Nelson Castellano reflects on his 30-year career with Trenam

Nelson T. Castellano is a familiar face at Trenam Law. Now a managing shareholder, he joined the Tampa Bay firm more than 30 years ago. He has spent his entire legal career there. 

Raised in Tampa, Castellano’s professional journey can be traced back to his upbringing and heritage. He was born to a loving, close-knit Italian-American family who valued hard work and excellence. His father, Physician Nelson D. Castellano, was an otolaryngologist, or ear, nose and throat specialist, and a plastic surgeon. 

Growing up as the son of an esteemed physician made a young Castellano recognize the importance of profession and education. “I was driven by my father,” says Castellano. Adding that his father had a “very strong view about wanting his children to be professionals.” Castellano’s work ethic was not only inspired by his father, but his paternal grandfather, who owned and operated an automotive body shop. When Castellano was in high school, he worked for both his father and grandfather. 

Castellano learned many valuable lessons early in life, but he also found that his upbringing limited his view of what a profession can be. As he described it, he had a “narrow view at first.” Besides medicine and auto work, Castellano shared that he “wasn’t aware of many other opportunities.” He even tried to become a doctor, himself, and took pre-medical courses in college. The young Castellano soon realized that medicine and auto mechanics were not among his passions. 

In a stage of discovery, Castellano decided to pursue a career in law and there he found his professional path. Looking back, on his younger self, he articulated that he “now recognizes there are many different ways to grow a business” and succeed. 

Once Castellano joined Trenam, in 1992, it took him some time to determine what areas of legal practice he was most passionate about. After trying various arenas including tax and security law, Castellano became interested in transactional law. 

As Castellano developed his career, he was able to find his calling. This took time, hard work and guidance, he says. 

“Start with learning to listen and being willing to ask for guidance, and help, from those around you. We think we’re supposed to know everything and that’s not the case,” he says. “There’s always something to learn from someone else.”

Castellano’s practice includes business matters, capital rising transactions, venture capital transactions, purchase and sale transactions, and compensation and equity arrangements, among other areas of expertise. 

When discussing what he enjoys most about his profession, Castellano shared that the everyday challenges that come with his work excite him the most. He finds satisfaction, and joy, in “the challenges of working with different businesses, business owners and helping them solve their issues.” Castellano was quick to admit that every transaction case he has been involved in is different. Cases are “never the same” and “issues are always different with transactions,” he elaborated. 

Castellano, who has remained humble throughout his career, is not accustomed to talking about himself. When discussing his personal life, Castellano brought up his relationship with his wife first. “We met on a blind date,” he shared. Even more interesting, they are both from Tampa and never knew each other before their first date. They have been together for more than 30 years.  

Castellano, who loves spending time with his wife, and children, enjoys various athletic hobbies as well, including swimming and basketball. When discussing some of his simplest pleasures, he articulated that he enjoys a good coffee and breakfast every morning. 

Through Castellano’s hard work, drive and passion, he not only has been able to honor his family, but has earned a reputation as a respected and admired lawyer and business leader in the Tampa Bay community. ♦

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