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Governmental Law

We know government. Many of us have worked inside state agencies and local governments. We know the issues faced by governments, the special challenges and the special trust they hold to protect the public interest. This is not some abstract concept for us, it’s part of what we do—part of who we are. That’s why we see the issues of local governments differently.

For over 30 years, we have developed an in-depth understanding of the issues affecting governments and have applied that understanding in innovative and cost-effective approaches to legal challenges, finding mutually beneficial resolutions to disagreements, including intergovernmental disputes and mediations. Our litigators also defend governments and special districts as necessary.

We have served as general and special counsel for Florida cities, counties, school boards, charter schools, value adjustment boards and special districts. Our special district clients include fire districts, community development and redevelopment districts, mosquito control districts, major airports, utilities, deepwater ports and regional drainage and water management districts. We have attorneys that are board certified by the Florida Bar of Legal Specialization and Education in City, County and Local Government Law.

We have been actively involved in the development and implementation of every significant special district statute enacted by the Florida Legislature. We have successfully worked to codify the special acts and charters governing more than 30 special districts.

An important component of our government practice is public pension, labor and employment law. Pension benefits are one of the most important and costly fringe benefits for government employees. The operation and funding of public pension plans is subject to complex federal and state laws and regulations. We work closely with plan sponsors, boards of trustees, actuaries and labor counsel to ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations, and to implement effective cost-containment strategies. We also advise public employers on a wide range of pension issues, and prepare plan documents and amendments. We have represented numerous cities, pension boards and individuals in pension-related litigation and appeals.  For more information about our Public Finance practice, contact William G. Capko.

Employee relations and benefits are critical to the success of any organization. Although Florida is an “at-will” employment state, employers must deal with many complex federal and state laws that govern nearly every aspect of the employer-employee relationship.

We provide our government and special district clients advice and counsel on:

  • Ad Valorem Taxes and Non-Ad Valorem Assessments
  • Avoidance of Employment Claims
  • Brownfields
  • Climate Change and Sustainability
  • Compliance with Federal and State Regulations
  • Condemnation and Inverse Condemnation Actions
  • Community Redevelopment
  • Constitutional Issues
  • Defense Against Wrongful Termination, Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Whistleblower Claims
  • Environmental Issues
  • Energy and Renewable Energy
  • Governmental Retirement Issues, Including Plan Design, Evaluation of Compliance with Federal and State Laws, Plan Amendments, Legislative Representation and Litigation
  • Growth Management and Local Comprehensive Planning
  • Intergovernmental Relations and Agreements
  • Public Pension, Labor and Employment Matters
  • Land Use Matters
  • Litigation in State, Federal and Administrative Proceedings
  • Local, State, and Federal Permitting
  • Municipal Conversion/Incorporation of Special Districts
  • Preparation and Revision of Personnel Policies
  • Public Finance and Bond Matters
  • Public Infrastructure
  • Public Records, Sunshine and Ethics Law
  • Public Private Partnerships
  • Public Procurement and Bid Protests
  • Public Property Acquisition and Pre-Purchase Due Diligence
  • Retirement Issues
  • Rule Development
  • School Board and Charter School Issues
  • Workplace-Related Litigation

For more information, contact Glenn E. Thomas, Co-Chair or Seth C. Behn, Co-Chair or Janice D. Rustin, Vice Chair – Government.