Jones Foster is pleased to announce that Shareholder Joanne M. O’Connor has been named Town Attorney for Palm Beach. She succeeds Shareholder John C. “Skip” Randolph following his retirement from the role in which he served for 44 years.
Ms. O’Connor’s role as Town Attorney became effective Jan. 1, following a December Palm Beach Town Council meeting during which members adopted a resolution authorizing the Town to execute a memorandum of understanding that officially designated Ms. O’Connor as Town Attorney.
“Joanne’s track record of success on behalf of the Town has been exemplary. She has attended meetings in my absence and developed long-term, positive relationships with Town Staff in Planning and Zoning, Public Works, and the Police Department. Joanne, based on her experience, is uniquely qualified to step into my shoes as Town Attorney,” Mr. Randolph said.
As Town Attorney, Ms. O’Connor will act as its official legal representative and provide counsel and advice to town officials on all matters relating to the operation of the Town, including defending civil actions at state and federal courts as well as drafting and reviewing ordinances and legislation.
Town Council President Margaret Zeidman commented on Ms. O’Connor’s new role, “She set us (the Town Council) up to do our very best jobs because she makes sure we have everything in front of us to make a good decision. We would not be as good as we are without her assistance prior to the meetings. She’s an exceptional attorney. We deal with a lot of legal issues and we are in a very good position with Joanne as our Town Attorney.”
At the Jan. 9 Palm Beach Town Council meeting recognizing Mr. Randolph’s years of dedicated service as Town Attorney, Council Member Ted Cooney addressed Mr. Randolph stating, “Thank you for helping us land with Joanne because I have great comfort moving forward… We’re in good hands and I feel very comfortable remaining with Jones Foster and a consistent legal team that’s advised us so well over these years.”
A Florida Bar Board Certified Business Litigation attorney, Ms. O’Connor has a longstanding relationship with the Town of Palm Beach and has successfully defended the Town in various matters over the past 20 years, often involving complex land use and zoning, real estate, and constitutional issues, including Donald Burns v. Town of Palm Beach, a landmark lawsuit brought under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution claiming the right to freedom of expression in residential architecture. She also defended putative class actions challenging the bond referendum and special assessment criteria involved in the Town’s $90 million underground utility project.
Ms. O’Connor has represented several other municipalities during her legal career, including the towns of Jupiter, Jupiter Island, Gulf Stream, and the cities of Delray Beach and Boynton Beach. She counsels governmental entities on statutory, constitutional, and civil rights claims and both governmental and private entities on Florida’s Public Records Act and Sunshine Law.
In her practice, Ms. O’Connor continues to handle complex commercial litigation such as contracts, business torts, and partnership and corporate disputes, and real estate and land use litigation. Ms. O'Connor defends actions seeking certification of nationwide and statewide classes, including consumer claims brought under the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Ms. O'Connor’s extensive experience as a litigator positions her as a powerful advocate for her clients in jury and non-jury trials and appeals in state and federal courts and before private arbitration panels. She also provides expert testimony to state and federal courts on the reasonableness and amount of attorneys’ fees and costs due to prevailing parties.
Florida Trend magazine recently named Ms. O’Connor to their list of Legal Elite NOTABLE – Women Leaders in Law, which recognized 92 women lawyers from leading law firms across Florida. She is consistently recognized by several peer-reviewed publications, including Florida Super Lawyers, where she was named to The Top 50: Women (Florida) and The Top 100: Miami lists in 2021, as well as The Best Lawyers in America and Palm Beach Illustrated’s “Top Lawyers” list.
Ms. O’Connor currently holds several notable leadership positions and is actively involved in the legal community. She serves as vice chair of The Florida Bar's Federal Court Practice Committee, co-chair of the Palm Beach County Bar Association's Diversity Internship Program, immediate past chair and member of the Business Litigation Certification Committee, and was recently appointed by the Chief Judge to the inaugural Local Professional Panel of the 15th Judicial Circuit Court. She is also a past president of the Federal Bar Association Palm Beach County Chapter and a past chair of The Florida Bar’s 15th Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee.