Kelly McKnight is an associate with Appleton Reiss. Ms. McKnight is an experienced trial lawyer who joined Appleton Reiss after many years serving as a trial and litigation attorney with the Florida State Attorney’s Office and the Office of the Statewide Prosecution for the Florida Attorney General. She spent over eight years as an Assistant State Attorney for the Sixth Judicial Circuit, during which time she tried over 80 cases, many involving serious felonies and capital offenses. From 2014 to 2021, Ms. McKnight served as an Assistant Statewide Prosecutor, during which time she also prosecuted and tried multiple complex cases to verdict involving serious felonies and capital offenses including racketeering, environmental crimes, pill mills, wildlife matters, and white-collar crimes.
As part of her work with the Office of the Statewide Prosecution, in 2021, Ms. McKnight was instrumental in developing new legislation for the prosecution of organized crime involving racketeering (RICO) for the poaching of animals and the depletion of Florida’s natural resources. Ms. McKnight also has experience litigating first-party and third-party insurance loss claims involving loss due to water, fire, hurricanes, and sinkholes.
In addition to her extensive trial and litigation experience, Ms. McKnight has served as an adjunct professor of criminal law with the University of South Florida and also has experience teaching law enforcement recruits and officers on various emerging legal issues, including gang prosecution.
Ms. McKnight will apply her extensive litigation skills and trial experience to assist clients of Appleton Reiss with legal disputes and issues of all kinds, including matters involving real property, collections, foreclosures, construction defects, breach of contract, and deed restriction enforcement.Ms. McKnight is a Florida native who was born and raised in Pinellas County, Florida. She graduated from Shorecrest Preparatory School in St. Petersburg, Florida in 1998 and thereafter attended Eckerd College, where she received her bachelor’s degree in political science with high honors in 2001. Ms. McKnight earned her juris doctor from Stetson University College of Law in 2004, graduating cum lade.
- Stetson University, College of Law, J.D., Cum Laude- 2004
- Eckerd College. B.A., with High Honors- 2001
- The Florida Bar, Admitted 2004
PROFESSIONAL & COMMUNITY AFFILIATIONS
- Hillsborough County Bar Association
- The Barney Masterson Inn of Court
- The Florida Bar Sixth Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee (2015-2018) Chairman 2016-2018
HONORS & RECOGNITION
- 2019 & 2020 – Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)- Prosecutor of the Year
- 2019 – City of Tampa Police Department – Chief’s Appreciation Award
- 2011– Prosecutor of the Year – Sixth Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office Awards
- 2009 – Recognized for work with DUI victims by Tampa Bay Removing Intoxicated Drivers
- 2008 – Recognized for work with victims of crime by State Attorney’s Office
- 2006 – Recognized for Domestic Violence work by CASA