Thaxter Cooper began practicing law in 1993 as an associate in the General Civil Litigation Department of Carlton Fields Ward Emmanuel Smith & Cutler, P.A., a large full service law firm. There he represented insurance companies, medical device manufacturers, hospitals, consumer goods manufacturers, and individuals in a variety of civil lawsuits. He enjoyed representing a range people and businesses, but he was drawn to representing people harmed by predators or the carelessness of others. Although civil claims cannot restore health or lifestyle to the injured, they help people adapt.
In 1997 Thaxter joined Wagner, Vaughan & McLaughlin, P.A., a venerable personal injury law firm known for “speaking for the injured.” As an associate and later a partner, he obtained recoveries for scores of clients and tried cases involving veterinary malpractice, automobile negligence, premises liability and ordinary negligence. In 2005, Thaxter started a solo practice, Law Office Thaxter A. Cooper, P.A., expanding his practice to include medical malpractice, VA malpractice, pharmacy negligence, nursing negligence, dental malpractice, and industrial accident claims.
Law is Thaxter’s third career. He served as an Army Officer and a Human Resources professional for eleven years before attending and graduating from Duke University School of Law in 1993. As an attorney, Thaxter served the bar as a member and chair of a local grievance committee, which investigates ethics and professionalism complaints by clients, as Secretary of the Hillsborough County Bar Association, and in various offices, including president, of the George Edgecomb Bar Association. Thaxter also serves as coordinator of the men’s ministry, an usher, and a member of the male chorus at Bible-Based Fellowship of Temple Terrace.
Donna Lee Burke
Donna Lee Burke serves as a Paralegal for the firm and works in all phases of representation. Donna Lee also handles a variety of special projects for the firm. Mrs. Burke has over 25 years of professional experience supporting attorneys in many practice areas, though she concentrated in personal injury claims and medical malpractice, including FTCA. During her career, she also worked in the areas of construction, EPA (including site cleanup), commercial real property, corporate and tax law. Mrs. Burke began working with Mr. Cooper at Carlton Fields in 1995. Since that time they have worked together for over 15 years there and at Wagner, Vaughn & McLaughlin, and Law Office of Thaxter A. Cooper.
Apart from her work in law firms, Mrs. Burke also has experience with special taxing districts and property management, including contract administration, vendor relations, landscaping, commercial property management, staff recruitment and retention, projection planning and execution, all within the setting of a special taxing district. Mrs. Burke graduated from Brandon Senior High School and the University of Tampa, and is active in her community, having served as a Chairman of the Board for a Community Development District (CDD) with over 1,400 homes. She is also active with Girl Scouts, including service on the CEO Volunteer Roundtable and with Boy Scouts as the Committee Chair for her son’s troop. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, reading, swimming and yoga.
Adia Renee Hernandez
Adia Renee Hernandez is a nearly-native Floridian who moved from Tampa to Virginia where she completed her secondary education in 2004 at Brentsville District High School. In 2011 Ms. Hernandez received a Paralegal Certificate from Lord Fairfax Community College before returning to the Sunshine State and joining the firm in 2014 as a legal assistant. In May 2017, she received her A.S. in Paralegal Studies from Hillsborough Community College. Since joining the firm, Ms. Hernandez’ role has expanded involving her in all aspects of law office management and support of the legal team, including personal injury, motor vehicle accident and premises liability claim investigations. Integral to the team’s success, she spearheads investigations, handles document and discovery management, and drafts settlement brochures. Ms. Hernandez is also a licensed Notary Public.
Apart from her work with the firm, Adia attends First Baptist Church of Keystone where she leads the youth group, the choir, and is the co-coordinator of the church’s homeless outreach program. She is devoted to her family and loves spending time with her son, and supporting his many activities including G3 and cub scouts. In her spare time she enjoys reading, writing, swimming, and cooking.