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Jennifer R. Cowan

Areas of Practice

  • Ms. Cowan's practice focuses on local government, public pension land use, and litigation. She represents local governments, special districts, a major deep-water seaport, and Community Development Districts (CDDs) in matters concerning annexations, interlocal agreements, procurement, contract management, construction contracting, collective bargaining, employment law, ethics, public records, Sunshine Law, and real property issues.

  • Ms. Cowan advises public employers on Federal and State laws pertaining to government retirement programs, prepares pension plan documents and amendments, and assists local governments in evaluating pension reform options, implementing plan changes, and joining FRS.

  • Ms. Cowan also assists private and public clients in matters before the Florida Department of Community Affairs and various county and municipal governments concerning Developments of Regional Impact, comprehensive plan amendments, concurrency matters, zoning issues, impact fees reimbursements and disputes, and development of CDDs.

  • Ms. Cowan has represented public and private clients in civil litigation and appellate matters.

Publications and Presentations

  • Special Districts –You Can Adopt Rules, But Can You Enforce Them?, April 2019

  • The Public Records Act - When Good Faith Compliance Is Not Enough!, May 5, 2017

  • Overview of Sunshine Law & Ethics for Public Employees, presented at the DODD Short Course, January 26, 2016

  • Pension Challenges Ahead, presented with Glenn Thomas at the Continuing Education Workshop for Tax Collectors, January 26, 2015

  • FRS and Pension Developments, presented with Jim Linn at the 40th Annual Public Employment Labor Relations Forum, October 26, 2014

  • User Fees and Taxes, presented as part of the panel discussion on “Finance and Taxation” at the Florida Municipal Attorneys Association, July 26, 2014

  • Contract Management and Procurement (Certified District Official's Program), Association of Special District's CDM Program, January 31, 2013

  • Pension Changes and Plan Updates, Florida Public Employer Labor Relations Association Annual Training Conference, January 1, 2013

  • Contract Management and Procurement Back Up Materials, Florida Association of Special Districts Certified District Official's Program, June 4, 2012

  • The Changing Face of Growth Management and Natural Resource Regulation, presented at the Florida Local Environmental Resource Agencies Conference, July 26, 2011

  • Ethical Considerations for Special District Public Officials, presented at the Florida Association of Special Districts conference, June 26, 2011

  • Evolution of Sustainability in Florida, presented at the Florida Planning and Zoning Association Annual Conference, June 26, 2011

  • Contract Management and Procurement (Certified District Official’s Program), presented at the Association of Special District’s CDM Program, January 26, 2011

  • New Directions in Assessments and Energy Conservation, October 29, 2010

  • Green Initiatives: In Theory and In Practice, presented with Tara Duhy at the 4th Campus and Community Sustainability conference, October 26, 2009

  • Green Initiatives, presentation on State sustainability mandates and potential funding sources for local governments related to sustainability initiatives. Presented to the Pinellas Green Government Partnership, October 26, 2009

Professional, Civic and Community Involvement

  • Admitted to the U.S. District Courts for the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida

  • Florida Bar Certified in City, County, and Local Government Law

  • Martindale Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated

  • Bar of the United States District Court, Southern and Middle Districts of Florida, Member

  • City of Gulfport’s Planning and Zoning Advisory Board, Member, 2010-2020

  • American Bar Association, Member

  • The Florida Bar, Member

  • Manatee County Bar Association, Member

  • St. Petersburg Bar Association, Member

  • Member, Leadership Pinellas, Class of 2016-2017; Education Leadership Committee, 2017-present.

  • Arthur Family Foundation, Trustee

  • Member, Florida Municipal Attorneys Association

Previous Professional Experience

  • During law school, Ms. Cowan was an intern for Justice R. Fred Lewis of the Florida Supreme Court and Judge Anthony Rondolino of the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court.

  • Before attending law school, Ms. Cowan worked in the private sector as a financial manager of a Los Angeles intercity community redevelopment organization.

  • Ms. Cowan also worked for many years in the public sector for a broad range of governmental entities, including: Governor Lawton Chiles General Counsel’s Office, the Department of Community Affairs, Florida Housing Finance Agency, where she worked with developers on loan applications for low-income multifamily and single family developments; and the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court’s Guardian ad Litem Program.




  • J.D., cum laude, Stetson University College of Law with a concentration in Advocacy

  • B.S., Philosophy and Political Science with minors in Chemical Science and Religion, Florida State University