Carolyn S. Zisser is the founder and senior attorney at Carolyn S. Zisser P.A., has been licensed since 1972 and has maintained her office in Neptune Beach since 1975. Zisser was the first woman-owned law firm at the Beaches when she opened her doors, and she practices exclusively in marital and family law. Zisser graduated with honors from George Washington University and was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1972.
After three years with The Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and a general trial practice, and handling complex Federal Court cases, she opened her private practice and has focused exclusively on marital and family law ever since.
Are you from the area?
No, I’m originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Born and raised.
What brought you to the beaches?
My husband – very traditional! He was a year ahead of me in law school at George Washington University law school in Washington, D.C. At the end of his third year of law school, he was offered a job in Jacksonville.
What do you love about living at the beach?
It’s beautiful – the natural resources. We’re so blessed to look at the ocean every day and see the sunrise. I don’t take it for granted and it’s just the most beautiful, enriching experience. My husband is a cyclist and I’m a runner. It’s an area that’s very conducive to being outside and riding your bike or running.
It’s a fabulous place to raise children and I’ve had a pleasure of raising two children at the beach.
What are your passions, other than running?
Classical music – mainly 17th and 18th century. My husband Elliot and I have been active supporters of the Jacksonville Symphony since we moved here. We’ve been subscribers of the Jacksonville Symphony for almost 44 years. I’m also a supporter of the Florida Chamber Music Project.
What made you decide to start your own practice?
I began in a generation where there were not a lot of women partners in law firms. I decided a long time ago I did not want to try to climb the corporate ladder, nor did I want to feel the limitations of a glass ceiling. That’s why I started my own practice – plus I like my independence. At the same time, we have an excellent team.
What’s unique about your firm?
We combine both being caring as well as vigilant and fighting very hard for our clients. Our goal is to settle cases rather then litigating them – that’s my preference. But we’re ready to go to court if necessary. We combine sensitivity with strength.
Another unique aspect of my practice is I have the ability to handle the most complex cases based upon my experience, especially when there are large assets – businesses to value, estate plans, marital and non-marital. It involves knowing about corporations and their structure and different types of benefit plans. My law firm is one of the most highly qualified in this area. We’re uniquely equipped to handle those cases.
Kelly H. McDermott
Ponte Vedra Recorder