F. Shields McManus
“After retiring from the Circuit Court bench, I became a mediator to help people resolve their legal conflicts successfully and expeditiously. My experience as a trial judge and as a trial lawyer has contributed to my skills as a mediator. “
F. Shields McManus grew up in South Florida and achieved a Bachelor of Arts degree from Florida State University. He then graduated from the FSU College of Law with Honors. While at FSU he was commissioned an artillery officer in the United States Army Reserve.
Moving to Martin County, Shields began his career in a small Stuart law firm which had a general practice. He acquired a wide variety of legal experience including probate, guardianship, real estate and construction law. He represented many men and women in their divorces .
Shields was one of the first lawyers in the Treasure Coast who represented condominium and home owner associations in takeovers from developers. He represented condominium unit owners in the first trial in Florida challenging a 99-year recreation lease. He has represented many condominium and home owner associations as general counsel.
Gaining a greater exposure in a new partnership, Shields tried civil cases all over Florida and in several other states. He capably represented injured persons and families of deceased who were victims of motor vehicle crashes and medical malpractice. He has tried over 100 jury trials.
After a successful career advancing from a small practice to a partnership in the largest law firm on the Treasure Coast, Shields was appointed by the governor to be a circuit court judge. During his decade on the bench Shields served in the civil, family, probate and juvenile divisions of the circuit courts in Martin, Okeechobee, and St. Lucie Counties. In the two years since he retired as a circuit court judge Shields has mediated over 125 disputes including divorces, civil suits, probate claims, and community association matters.
Shields has been given the highest peer review rating of “AV Preeminent” by Lexis Martindale Hubble for many years and was Board Certified in Civil Trial Law from 1982 until he became a judge. He has served his profession and community in many capacities, often serving as board member, chairman or president, including the Martin County Bar Association, the Florida Bar Committees, the Florida Bar Foundation, Florida Rural Legal Services, the Stuart-Martin County Chamber of Commerce, the Martin County Local Planning Agency, Stuart Mainstreet, St. Joseph Catholic School, Tykes and Teens mental health care, and the Chapman School of Seamanship. In 2018 he was appointed to serve on the Florida Commission on Ethics.