City Attorney

Overview

Gavel
Conference room with people meeting
Open book in library

The Office of the City Attorney protects the legal interests and assets of the City of Gainesville by providing legal advice and serves as counsel to the City Commission, as well as all the other charter offices and departments, including Gainesville Regional Utilities, boards and committees and the Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency. Lawyers and staff in this office are recognized for their knowledge and expertise in the area of city, county and local government law and skills in many other practice areas.

Role of the Charter

The office is responsible for providing legal counsel to the city in the conduct of its day-to-day transactional business and both prosecution and defense of lawsuits to protect the interests of the city. The transactional division of the office interprets and applies state and federal statutory law, case law, the City Charter and Code of Ordinances; researches legal authority, prepares and/or reviews city ordinances, resolutions, contracts and agreements, interlocal agreements, and legal budget preparation and implementation. The City Attorney and staff attend all commission meetings and board/committee meetings as required or requested.  The litigation division defends and settles all legal challenges filed on behalf of or against the city.  This includes challenges to the city ordinances, development approvals, employment actions, civil rights actions, torts, tax liability issues, foreclosure of city liens and mortgages, as well as prosecution of cases to enforce the city’s Code of Ordinances.

The City Attorney’s office does not provide legal advice to neighbors, as it can only represent its client, City of Gainesville, including the City Commission, and the departments within the city government.  Neighbors may contact the Florida Bar to access their lawyer referral service by telephone at 850-561-5600 or online at www.floridabar.org, as well as Three Rivers Legal Services at 352-372-0519 or www.trls.org.

Our Staff

The office is staffed by 14 full-time employees, including nine attorneys, and one senior executive assistant.

  • Daniel M. Nee, Interim City Attorney - Board Certified, City, County and Local Government Law
  • Lisa C. Bennett, Sr. Assistant City Attorney - Board Certified, City, County and Local Government Law
  • Lee C. Libby, Sr. Assistant City Attorney - Police Legal Advisor
  • Brian W. Franklin, Assistant City Attorney II
  • Michele F. Martin, Sr. Assistant City Attorney - Labor and Employment Law
  • Sean M. McDermott, Sr. Assistant City Attorney - Board Certified, City, County and Local Government Law
  • Katherine Mockler, Assistant City Attorney I
  • David C. Schwartz, Assistant City Attorney II - Board Certified, City, County and Local Government Law
  • Lisa Allen, Legal Assistant II - Certified Paralegal
  • Yolanda Hocker, Executive Assistant, Sr.
  • Alice Murnahan, Sr. Legal Assistant
  • Rebecca Scalese, Legal Assistant II- Advance Certified Paralegal
  • Crystal White, Legal Assistant II - Certified Paralegal

Externship

The City of Gainesville works cooperatively with the University of Florida, College of Law Career Services in providing opportunities for students to develop job skills, clarify career direction or gain skills while completing degree requirements. Externship opportunities are non-paid positions.

The externship program enables students to work with practicing attorneys for academic credit and provides supervision for performing legal research, drafting, and legal tasks which applies academic studies to real projects and matters, in addition to gaining valuable insight into the operations of working in a local government law office.