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William D. Brinton


Office: 904.346.5537
Fax: 904.348.5837


University of Virginia, B.A., 1974
University of Florida, J.D., 1977

Main Biography

Mr. Brinton’s practice focuses on the areas of complex First Amendment and land use litigation involving billboards and other signage; land use law re signage; commercial and construction litigation and arbitration.

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Courts, Northern District, Middle District and Southern District of Florida.
  • All 13 U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal, including the District of Columbia Circuit and the Federal Circuit.
  • Supreme Court of the United States

Awards & Distinctions

  • AV Preeminent Rating, Martindale-Hubbell
  • Florida Trend Magazine, “Legal Elite” (Commercial Litigation), 2012
  • Florida Super Lawyers (Environmental Litigation Category), 2006
  • Lawyer of the Year, Financial News & Daily Record, 1995
  • Milestone Award for Citizen Advocacy, Jacksonville Community Council, Inc., 2005
  • Prize for Civic Engagement, The Community Foundation in Jacksonville, 2007

Professional & Community Involvement

  • President, Jacksonville Bar Association, 1991-1992
  • President, Leadership Jacksonville, 1990-1991
  • President, Jacksonville Community Council, Inc., 1998-1999
  • Board of Directors, Scenic America, Inc., 1997-2003, 2004-2010
  • Chair, Jacksonville Landscape Commission, 1998-2005
  • Board of Trustees, The Community Foundation in Jacksonville, 2007-Present

