Ex-Buc Culpepper to hang out his own shingle

He's leaving Morgan & Morgan to start a firm with his brother-in-law.

By Helen Huntley, Times Staff Writer
Published March 3, 2007

Brad Culpepper is taking his legal game to the next level. After honing his skills at Morgan & Morgan for the past five years, the former nose tackle for the Tampa Bay Bucs has formed his own team.

He and his brother-in-law, Brett Kurland, opened an office in the Bank of America Building in downtown Tampa this week, taking five Morgan & Morgan employees with them. They plan to do the same type of personal injury cases they handled at Morgan & Morgan.

"When I got my law degree, there was no way I could have gone out on my own and practiced," Culpepper said. "John Morgan taught me the ropes. I respect him and I love him to death, but I want to be my own boss."

Culpepper, 37, and Kurland, 36, were two of the top producers at Morgan & Morgan and among the most recognizable faces in its ubiquitous "for the people" advertising.

"We're a good Mutt and Jeff team," Culpepper said. "We're both probably type A personalities, but I'm more of a macro manager and he's more of a micro manager." Kurland is married to Culpepper's sister.

Culpepper & Kurland will be a heavy advertiser, but Culpepper said the firm has yet to come up with a catchy slogan like "for the people."

Both sides described the split as amicable. Culpepper compared it to former Bucs assistant Lovie Smith leaving his mentor Tony Dungy to pursue a head coaching career. Morgan compared it to baby birds leaving the nest.

"My baby birds are going to fly and I hope they turn into eagles," he said.

Morgan & Morgan has about 90 lawyers in Florida and has opened offices in Atlanta and Phoenix.

Helen Huntley can be reached at hhuntley@sptimes.com or 727893-8230.