Celebrating What Our Brilliant Founders Began 50 Years Ago

McLin Burnsed marks a milestone this year as we turn 50. Though founders Dewey Burnsed and Walt McLin have both passed on, their legacy continues in what remains one of Lake County’s most prominent law firms.


Establishing the firm was an ambitious endeavor for Dewey and Walt, who, back in 1969, were only a few years out of law school. Dewey earned his Juris Doctor degree in 1965 from The University of Florida and moved to Leesburg to begin practicing law, focusing mainly on real property matters. Only a year into co-creating the firm, Dewey was admitted to practice before the Florida Supreme Court in 1970. From 1968 to 1973, he had the honor of being the City Attorney of Leesburg, a position he resumed in 1976. From 1972 to 1973 he served as the president of the Lake County Bar Association and as a board member of the Young Lawyers Section of the Florida Bar’s Board of Governors. In 1975 Dewey became a professorial lecturer at his alma mater, instructing UF’s law students in legal ethics.

Walt McLin was widely regarded as a formidable guiding force in the communities of Leesburg and The Villages, not only for his legal acumen but also for his civic service. Walt earned his law degree from the University of Florida in 1962. From 1971 to 1973 he served as the chairman of an American Bar Association committee dedicated to dispensing legal aid to the families of soldiers in Vietnam identified as either prisoners of war or missing in action. Walt went so far as to meet personally with President Nixon to promote the welfare of these families. Highly politically connected, he had long-standing relationships with several Florida state governors.

Walt was a past-president of the Lake County Bar Association and a former head of the Florida Board of Business Regulation. He also served as a director on several boards, including that of Citizens National Bank and what was then Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Florida.

Once established, our firm’s success was rapid and continuous. Throughout Central Florida, the McLin Burnsed name denotes authority across a wide array of legal practice areas, including business and personal litigation, corporate law, mediation, real estate law, tax law, estate planning, and other services. “McLin Burnsed’s reputation has been built over 50 years of dedication to clients,” says tax and estate planning attorney Sarah Uhrik. “I’m incredibly proud to continue that legacy.”

McLin Burnsed’s dedication goes beyond what our attorneys deliver to clients; we are also highly involved in education, civic support, humanitarian causes, and community outreach. Among our conceptions was the McLin Burnsed Scholarship Fund, an endowment to The University of Florida created after Dewey and Walt passed away in 2007. The firm also provides student scholarship awards for higher education, The Villages Charter Schools and Buffalo Athletics. It sponsors American Red Cross Hurricane Relief efforts, Habitat for Humanity, LifeStream’s The Open Door, a homeless service center, the Leesburg Police Department’s holiday bicycle giveaway & Shop-with-a-Cop program, the National Fire Safety Council, a fire safety seminar for children, the Forward Paths Foundation, and others. In addition, for the past 23 years our staff & attorneys have donated to the firm’s own “Christmas Families Project,” which provides struggling families with food, toys, clothing, and other assistance, and helps to stock local food banks. “Part of the legacy of our firm is that we do more than just provide legal services. We have a heart for our community and we want to make a difference. It’s something I’m proud of as the managing partner of this firm,” says litigation attorney Phil Smith.

Now in our 50th year, the firm continues to honor Walt and Dewey’s vision by offering a spectrum of legal assistance, representation and mediation services for myriad individuals and businesses that count on McLin Burnsed for experienced, ethical and aggressive legal counsel. We are proud to announce that our main office recently moved to a newly renovated space in Legacy Plaza, preceding a grand opening that will celebrate the firm’s five decades of service.

We are privileged to continue the tradition of excellence established by our venerated founders, whose footsteps provide unerring guidance with each and every client we represent.