Attorney Michael Goodson is the managing attorney of the Fort Walton Beach office. He received his Juris Doctor with Honors from the University of Florida and is currently working toward a Masters of Business Administration at the University of Florida. Prior to law school, he earned his Bachelors of Science in Psychology with High Honors and a Bachelors of Music with Honors from the University of Florida. He also took the time to earn a Master of Music in Instrumental Performance between his undergraduate degree and law school. He is married to Erin and they have a daughter, Evelyn.
Studying psychology taught Michael how to analyze people so that he can better understand, connect with, and help them. Studying music taught him how to prepare for performances. He believes that the combination of these two forms of thought – analytical and artistic – make him an effective lawyer.
Prior to joining The Virga Law Firm, Michael was an Assistant State Attorney in Panama City, Florida. He prosecuted a variety of criminal cases, from local ordinance violations to capital crimes. He enjoyed his work at the State Attorney’s Office because he was able to hone his skills as a trial lawyer against some of the best and brightest defense attorneys.
One of Michael's major professional accomplishments has been being named a “Best of Bay” lawyer in his first year with a private practice firm. In addition, he is a committee member of the Family Law Children’s Issues committee, the Family Law Membership committee, and the Family Law Rules & Forms committee. He attributes his success to making good connections with the community as a prosecutor and earning his clients’ trust early on in his private practice career.
Michael practices family law because he sees it as the most diverse area of law; on any given day he will address issues in criminal law, property law, contract law, just to name a few. Many of these areas of law contribute to many one-on-one interactions that he believes are key in family law issues, as family law is inherently personal. A retained lawyer needs to be compassionate about the people and the work they are doing.
Attorney Michael would say that the ideal client is someone who needs his help and is willing to work with him to get the best possible results. Identifying his clients’ goals is his first objective as a lawyer because the goals of most clients change and develop as the case goes on. Often, the client’s goals in a family law case are not what they think they are; a client may want more money or property, when what they really want is something more personal and less monetary. Helping clients recognize this makes cases go faster and smoother because family law cases tend to be long and emotionally exhausting.