Sami Thalji is a native Floridian, born in Clearwater and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida. Sami spent much of his childhood and teenage years working various jobs throughout Pinellas County, including Clearwater Beach, St. Petersburg Beach, Pinellas Park, Largo, Belleair Beach, and the Countryside area. Sami graduated from Osceola High School in Seminole, Florida before attending and receiving my Bachelor of Science and Juris Doctor from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. Sami started his legal career in law enforcement as a public servant in Tampa at the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office. In 4 short years, Sami personally handled thousands of cases and worked in every department at the State Attorney’s Office. Sami led the first ever juvenile rocket docket program where he handled thousands of files as the lone prosecutor. Sami also worked in the Domestic Violence, Misdemeanor and DUI divisions. During his time prosecuting drunk drivers and domestic violence offenders, Sami tried more then 50 DUI jury trials and 12 domestic violence jury trials. Sami was ultimately promoted to the felony division where he earned the job of Felony Lead Trial Attorney within one year. During his time in felony court, Sami tried more then 50 jury trials, including 38 jury trials in his last 12 months as a prosecutor. On Sami’s last day as a prosecutor he spent it trying a jury trial for armed robbery and kidnapping. Sami’s dedication to his job led to a promotion to the Major Crimes Division. During his time as a felony prosecutor, Sami tried serious cases such as kidnapping, armed robbery, sexual assault, various 10-20-Life cases, carjacking, manslaughter, arson, DUI serious bodily injury, attempted murder, and murder. Sami won more than 90% of his jury trials while at the State Attorney’s Office, including a perfect 5-0 record in murder trials.
Once Sami left the State Attorney’s Office, he joined a statewide criminal defense firm. During his two years there, he tried many high profile defense cases, including the successful defense of an 18 year old man wrongfully accused of a hate crime by the Pinellas County Sheriff and the Pinellas County State Attorney. The hate crime case received an extreme amount of media attention and took more than 1 year of litigation, 2 jury trials and 1 mistrial to resolve. Once Sami presented his closing arguments the jury deliberated only 5 minutes before returning a verdict of not guilty on the hate crime. Sami has often said that case was one of his proudest moments as a lawyer. Sami’s client was clearly not guilty of the hate crime and Sami’s work revealed the State’s heavy handed tactics were employed solely for cheap political gain rather than the pursuit of justice.
After two years working as a criminal defense attorney, Sami moved on to a new challenge. Sami started STAMATAKIS + THALJI + BONANNO with his colleague, law school classmate, and friends, Scott Stamatakis and Robert Bonanno. Initially, STB represented banks in foreclosure actions. Ultimately, STB evolved into one of the state’s largest and most effective full service, consumer justice firm. STB represents consumers throughout the State of Florida in auto accident and personal injury claims, sinkhole claims, bankruptcy, foreclosure defense, collections defense, loan modifications, short sales, real estate, title insurance, and credit repair.
Sami has also helped build a significant practice in the area of debtor’s rights. Sami has helped hundreds of Floridians and school teachers modify their student loans and has also filed lawsuits against numerous creditors for violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act.
When Sami is not in court or at the office you will probably find him at Oscar Cooler Park where he coaches numerous competitive youth soccer teams.
- 60% of Practice Devoted to Litigation
- Florida, 1999
- U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida, 2008
- University of Florida College of Law, Gainesville, Florida
- J.D. – 1998
- University of Florida
- B.S. – 1995
- Honors: With High Honors
- Major: Marketing
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Florida Bar, 1999 – Present
Past Employment Positions
- Hillsborough County State Attorney, Assistant State Attorney, 1999 – 2003
- Real Estate
- Title Insurance
- Delta Sigma Pi