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Criminal Trial Attorney, Civil Family Litigation. Martindale-Hubble "AV, Rated"

Billy Pontrello P.A. concentrates on criminal defense, DUI defense, Family Law, Divorce, Child Support, Modification of Alimony & Support. Criminal matters include DUI manslaughter, drug charges, sexual assault, robbery, theft, white collar crimes, computer crimes, abuse allegations, and all felonies, misdemeanors, and juvenile crimes. Injury matters include automobile accidents, negligent security, and other injuries caused by the negligence of others.



by Patrick Gaffney

from The Clearwater Bar Association res ipsa loquitor

December 1996


For the Clearwater legal community, Columbus Day has been celebrated for the past seventeen years through the institution known as “BILL PONTRELLO’S COLUMBUS DAY PARTY.” Both the party and its host have a colorful past. It falls on the second Monday in October and commemorates the landing of Columbus in the Bahamas in 1492

As for the party, it had its beginnings in 1980 and has run continuously since that time. Bill was one of a handful of attorneys who regularly put on annual parties. He says the practice of law was different then. The legal community was certainly smaller. Lawyers and judges weren’t as concerned with “hardball litigation,” and there was more of a feeling of camaraderie within the profession.

Within this framework, Bill decided to host a party. Given his Italian heritage, he chose Columbus Day. Although working for Spain, Bill points out that Christopher Columbus was indeed an Italian. Although the party has known many venues throughout its history, it is presently held at the Turtle Club. According to Bill, the party is “in recognition of Columbus and the great Italian tradition of food, fun and music.”

As for Bill, he was raised in Chicago by his mother and his maternal grandfather, who immigrated from Italy. He learned early the hardships of life. At age 10, his mother died and he was sent to live with his father, who at that time he did not know. At 17, Bill joined the Army. After serving in Vietnam and receiving an Honorable Discharge, he returned home. Bill states that he had to “beg” his high school to let him back in. Of course, the school complied. Interestingly, he applied to the police force in a suburb of Chicago and was rejected because he was under the age of 21.

As a result, he went on to college at Southern Illinois University, where he received his degree in 1969. Throughout his college years, Bill worked at a succession of full time jobs to finance his education and support his family. Bill’s daughter, Dominica Nicole, was born in 1967. She will graduate this spring from the School of Visual Arts in New York with a Fine Arts degree. In 1970, Bill moved to Florida to attend Stetson. Since 1973, he has developed a successful practice in the areas of criminal and civil litigation, personal injury and family law. Throughout the years, Bill has been active in the Bar Association. He has served as Secretary of the Clearwater Bar Association, as Chairman of the Sixth Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee and has served on an Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee.

Earlier this year, Bill vacationed in Italy for a month. He relates that he just wished to relax and visit with a friend. In the short time he was in Italy, he became part of the “in crowd.” He points out that he also became an expert driver. He traveled to two wineries very close to Rome and spent at least one weekend at Positano on the Amalfi Coast and some time at the Isle of Capri.

Note, however, that Bill has never lost his sense of humor, which is summed up in this, his description of his Columbus Day party:

in 1492, Christopher Columbus (an Italian explorer) left Spain not knowing where he was going; arrived here not knowing where he was; returned home not knowing where he had been, and he did it all on bor­rowed money. Just 488 years later. Bill Pontrello (an Italian attorney) came to Clearwater not knowing how; stayed not knowing why. and practiced law, all on borrowed money!





Pinellas County

619 Chestnut Street

Clearwater, Florida 33756

727 442-0439

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