Areas of Practice
Complex or catastrophic injury cases including matters arising from motor vehicle crashes, medical malpractice, legal malpractice, aviation accidents, probate and trust litigation, and litigation against the cigarette industry.
100% of Practice Devoted to Litigation
Certified Legal Specialties
Board Certified in Civil Trial Law, Florida Bar
U.S. District Court Northern District of Florida, 1990
U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida, 1991
- University of Florida College of Law, Gainesville, Florida
- J.D. 1989
- Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge University (1988)
- University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
- B.S. 1986
Honors and Awards
Named Best Lawyer in 18th Edition of Best Lawyers in America, 2012
Selected by Reuters as Florida Super Lawyer, 2012
Selected by LawDragon as one of the 500 Best Plaintiff Attorneys in America, 2007
AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell
Professional Associations and Memberships
Florida Justice Association, Member
Florida Justice Association, Board of Directors, 1995 – 2001
Trial Lawyers Section of the Florida Bar, Executive Council, 2001-2004
Chapter President, North Central Florida Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates, 2006-2007, 2015-Current
Eighth Circuit Bar Association Grievance Committee, 2011-2014
Past Employment Positions
Alachua County, Sheriff’s Deputy
Mark A. Avera
Like his father before him, Mark Avera has a history of many years of service to the people of Florida. His knowledge and understanding of the legal needs of his clients come not only from the practice of law, but from his early career as sheriff’s deputy in Alachua County.
Before becoming a law partner at Avera & Smith in 1989 (then Avera & Avera), Mark served as a sheriff’s deputy for Alachua County. He became the department’s youngest deputy ever to be promoted to the rank of Sergeant. His primary assignments were uniform patrol division, SWAT, and the supervision of the department’s Street Crimes Unit.
Mark completed his bachelor’s degree at the University of Florida while working midnight shifts for the Sheriff’s Department and went on to graduate from UF with a law degree. Today, Mark serves as Managing Partner for Avera & Smith and works alongside his brother, Lance Avera, who specializes in workers compensation law, and partner Rod Smith, who specializes in personal injury law.
Mark is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law (B.C.S.) by the Florida Bar. He received his initial certification in 1998 and has remained qualified for board certification in civil trial law since that time. Board Certification is the Florida Bar’s highest level of evaluation in competence and experience within a specific area of law, and indicates superior professionalism and ethics in practice. Only slightly more than 1,000 of the more than 100,000 lawyers currently licensed in the State of Florida are actually Board Certified in Civil Trial Law.
During his career, Mark’s professionalism and dedication to his work as a trial advocate are reflected by his induction into the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) and in 2015 his induction into the International Society of Barrister’s. His accomplishments in the courtroom are recognized yearly in legal publications such as Florida Trend’s Legal Elite, Florida’s Super Lawyers, and in 2007 he was recognized by Lawdragon as one of the top 500 Plaintiff’s lawyers in America.
After the landmark Supreme Court decision in Engle v. Liggett Group, Inc., Mark has been involved representing Engle plaintiffs against various tobacco companies responsible for the deaths of smokers who began smoking as children in the 1940’s and 1950’s.
Beyond his professional achievements, he believes in community service to give back to the community that has been an integral part of his life.
Mark serves on the Board of Directors for the Santa Fe College Foundation and in the past served on the Boards of Directors for the Children’s Home Society, North Central Florida Community Foundation, and the Executive Committee of the North Florida Heart Ball, American Heart Association.
An accomplished pilot of many years, he holds flight certifications in both single-engine aircraft and multi-engine aircraft, and is rated in four different models of the Cessna Citation jet as well as the Eclipse Jet. He holds an Airline Transport Pilot rating from the Federal Aviation Authority. Turning his passion for flying to good purpose, Mark frequently volunteers his skill as a pilot for medical assistance flights, helping secure organs for patients in need from all over the Southeast.
Mark is married to the former Stacy Marie Upchurch and their blended family consists of four children; Alexandria, Danielle, Myles, and Weston. They all enjoy the outdoors and travel.