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Michele Rayner-Goolsby

Michele Rayner-Goolsby

Michele's Credentials
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Michele is a Florida native and was born and raised in Pinellas County. A graduate of Lakeside Christian School in Clearwater, she majored in political science and international affairs while attending Florida State University and was inducted into Delta Sigma Theta sorority. After earning her bachelor’s degree, Michele earned a Master of Science in International Affairs from Florida State University.

Upon graduation, Michele attended Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville, where she concentrated on criminal law and civil rights law. After law school, Michele became an Assistant Public Defender for the Sixth Judicial Circuit for Pinellas County. She also worked as a Legislative Aide for former State Senator Arthenia Joyner.

After her tenure as an Assistant Public Defender, Michele went into private practice as the Founder and Principal Attorney at Civil Liberty Law. Because of her stellar work on cases that rose to national prominence, including those of Markeis McGlockton, Yasmine James, and Barbara Pinkney, Michele quickly became an emerging voice on the issues of criminal justice reform, education, health, and economic disparities, and race and gender issues both locally and nationally.

Michele, following the example of her community-minded parents, has also served as a volunteer attorney for the Pinellas County Law Fest and the Clearwater Bar Legal Fair as well as local counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. She is a member of the I Support Youth Board of Directors and a member of the Florida Bar Association’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

In 2020, Michele became the first black queer woman elected to Florida’s legislature. She triumphed over three other candidates in the primary for the Florida House of Representatives seat vacated by Wengay Newton (who chose to run for the Pinellas County Commission). Michele garnered nearly one-third of the vote in the primary and was elected without opposition in the general election. During her campaign, she was endorsed by U.S. Representative Charlie Crist, the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida, Equality Florida, and the Florida Education Association.

Michele joins Denmon Pearlman’s Criminal Defense team alongside Lee Pearlman.

When she’s not practicing law or off making the State of Florida a better place during her legislative sessions, Michele enjoys cooking and spending time with her wife Bianca, and their three dogs.

 

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Michele Rayner-Goolsby's Credentials

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