Attorney, Barnett Bolt Kirkwood Long Koche & Foster, P.A.
Alma mater: University of Tampa, Florida State University and University of Florida
The law is hereditary in estate and tax planning attorney Matthew Evans’ family. Both of his parents were attorneys, as were their fathers (and their fathers). “I find it to be a rewarding and intellectually stimulating career that constantly presents new and interesting puzzles to solve,” Evans says. It also provided a bit of a break from a scary ordeal he and his family underwent early last year. His son was diagnosed with a rare brain condition called a Chiari malformation, which causes the brain tissue to extend into the spinal canal. He eventually had neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg. “The entire process was extremely frightening and overwhelming, but we were so grateful to the hospital — and Drs. Jallo and Carey, in particular — for the level of care we received and our experience as a whole.” Evans and his wife, Candace, decided to give back to the hospital that had helped their family so much. Evans is now the president of the South Tampa branch of the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Foundation Guild, which works to raise resources and awareness to support the hospital through events like a recent father-daughter dance. “We wanted to get more involved on a personal level and hopefully give something back,” Evans says.
What is your current occupation? Tell me a little bit about what you do in your position.
I am an attorney with the firm of Barnett, Bolt, Kirkwood, Long, Koche & Foster, where I focus primarily on estate and tax planning, as well as matters such as business succession planning, charitable giving and tax-exempt organizations, and the administration of trusts and estates, among others.
How did you choose your profession?
To some extent, I guess you could say the practice of law chose me, given that both of my parents are attorneys, as were both of my grandfathers (and their fathers too, for that matter). I find it to be a rewarding and intellectually stimulating career that constantly presents new and interesting puzzles to solve.
What nonprofits/charitable organizations are you involved with?
My wonderful wife, Candace, and I are very involved with the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Foundation Guild, and I am currently the President of the South Tampa branch. The Guild works with Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital to raise resources and awareness to support this world class institution and the ground-breaking research taking place there on a daily basis. Just recently, the South Tampa Guild participated in hosting an inaugural father-daughter dance called “Some Enchanted Evening” at the Orlo in Hyde Park, which was a great success and the first of many to follow (and included mini-unicorns).
Regarding the last question, why did you choose to become involved with that particular organization, or why did you choose to found your own?
In early 2018, my son was diagnosed with a rare brain condition known as a Chiari Malformation, which, after numerous consultations and trips out of state, ultimately resulted in him undergoing neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. The entire process was extremely frightening and overwhelming, but we were so grateful to the Hospital (and Drs. Jallo and Carey, in particular) for the level of care he received and our experience there as a whole, we decided we wanted to get involved on a more personal level and hopefully give something back.
Fill in the blank. When I’m not in the office, you can find me…
Spending time with my family.
Who is your mentor, and why?
I have been fortunate to be surrounded by wonderful, caring people all of my life, especially my parents, but in the professional realm I would say Peter Kirkwood and Les Barnett, two tremendous attorneys I have the privilege of working with every day.
Do you have a motto or philosophy you live by?
“Measure twice, cut once.”
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received, and from whom did you receive it?
“Take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves,” from my father-in-law, Frank Wright
What do you love most about Tampa?
The view from my office of Bayshore and the Hillsborough Bay on a still morning as the sun comes up, made all the better if the dolphins are playing or chasing bait.
What is the last book you read or your favorite book?
I am currently reading A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, and my favorite book is The First Circle by Alexandr Solzhenitsyn.
Which app on your phone could you not live without, and why?
Google Calendar. It helps keep my wife (who is a successful realtor) and me in sync from a scheduling perspective.
What is your dream vacation?
I went to New Zealand after college, and I think my dream vacation would be to return there with my wife and children. I would also like to take a cruise through the fjords of Norway.