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Direct Access To Highly Qualified Attorneys

We are a general practice firm, but our team has 100-plus years of collective experience and expertise in niche areas of law. Our credentials include board-certified trial advocacy, board certification in local government law and an advanced degree in elder law.

We strive to be the first and only call our clients need to make, from complex business challenges to personal legal concerns. When you retain our firm, you work one-on-one with a lawyer who concentrates in your specific area. If we do not have the right in-house experience, we help our loyal clients connect with an attorney who does.

Contact us today if you need legal assistance with any of the following:

  • Business Law
  • Insurance Defense
  • Permitting and Government Relations
  • Wills, Trusts & Probate
  • Personal Injury
  • Family Law
  • Real Estate
  • Equine Law

For many years, Paul, Elkind, Branz & Paul has served businesses, local government, individuals and families in DeLand and surrounding areas of central Florida. Our deep familiarity with the local business and political infrastructure of Volusia County helps our clients steer the right course and favorably resolve legal disputes. We are strong believers in forging long-term relationships and giving back to the local communities where we live and work. Call 386-734-3020 today to arrange your free initial consultation.

Attorney Darren J. Elking

Darren Elkind has been practicing law in Volusia County since 1995. He is amongst a select group of lawyers in the state that are board certified by the Florida Bar as specialists in the areas of both civil trial law and city, county and local government law. The National Board of Trial Advocacy has also recognized Mr. Elkind's trial experience by certifying him as a civil trial advocate. Mr. Elkind has been selected to Florida Super Lawyers lists since 2020, an honor which no more than five percent of the lawyers in the state are awarded each year.

Mr. Elkind's litigation practice involves a broad range of matters including commercial disputes, serious personal injuries and numerous disputes involving governmental entities. His recognized expertise in both civil trial law and local government law makes him particularly well suited to handle issues unique to local government claims such as sovereign immunity, land use denials and regulatory matters. Mr. Elkind also represents landowners and developers in select parts of Volusia County in every phase of the land development process and represents clients in administrative proceedings before state and local agencies in matters ranging from licensing to environmental compliance.

Mr. Elkind serves as City Attorney for the City of DeLand and as a special magistrate for the City of Sanford's code enforcement proceedings. He has represented various governmental entities in a range of disputes and advises governmental entities on issues ranging from sovereign immunity to the Sunshine Law.

Mr. Elkind also contributes time to the community, having been a past president and Community Service Director of the DeBary/Deltona/Orange City Rotary Club, a Director of the Volusia Flagler Family YMCA, and as an adjunct professor of Ethics and Law at Stetson University.

Bar Admissions:

  • Florida, 1995
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit, 1996
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida, 1995


  • Syracuse University College of Law, Syracuse, New York
    • J.D. - 1994
  • University of Tampa, Tampa, FL
    • B.S. - 1991

Professional Memberships and Achievements:

  • Volusia County Bar Association, Member
  • The Florida Bar, City, County & Local Government Law Section
  • DeBary/Deltona Rotary Club, Past President, Current Community Service Chair
  • Volusia Flagler Family YMCA, Director
  • Volusia Civil Trial Attorneys' Association, Officer

Attorney Matthew D. Branz

Matthew Branz obtained both his undergraduate and law degrees from Stetson University.  After several years of practicing law, Mr. Branz obtained his LL.M. in the specialized area of Elder Law from Stetson’s College of Law.  Since 2003, Mr. Branz has and continues to represent clients in a variety of civil matters.  However, his education and experience has allowed Mr. Branz to focus a significant portion of his practice on elder law matters, which include estate planning and administration, guardianship and long term care/Medicaid planning.  In addition, Mr. Branz routinely represents clients in family law matters, to include marriage dissolution and child related issues.

Mr. Branz also serves as the City of DeLand’s attorney for code enforcement proceedings and as Hearing Officer for the City of Holly Hill’s red light camera proceedings.

Bar Admissions:

  • Florida, 2003


  • Stetson University College of Law, St. Petersburg, Florida
    • J.D. - 2003
  • Stetson University
    • B.S. - 1995

Professional Memberships and Achievements:

  • Volusia County Bar Association, Member
  • The Florida Bar, Member

Attorney Christopher B. Paul

Mr. Paul received his Juris Doctorate in 2007 from Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center, where he was invited to become a member of the Moot Court Society.  He received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 2003 from the University of Florida.  While at the University of Florida, Mr. Paul was an active member of Florida Blue Key, the oldest and most prestigious leadership honorary within the state of Florida.  Mr. Paul is a member of the Florida Bar and the Volusia County Bar Association.

