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


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.
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Since joining the Suarez Law Firm, Diego has worked on a variety of complex criminal and civil matters:

  • Government and internal investigations
  • Healthcare fraud
  • Wire fraud
  • Securities litigation 
  • False Claims Act cases 
  • Employment-defense litigation
  • Construction litigation 
  • University disciplinary appeals 
  • Federal appeals 
  • DUI defense 
  • Employment and separation agreements 

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. 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).

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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

    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)