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Apolonia “Apple” Santibañez

EDUCATION

  • Stetson University College of Law, Juris Doctorate, Pro Bono Honors
  • Florida State University, Bachelor’s of Arts, International Affairs & Interdisciplinary SocialSciences

LANGUAGES

PROUD MEMBER OF

  • The Florida Bar
  • Florida Justice Association
  • St. Petersburg Bar Association
Won Cases
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Apolonia is the total package because she has literally done it all. Her depth of experience is incredible and it gives her an edge as she can see the complete picture for her clients. She leverages this to secure fantastic wins. With an eye for detail and a heart for service, Apolonia is an incredible asset in the Farah & Farah Tampa office.

Chuck Farah
Senior Partner at Farah & Farah.

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Meet Apolonia “Apple” Santibañez

Apolonia Santibañez is a personal injury attorney in Tampa working at the Farah & Farah office just off West Kennedy Boulevard. Apolonia, or “Apple”, is a rarity among attorneys in that she has worked her way from legal assistant, to paralegal, to case manager, and then practicing attorney. Along the way, she has distinguished herself in every position she has undertaken and gained a tremendous amount of first-hand experience in every single aspect of what it takes to win. Her mastery of the details is what truly matters when a client’s future is on the line.

My Journey From Litigation Paralegal to Case Manager to Attorney

I began my legal career as a legal assistant and paralegal. I gained a tremendous amount of experience from several different law firms, but I’ve always found myself in personal injury. I eventually moved up into a case manager role, where you’re really handling all the details of a case to make sure it’s progressing smoothly. During law school, I was lucky enough to intern with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Elder Justice Initiative, which was another incredible experience. After making it through law school and passing the Florida Bar, I was so proud to finally become a practicing attorney at Farah & Farah.
 
That journey may have seemed long at the time, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Having done all of the tasks I ask of my own support staff, I know exactly what we need to get the job done well. I can also connect with my team better because I’ve literally been in their shoes. Thatbenefits me as we work together to get the best possible results for our clients.
 
Having experience as a legal assistant, trial paralegal, and case manager before I became an attorney helps me stay as self-sufficient as I possibly can. There are many tasks that I can help with because I’ve done those jobs before. I’ve even spent time in a small firm where I worked just about every position imaginable, from intake and marketing to the front desk. That holistic viewpoint is what helps me see everything that’s required to maximize the recovery I’m able to seek for my clients.

Deadlines and Paperwork: It All Comes Down to the Details

A benefit to working as a personal injury paralegal was that I gained a lot of familiarity with the litigation side, which is where lawsuits are filed and cases can go to court. There are so many deadlines and different actions that need to take place at the right time in order to move cases forward.

When I became an attorney, I decided to stay in personal injury as a pre-litigation attorney. Pre-litigation is where cases go when they first come in, so I get to be with my clients from the very start. Because I’ve seen the process so many times, something I truly excel in is making sure we have all of the details correct and staying well ahead of any deadlines.

Getting a deserving client across the finish line when the other side agrees to our number is an incredible feeling. There is a huge degree of satisfaction in knowing that my clients get to walk away happy and that I lived up to their expectations as an accident attorney.

I Prioritize Never Missing a Client’s Call

A big priority in my day is answering my clients’ phone calls as they come in. I truly do my best not to let a client’s call get missed or leave any questions unanswered. Having a client-first mindset means each client feels like they are being heard and are valued. I love getting to work at a law firm that puts clients first in everything they do because that’s exactly how I want to treat each and every client that comes through my door.

A case that I’ll likely never forget involved a young man who was just 20 years old when he was in a car accident. He actually broke his ankle trying to slam on the brakes and avoid a collision after a vehicle pulled in front of him. The insurance policy limits were fairly low and they refused to offer anything substantial because the other driver never admitted fault. This young man was so sweet and deserving. He was never angry or impatient, even after his fracture became infected creating life long injuries from this unfortunate accident.

When the insurance company refused to offer anything, we filed suit to bring them to the table and hold them accountable. Just before the case went to trial, the insurance company wound upsettling for just under $1,000,000. The young man was so kindhearted that his first thought with the initial disbursement was to pay back his sister who had taken him to so many of his doctor’s appointments.

Where You’ll Find Me on the Weekends

I absolutely love every sport there is, which makes Tampa an awesome place to live because we have so much to offer sports fans here. Maybe it’s because of my Hispanic heritage, but I am a huge soccer fan. While studying abroad in London, I really got into the Premier League and would say I am a Tottenham fan through and through.

Here in town, I go to the Tampa Bay Rowdies games as often as I can. The Tampa Bay Lightning and the Rays also deserve shoutouts. I can say that I was a fan even before the Rays started getting good. I have to root for my hometown Bucs on Sundays; but, since I also spent alot of time in Jacksonville, I’ll always have a soft spot for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Seeing prettymuch any game in person is amazing for the gameday atmosphere.

I also love theater and try to support our local theaters as often as I can. If I’m feeling spunky, Tampa and St. Petersburg have some awesome karaoke spots around town. Although, the Hollander Hotel and St. Petersburg Pier are near my home and might just be two of my favorite spots around.

If I have some extra time for community service, I’ll work as a legal observer for the ACLU at a variety of protests. Legal observers are there to make sure everyone’s rights are protected. I’ve also done work with Habitat for Humanity and pro bono service through the DOJ’s Elder Justice Initiative. All of these experiences completely mesh with who Farah & Farah is as a company. We are in the business of helping people and I’m grateful I get to do that every day I’m here.

Farah and Farah Cares About the Community, and So Do I

Something that is very important to me is being an active member of my local community. The team at Farah and Farah fully embodies this belief and puts it into practice. I knew from my first day that the folks at Farah and Farah have a passion for helping people. Though the Orlando office is an outpost of Farah and Farah, I still feel a deep connection to the community-mindedness.

As a personal injury lawyer at Farah and Farah, I have had the opportunity to invest in the area around where I work and live. Like Farah and Farah, I believe that we have a responsibility to our local community to provide fair representation and give back however we are able.

Being located in Orlando, I have the unique opportunity to indulge in one of my passions—music. One thing about the Orlando area is that there is never a shortage of concerts and events. One of my favorite pastimes is to attend local concerts. When I am not working hard on a case, I enjoy spending time with good friends, enjoying live rock music at the Amway or just hanging out with my dog, Texas, at the many dog parks we have around. As a member of the Orlando community, I never want for something fun to do.

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