Bar Admissions:

  • Florida, 2008
  • U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida


  • Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
    • J.D. - 2007
  • University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
    • B.A. - 2003

Attorney Melissa Morgan Paul

Mrs. Morgan Paul specializes in representing homeowners’ insurance carriers in first party property claims and insurance coverage disputes. Mrs. Morgan Paul is based out of our firm’s central Florida DeLand location, and handles matters for the firm’s insurance clients statewide.

Mrs. Morgan Paul is active in Florida Advisory Committee on Arson Prevention (“FACAP”), an organization that fights arson and insurance fraud in the state of Florida. She also attends the annual Florida Insurance Fraud Education Committee (“FIFEC”), a joint effort between law enforcement and the Special Investigation Unit of the insurance industry. Mrs. Morgan Paul is also a member of the Florida Property and Casualty Task Force. Mrs. Morgan Paul has presented as a speaker at the FIFEC conference, as well as Florida Liability Claims Conference (“FLCC”).

Mrs. Morgan Paul is a graduate of Leadership Daytona and served as a past two-term board member of the Florida Defense Lawyers’ Association.

Mrs. Morgan Paul received her Juris Doctorate in 2004 from Stetson University College of Law. During her four years at Radford University, Mrs. Morgan Paul played for the college’s NCAA Division I Volleyball program. She is currently active in the United States Equestrian Federation and United States Eventing Association

Bar Admissions:

  • Florida, 2005
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida, 2005


  • Stetson University College of Law, St. Petersburg, Florida
    • Juris Doctor, Concentration in Health Law - 2004
  • Radford University, Radford, Virginia
    • Bachelor of Arts in Communication and French - 2002

Attorney Harlan L. Paul

Harlan Paul began the practice of law in DeLand, Florida in 1979. He practiced as a partner with the law firm of James, Zimmerman & Paul, LLP until founding the firm of Paul & Elkind, P.A. (the predecessor of Paul, Elkind, Branz & Paul, LLP) in 2003. His practice focuses on real estate, probate and business law matters.

Mr. Paul is AV-Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, the highest rating available for legal ability and ethical standards. He has also been recognized for his legal abilities by being named to the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers and receiving a National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Badge. He is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an organization requiring verdicts or settlements in excess of one Million Dollars each to obtain membership. Mr. Paul has been selected to the Florida Super Lawyers from 2007 through 2021 and is certified as a Civil Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy.

Mr. Paul continues to be active in civic and community matters. He was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush and Congressman John Mica to serve as a member of the Florida Federal Judicial Nominating Commission, to which he was reappointed by Senator Mel Martinez. He was a Member of the Stetson University Board of Trustees from 2004 through 2016 and served as the Chair of the Board of Trustees from 2010 to 2014. He has previously been an Adjunct Professor at Stetson University in the area of Business Law. He is the past President of the Emergency Medical Foundation (EVAC Ambulance) and was a member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors since 1990. He has previously served as a member of the Board of Directors of the West Volusia YMCA. He has served on many other civic and community boards and committees.

Bar Admissions:

  • Florida, 1979
  • U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit


  • Cumberland School of Law, Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama
    • J.D. - 1979
  • Stetson University
    • B.A. - 1976

Professional Memberships and Achievements:

  • Florida Federal Judicial Nominating Commission, Member, 2004 to 2010
  • The Florida Bar, Trial Law Section, Member
  • Volusia County Bar Association, Member
  • Fellow-Litigation Counsel of America

Attorney Harlan G. Paul

Harlan is a lifelong resident of DeLand, Florida with deep roots in the community.  After graduating from DeLand High School, Harlan went on to obtain his bachelor’s and juris doctorate degrees from Stetson University.  Harlan is passionate about the practice of law, and when not at the office, the avid outdoorsman can usually be found on or near the St. Johns River.

Bar Admissions:

  • Florida


  • Stetson University College of Law, Deland, Florida
    • J.D. - 2015
  • Stetson University
    • B.A. - 2012

Professional Memberships and Achievements:

  • Volusia County Bar Association, Member

Attorney Ariel McCann

Aeriel is a second-generation Floridian, having grown up in Fort Myers where she graduated cum laude from Florida Gulf Coast University with a degree in political science. Prior to attending law school, Aeriel worked for a member of the Florida House of Representatives. Aerial worked while at the same time attending law school at the Florida A&M University College of Law. After graduating from law school in 2021, Aeriel began her legal career as an attorney for the State of Florida before transitioning to private practice, where she now focuses on local government law and civil litigation.

Bar Admissions:

  • Florida, 2021


  • Florida A&M University College of Law, Orlando, Florida
    • J.D. - 2021
  • Florida Golf Coast University
    • Honors: cum laude
    • Major: Political Science

Deland Office

142 E. New York Avenue
DeLand, FL 32724

Miami Office

1031 Ives Dairy Road
Suite 228
Miami, FL 33173

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