The Suarez Law Firm, P.A. » Diego M. Pestana


Diego Pestana is an attorney with the Suarez Law Firm. Before joining the firm, he gained extensive experience as a judicial law clerk at different levels of the federal judiciary—from the discovery phase at trial to the appellate process. While clerking, 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. The legal areas he worked on included veterans appeals, class actions, trade secrets, antitrust, civil RICO, False Claims Act, and bankruptcy appeals.

Since joining the Suarez Law Firm, Diego has worked on a variety of complex and civil matters. He has tried cases in state and federal courts. His successes include obtaining dismissals of criminal charges, negotiating favorable outcomes for criminal defendants, obtaining favorable settlements in commercial litigation cases, and success in federal appeals.

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He has worked on various white-collar criminal cases involving government and internal investigations, financial fraud, healthcare fraud, public corruption, money laundering, racketeering (criminal RICO), and obstruction. His other criminal-defense cases have involved murder, vehicular homicide, DUI, theft, drug possession, burglary, and Stand Your Ground.

Diego maintains a robust civil practice, including commercial and business litigation, civil RICO litigation, securities litigation, False Claims Act litigation, and constitutional litigation. He has also experience in administrative law, including matters before the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Florida Department of Education, and Florida Public Employees Relation Commission. He has successfully handled appeals, including appeals at the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, appeals in administrative agencies, and student-disciplinary appeals. Diego is also a volunteer attorney for the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program and the Institute for Justice.

Diego is a native of the greater Tampa Bay area, having grown up in Spring Hill. He obtained his undergraduate degree from Saint Leo University, where he was a member of the men’s soccer team that won the 2013 Sunshine State Conference. Diego graduated cum laude from Stetson University College of Law, where he concentrated on advocacy. He was awarded the Victor O. Wehle Award for excellence in trial advocacy. He was awarded the E. Harris Drew Memorial Award for his dedication to the law and his 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.

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Professional and Civic Activities

Federal Bar Association

  • Public Service Task Force, 2019-2020
  • Federal Bar Association, Washington D.C. Chapter

  • Board Member, 2019-2020
  • Young Lawyers Division Committee, 2019-2020
  • Federal Bar Association, Tampa Bay Chapter
  • Board Member, 2021-present
  • Young Lawyers Division Committee, 2017-2019
  • Staying in the Game Committee, 2019
  • Tampa Hispanic Bar Association

    • Board of Directors, 2020-present
    • Young Lawyers Division Co-Chair, 2021-present

    Judicial Nominating Commission, Thirteenth Judicial Circuit (Governor appointee)

    • Member, 2022-present

    Eleventh Circuit Historical Society

    • Member, 2022-present

    Hillsborough County Bar Association

    • Criminal Law Section Co-Chair, 2022-present
    • Bar Leadership Institute, 2021-2022
    J. Clifford Cheatwood American Inn of Court, 2021-present
    The Federalist Society

    Knights of Columbus

    • Deputy Grand Knight, Epiphany of Our Lord Catholic Church Council

    Ancient Order of Hibernians

    • President, Pinellas Division 2
    • State Legal Counsel

    National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

    • Advisory Board, The Champion, 2022-present

    Bar Admissions

    • Florida
    • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida
    • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida
    • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
    • United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
    • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado
    • United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

    Honors and Awards

    • 2024 Best Lawyers – Ones to Watch: Commercial Litigation

    • 2023 Lawyers of Distinction: Criminal Defense

    10.0Diego M. Pestana
    Ed Suarez

    Presentations and Publications


    Moderator, Getting Hired in Tampa Bay, Tampa Hispanic Bar Association (June 2022)


    Moderator, Solo but Not Alone, Tampa Hispanic Bar Association (November 2021)


    Panelist, Insight into the Judicial Clerkship Experience, Federal Bar Association Tampa Bay Chapter (July 2021)


    Moderator, Judicial Panel, HCBA State Court Trial Webinar (June 2021)


    Diego M. Pestana, Originalism as Faith, Fed. Law., January-February 2021 at 70 (book review).


    Natalia Reyna-Pimiento & Diego M. Pestana, The International Child Abduction Remedies Act: Recovery of Attorney’s Fees and Costs in Pro Bono Cases, 35 Family Law Commentator, Fall 2020, at 17.


    Diego M. Pestana, The “Feel” of a Case: Virtue Decision-making as the Correct Approach for Deciding Cases in Equity, 31 St. Thomas L. Rev. 17.


    Diego M. Pestana, A Debt Against the Living: An Introduction to Originalism, Fed. Law., Oct. 2018 at 66 (book review).


    Diego Pestana, Recent Developments, 46 Stetson L. Rev. 716 (discussing Chmielewski v. City of St. Pete Beach, No. 8:13-CV-3170-T-27MAP, 2016 WL 761032 (M.D. Fla. Feb. 26, 2016)).

    Previous Experience


    Law Clerk to the Honorable Kathryn Kimball Mizelle (2021)


    Assistant Public Defender, Thirteenth Judicial Circuit (2020)


    Law Clerk to the Honorable Michael P. Allen (2019-2020)


    Law Clerk to the Honorable Amanda Arnold Sansone (2017-2019)