quitting work was not an option. Each morning, Dean watched his dad strap on a back brace before work despite his excruciating pain.
Dean’s father was eventually promoted into a supervisory position. He led not only his work crew at the job site, but he led his children by example, showing them the value of hard work. He wanted his children to receive a good education so they wouldn’t have to work as hard as he.
Dean admired his dad and took his advice to heart. But he couldn’t shake the memory of his dad grimacing as pain seared through his body as he removed his back brace each evening . To this day, that recollection is as fresh in Dean’s mind as when he was a child.
As Dean grew older, he immersed himself in church activities. He played the piano and organ, and taught Sunday school. He had a resolute faith in the Lord. As a boy, he knew that when he grew up, he’d find a career that stimulated him to serve God.
At seventeen, Dean left home to attend Seminary at Oklahoma Baptist Seminary in Marlow, Oklahoma. Here, he received his Seminary Degree in Pastoral Ministries. He also met and married his sweetheart, Patti. A short time later, they had two daughters.
Upon Dean’s graduation, the memory of his dad’s horrific injury was still fresh in his mind. Because of this, he felt such overwhelming compassion for people who were injured, he wondered if he had missed his calling. After diligent prayer and deliberation, Dean felt that he could better serve God as an attorney who helped injured people.
Dean’s parents and siblings had since moved to Central Florida where his dad opened a convenience store. So, Dean and Patti moved there while Dean searched for a Christian liberal arts college.
Three years later, Dean 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 in 1986, he returned to Florida where he studied for his Bar Exam as he worked the graveyard shift of his dad’s store. Patti worked as a grocery store 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 on the job. 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 representing people who were injured in all types of accidents.
Now, Dean is double Florida Bar Board Certified in the areas of Civil Trial and Workers’ Compensation Law, meaning that the Florida Bar recognizes him 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 liked Dean. In fact, he’s one of only four attorneys in Florida who is Board Certified in both Civil Litigation and Workers’ Compensation.
Dean has practiced law in the greater Polk County area for 30 years. Over the last 16 years, he’s concentrated the focus of his career on the field of civil litigation, including jury trials.
- Oklahoma Baptist Seminary Pastoral Ministries – 1980
- Warner Southern College – B.A. in Psychology and Biblical Studies – 1983
- Oral Roberts University O.W. Coburn School of Law – J.D. – 1986
DEAN’S LICENSES & ACCOLADES
- Board Certified Workers’ Compensation, 1992
- Board Certified Civil Trial, 2013
- U.S. District Court Common Middle District of Florida
- Florida Justice Association
Dean has been married to his childhood sweetheart Patti, for 40 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 an active member of his church. He enjoys global traveling, bicycling, playing guitar and piano, adding to his vintage Boy Scout collection, and serving the Lord.