Tampa, Fla. — In his first year of official involvement with the organization, Jaime Austrich, an attorney with Tampa’s Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP, (SLK) has been selected to serve as the Plant High Rowing Association’s board president, effective June 1. Austrich has served as vice-president and the team’s volunteer coordinator during its current season and has provided pro bono legal assistance to the organization for the last several years.
Austrich became involved in rowing when his daughter, Madison, joined the Plant High team as a freshman three years ago. Her interest in rowing bloomed after hearing friends active in the sport talk it up and she has already experienced great success on the water. She is now exploring athletic scholarship opportunities for her college education.
Madison’s participation has come during a period of rapid growth for the Plant High team. The team’s ranks have doubled in the past three years. Around 135 Plant High students now participate in the sport—roughly 5 percent of the entire school.
The team has also produced tremendous results. Plant High only launched its sculling program this season, but has already captured the Scholastic Sculling State title, plus four individual boat titles. Twenty Plant High scullers, including Austrich’s daughter, have qualified for the Scholastic national championships. That contest will be held in May in
New Jersey. In addition to the sculling program’s success, Plant High sweeps rowers took home three state titles at this past weekend’s Florida championships, and 63 athletes overall won medals.
Austrich’s pro bono work with the team has largely involved overseeing contracts and insurance agreements for the team’s equipment, facilities and travel. The team leases the land under its boathouse for training on the Palm River and travels to several regattas around the state, and the South, each year.
As the head of the SLK litigation group, Austrich often represents domestic and foreign corporations in complex commercial disputes. While he became involved with the Plant High Rowing Association because of his daughter’s enthusiasm for the sport, he is uniquely qualified to handle the many issues the team must regularly deal with.
“Because of my work at SLK, I’m very comfortable working with detailed contracts and lease agreements, and I’m proud to put that expertise to work helping Plant High’s student-athletes train and compete at such a high level,” Austrich says.
Austrich has also become the team’s unofficial photographer, regularly sharing between 150 and 300 photos from each weekend regatta with the athletes and their parents. Attending weekend regattas from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m., he still stays up late to make sure his images are posted to a shared site by Monday morning.
While Madison will be graduating from Plant High next year, Austrich has developed a deep love for rowing and says he wants to remain involved in the association for years to come. But his 11-year-old daughter, Morgan, is an avid swimmer.
Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP is a full-service business law firm with more than 225 lawyers, 55 paralegals and 475 employees in five offices: Toledo and Columbus, Ohio; Tampa and Sarasota, Fla.; and Charlotte, N.C. In each of its markets, Shumaker is the premier provider of quality legal services to individuals, small businesses, health care providers, nonprofits and Fortune 500 and international corporations.