Al Ward is recognized throughout the professional community for his depth of experience and knowledge in the employee benefits area. Prior to entering the practice of law, he was an actuarial and employee benefits consultant for over eight years.

Al has focused for over four decades on executive deferred compensation, employee benefits, trusts and taxation. He represents many clients including publicly traded and privately held, taxable and tax-exempt entities and professional corporations with respect to their benefit programs. Al has extensive experience representing clients in disputes with the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Department of Labor and Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

Al served as chairman of the Tampa Bay Pension Council from 1991 to 2012. He was a founding board member and past president of the Florida West Coast Employee Benefits Council. He serves as employee benefits counsel for The Florida Bar, is a member of the Southern Employee Benefits Conference, and a member of the Employee Benefits Committee of the Tax Section of the American Bar Association. He is a Fellow in the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel.

Al has received numerous professional recognitions including being inducted into America's Top 100 Attorneys for the State of Florida.

Al has long been active in Tampa's civic, charitable and social organizations. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Canterbury Towers. He served as president and a member of the Board of Trustees of The Tampa Club and has served on the Board of Directors of The University Club, Hillsborough Education Foundation, Goodwill Industries/Suncoast and Hillsborough Association for Retarded Citizens.


  • AV Preeminent® Rating, Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review
  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyer, Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (2016-2024)
  • Chambers USA: Senior Statesperson, Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation (2024)
  • Florida Super Lawyers (2006-2024)
  • Florida Trend’s Legal Elite (2004-2011)
  • Leading Florida Attorneys (1996-2007)
  • Tampa Top Lawyers (2016-2017): Employee Benefits Law
  • The Best Lawyers in America® (1995-2024)
    • 2023 Employee Benefits (ERISA) Lawyer of the Year
    • 2018 Tampa Employee Benefits (ERISA) Lawyer of the Year 
    • 2016 Tampa Employee Benefits (ERISA) Lawyer of the Year
    • 2010 Tampa Employee Benefits (ERISA) Lawyer of the Year
  • TAMPA Magazine's Top Lawyers (2023)
    • Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law

Credentials & Experience


University of Georgia, B.A., 1970

Stetson University College of Law, J.D., 1982

  • Law Review
  • Freshman Moot Court: Outstanding Participant

Bar Admissions

American Bar Association

The Florida Bar

Hillsborough County Bar Association

Court Admissions

U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida

Professional & Civic

Community & Professional

  • Canterbury Towers: Board of Directors 
  • The Group, Inc.
  • Gulf Coast Area TE/GE Council: Membership Chairman (2007-2010)
  • American College of Employee Benefits Counsel: Fellow
  • Southern Employee Benefits Conference
  • Florida West Coast Employee Benefits Council
    • Past President
    • Founding Board Member
    • Board of Directors (1984-1989)
  • Tampa Bay Pension Council
    • Chairman (1991-2012)
    • Founding Member
  • Special Operations Warrior Foundation: Board of Directors 
  • Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla: Member 
  • Palma Ceia Golf & Country Club: Member 


News & Insights

Articles & Publications

  • Assessing the Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plan: A Guide for the Benefits Professional. (July 2005). Employee Benefit Plan Review.


Chambers USA ranks the leading lawyers and law firms across the USA. Legal rankings are based on in-depth market analysis and independent research, conducted by an experienced team of researchers. Individual lawyers are ranked in their practice area(s) based on legal knowledge and experience, ability, effectiveness and client service.

“Alton provides outstanding expertise in employee benefits.” Client quote, Chambers USA 2024

"He knows our industry and high-level business projects are handled in an excellent manner. He is a very seasoned lawyer." Client quote, Chambers USA 2023

"He is a highly thought-of and top-rated lawyer. He is very knowledgeable, has a lot of experience and is also a problem solver." Client quote, Chambers USA 2022

Jump to Page

By using this site, you agree to our updated Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use.