Publications & Presentations

  • Panelist, Urban Areas and Local Jurisdiction Regulations, Modifications after Census, State’s Use Urban Areas or City Limits? National Alliance of Highway Beautification Agencies Annual Education Conference (August 9, 2011).
  • Speaker, “Report from the National Sign Law Battleground - Litigating Billboard Cases - First Amendment and Related Issues” Tennessee Municipal Attorneys Association (June, 2011).
  • Co-presenter, Lorman National Teleconference:  “Current Issues in Digital Billboards and Sign Regulations” (April, 2011).
  • Co-author: “The Constitutional Regulation of Political Signs during the Election Season,” in the September/October 2010 issue of IMLA’s Municipal Lawyer Magazine. 
  • Presenter: Lectures on First Amendment, Land Use, and Takings Law involving Billboards and Signage, and the Federal Highway Beautification Act (see below for more details).
  • Speaker, Sign Seminar, presented by Scenic Texas, Texas City Attorneys Association, Texas Municipal League, and Texas Conference of Urban Counties: “Current Issues in Sign Regulation” (September 16, 2010, Austin, Texas).
  • Panelist, Zoning and the Control of Outdoor Advertising, National Alliance of Highway Beautification Agencies Annual Educational Conference (August 16, 2010, Madison, Wisconsin).
  • Co-presenter, Lorman National Teleconference:  "Current Issues in Digital Billboards and Sign Regulations" (November 16, 2009; May 5, 2010).
  • Panelist, 2009 International Municipal Lawyers Association Annual Conference:  "The Writing on the Wall:  The Law of Signs and Billboards" (September 19, 2009, Miami, Florida).
  • Speaker, Billboard Seminar, presented by Scenic America and Scenic Missouri:  "National Issues and Trends in Sign Regulations" (August 12, 2009, St. Louis, Missouri).
  • Panelist, Pilot Projects and Scenic Highways, National Alliance of Highway Beautification Agencies Annual Education Conference (August 11, 2009, Branson, Missouri).
  • Panelist, Sign Law Seminar: “National Trends and Issues in Sign Regulation,” Tennessee Municipal Attorneys Association and Tennessee Chapter of the American Planning Association (February 26, 2009, Franklin, Tennessee).
  • Panelist, First Amendment Litigation Seminar- Pitfalls for the Unwary Local Government Attorney.  2008 New Jersey Institute of Local Government Attorneys (November 19, 2008, Atlantic City, N.J.)
  • Panelist, Sign Regulation and the Law.  2008 Workshop for the New Jersey League of Municipalities (November 18, 2008, Atlantic City, N.J.) 2008 Conference of the National Alliance of Highway Beautification Agencies: The Highway Beautification Act and "Customary Use" (August 11, 2008 Kalispell, Montana).
  • Panelist, "Digital Billboards: Legal Issues," Transportation Research Board's 47th Annual Workshop on Transportation Law (San Diego, California, July 8, 2008)
  • "Do Billboard Structures and Cell Towers Avoid Their Tax Obligations to Local Governments?: A Discussion of Solutions to Solve the Loss of Tens of Millions of Dollars to Local Governments and School Boards," Scenic Symposium (April 10, 2008, Jacksonville, Florida).
  • "Settlement Agreement Dos and Don'ts: Tips to Avoiding a Disastrous Settlement Agreement in Sign Code Litigation," Scenic Symposium (April 10, 2008, Jacksonville, Florida).
  • "The Sign Code Shakedown and Other Current Issues in Billboard Regulation and Litigation," New Jersey State League of Municipalities (November 15, 2007, Atlantic City, New Jersey).
  • New Legal and Legislative Fronts in the Billboard Battle, Federal Policy and Program Briefing, American Planning Association (October 1, 2007, Washington D.C.)
  • 2007 Annual Educational Conference on the Control of Outdoor Advertising, Digital Technology (LED Signs), National Alliance of Highway Beautification Agencies (August 20, 2007, Jackson, Mississippi).
  • “Regulating Billboards and Signs: First Amendment Considerations,” Florida Environmental and Land Use Law (The Florida Bar 2007). 
  • Legal Issues Facing City and County Governments: Billboard Regulation and Litigation, Alabama Bar Institute for Continuing Legal Education (ABICLE) (May 4, 2007, Orange Beach, Alabama).
  • Nonconforming Signs, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) - Right-of-Way and Utility Subcommittee (May 2, 2007 Orlando, Florida).
  • "Best Practices for Drafting a Constitutional Sign Ordinance," Municipal Lawyer (IMLA January/February 2007) (Co-author).
  • Successfully Defending Against First Amendment Claims in Sign and Billboard Cases, South Carolina Municipal Attorneys Association (December 1, 2006, Columbia, South Carolina).
  • "The Billboard Shakedown Scheme," The Commissioner (American Planning Association Fall 2006).
  • Sign Law Regulation - Ordinance Drafting and Litigation Strategies, International Municipal Lawyers Association Audio Conference (September 6, 2006, U.S. and Canada).
  • 2006 Conference of the National Alliance of Highway Beautification Agencies: (1) Act of God - Sign Removal: Comparison of Different States, (2) Stakeholder Coordination, and (3) Outdoor Advertising Control Legal Analysis (August 28-30, 2006, Cleveland, Ohio).
  • Hot Topics I - Signs, Florida Municipal Attorneys Association 25th Annual Seminar (July 22, 2006, Bonita Springs, Florida).
  • Planning Law Review, American Institute of Certified Planners' National Audio-Web Conference (June 28, 2006).
  • Combating the Free Speech Scam, American Planning Association's 2006 National Planning Conference (April 26, 2006, San Antonio, Texas).
  • Sign Law, Scenic Texas, Inc. Conference (April 7, 2006, Austin, Texas).
  • Tennessee Municipal Attorneys Association (February 26, 2006).
  • The Florida Bar Environmental Law and Land Use Section Treatise: Regulating Billboards and Signs: First Amendment Considerations (2006).
  • Litigating Billboard Cases - First Amendment and Related Issues, Alabama Municipal Attorneys Association, Midyear Law Conference (October 6, 2005, Destin, Florida).
  • Trends in First Amendment Litigation Against Local Government, 52nd Annual Institute of City and County Attorneys, Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia, (September 24, 2005, Savannah, Georgia).
  • Trends in Billboard Litigation, North Carolina Association of Municipal Attorneys, 2005 Summer Conference (August 5, 2005, Wrightsville Beach, NC).
  • Billboards, Florida Association of County Attorneys (FACA), June 2005 Conference (June 22, 2005, Tampa, FL).
  • Litigating Billboard Cases - First Amendment and Related Issues, Arkansas City Attorneys’ Association Spring CLE (June 17, 2005, Hot Springs, Arkansas).
  • First Amendment Law, Litigating Billboard Cases: First Amendment and Related Issues, International Municipal Lawyers Association Midyear Seminar (April 10-12, 2005, Washington, D.C.).
  • Billboards Law-Litigating Billboard Cases, Fourth Annual Richard E. Nelson Symposium, University of Florida, (February 11, 2005, Gainesville, FL).
  • The Florida Bar’s Annual Land Use Law Seminar: First Amendment Issues-Update on Billboards (November 5, 2004, Tampa, FL).
  • The Florida Bar’s Annual Land Use Update: First Amendment Issues-Update on Billboards (November 8, 2002, Tampa, FL).
  • The Florida Municipal Lawyers Association: Hot Topics-Billboards (July 11-13, 2002, Key Largo, FL).
  • Georgetown University Law Center Continuing Legal Education, Litigating Regulatory Takings Claims: Billboard Legislation and the Takings Issue (October 19, 2001, Coral Gables, FL).
  • How to Organize a Successful Ballot Initiative, American Forests (September 7, 2001, Washington, D.C.).
  • Co-author: Three amendments to the Jacksonville City Charter adopted through the initiative and referendum process. The most recent amendment involved the establishment of minimum standards for tree protection, conservation, and mitigation during development on a countywide basis.
  • Co-author: All six editions of The Florida Bar’s Construction Law and Practice (ed. 1983, 1991, 1994, 1997, 2002, and 2006).
  • Presenter: Lectures on Construction Law issues facing lawyers and design/construction professionals.

Mr. Brinton has also been active in the preparation and filing of amicus briefs on behalf of the National League of Cities, the American Planning Association, Scenic America, Inc., the International Municipal Lawyers Association, the Alabama Municipal League, Scenic Alabama, Inc., the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, the Georgia Municipal Association, Scenic Georgia, Inc., Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce, Texas Municipal League, Texas City Attorneys Association, Scenic Texas, Inc., Scenic California, Inc., The League of California Cities, California State Association of Counties, Scenic Maryland, Inc., the Florida League of Cities, Inc., the Florida Association of Counties, Inc., Citizens for a Scenic Florida, Inc., APA-Maryland Chapter, APA-Florida Chapter, and Georgia Chapter of the American Planning Association, Inc. before the United States Circuit Courts of Appeal for the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits in connection with First Amendment, vested rights, land use, severance and related issues involving sign regulation, and has also participated in oral arguments on behalf of amici in cases before the U. S. Sixth and Eleventh Circuits.

Client Successes

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