Diego Pestana joins the Suarez Law Firm after gaining extensive experience as a judicial law clerk at different levels of the federal judiciary—from the discovery phase at trial court to the appellate process. He clerked first for U.S. Magistrate Judge Amanda Arnold Sansone at the Middle District of Florida. While clerking for Judge Sansone, Diego worked on a wide range of matters in civil and criminal cases, including discovery disputes, dispositive motions, jury trials, motions to suppress, Garcia hearings, and Social Security appeals. He then went on to clerk for Judge Michael P. Allen of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims in Washington, D.C. With Judge Allen, Diego gained insight into the appellate process, learned how to identify appealable issues, and worked extensively on matters dealing with statutory and regulatory interpretation. Diego then returned to the Middle District to be among the first law clerks to U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle. With Judge Mizelle, Diego helped with case management as well as matters in a wide variety of legal areas, including trade secrets, antitrust law, civil RICO, False Claims Act, and bankruptcy appeals. Diego also served briefly as an Assistant Public Defender at the Hillsborough County Public Defender’s Office for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit.
Diego is a native of the greater Tampa Bay area, having grown up in Spring Hill. After briefly attending the University of Tampa, he obtained his undergraduate degree from Saint Leo University. During college, Diego was a member of University of Tampa’s men’s soccer team as well as Saint Leo University’s men’s soccer team. He was a member of the 2009 UT men’s soccer team that won the Sunshine State Conference. And he was a member of the 2013 Saint Leo men’s soccer team that won the Sunshine State Conference.
Diego graduated cum laude from Stetson University College of Law, where he concentrated in advocacy. He was awarded the Victor O. Wehle Award for excellence in trial advocacy. And he was awarded the E. Harris Drew Memorial Award for dedication to the law and ability to express thoughts orally and in writing. He earned highest-grade designations in Trial Advocacy, Negotiation & Mediation, and Federal Courts. He also excelled in White Collar Crime taught by Professor Ellen S. Podgor. Diego participated in a Study Abroad course entitled Comparative Trial Advocacy at the University of Oxford in England. Diego was an associate of Stetson Law Review and a member of the Moot Court Board. He competed in the Robert Orseck Moot Court Competition (where he argued before the Florida Supreme Court), the National Veterans Law Moot Court Competition, and the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition (the oldest and largest moot court competition in the world).