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Growing With the Community We Serve

Rogers Towers’ long-standing tradition in Jacksonville dates back to the turn of the 20th century. The firm began as “Toomer and Reynolds” in 1905, just four years after the Great Fire of 1901 which devastated the city of Jacksonville. As the city rebuilt itself, one of the first buildings constructed was the seven-story, all-wood Consolidated Building, considered to be a skyscraper at that time. Located on East Bay Street, the building was also the first home to the firm.

By the early 1960s, after several decades of steady expansion, the firm was well on its way to becoming Jacksonville’s largest law firm. On November 4, 1991, the firm announced the move of its Jacksonville office to Gulf Life Tower, known today as Riverplace Tower. The firm later expanded by opening offices in Ponte Vedra Beach, Amelia Island, St. Augustine and Fort Lauderdale.

Rogers Towers continues to maintain its position as Northeast Florida’s largest law firm, with more than 55 attorneys in five offices.

A Strong Family Tradition

Enhancing its quality of service, Rogers Towers maintains its traditional mantle through the strong family ethic that defines the firm. Many of the firm’s partners have spent their entire legal careers with Rogers Towers, and all of the firm’s lawyers have made the firm a part of their own family tradition. This level of company loyalty is important for the firm’s clients as well. Several of the firm’s clients have been with Rogers Towers for more than 30 years, a testament to the firm’s stable environment.

Named Partners

William Harlow Rogers (1884-1967) 

William H. Rogers was born in New Haven, Conn., October 5, 1884. He graduated magna cum laude from Dickinson College with a bachelor of philosophy degree in 1905, and earned his law degree from New York Law School in 1909. He relocated to Jacksonville in 1911 after practicing law in New York City and the Panama Canal Zone, and was admitted to The Florida Bar the following year. He also served as president of The Florida Bar in 1935. Mr. Rogers also served as president of the Florida Title and Guaranty Company and as the Duval County agent of the Lawyers Title Insurance Corporation for more than 38 years.

Mr. Rogers passed away in his home in 1967 after a long illness. He was 83.

Charles Daughtry Towers, Sr. (1894-1969)

Charles Daughtry Towers, Sr. was born in 1894 into one of Florida’s pioneer families. He was the son of Mr. & Mrs. Charles R. Towers.

Mr. Towers attended the old Duval High School where he graduated in 1912. The Towers family was proud of the fact that Mr. Towers was the first graduate of Duval County schools to pass the entrance exams of Princeton, Harvard and Yale Universities without preparatory schooling.

Mr. Towers was a prominent Duval County leader and was drafted in 1932 by the Jacksonville Bar Association to serve as acting state’s attorney for the purpose of advising a grand jury which was engaged in investigating corrupt officials. The jury brought indictments against most of the justices of the peace and Mr. Towers received public commendation for his efforts. He also successfully led the first step in the effort of the consolidation of Jacksonville and Duval County.

Mr. Towers passed away on Friday, April 18, 1969 after a long illness. He was 75.

Excerpt from “A March of Centuries – Lawyers and the Law in Jacksonville 1564 to 1997”:

“Mr. Towers was a leader in the fight in the Jacksonville-Duval consolidation beginning in 1932. He was a tenacious, far-sighted Harvard graduate who had joined the Bar Association in 1921. The “better government” crusade of consolidation would become his consuming quest. His firm, known at the time as “Rogers & Towers,” was the predecessor of the city’s largest law firm today, Rogers Towers. Towers made tireless railway tours, persuading voters in other counties to approve Jacksonville’s big move. Barnstorming with him were reformists such as Chester Bedell, Elmer Hazzard, Will Jones, and others. Against tremendous odds, they succeeded. The state constitutional amendment was approved. But back at home, when Jacksonville voted on consolidation directly, the issue failed. The political machines were too powerful to beat. However, the effort spent on passing a constitutional amendment was not wasted. A generation later, it would enable a Jacksonville-Duval consolidation approved by voters in 1968. There would be much conjecture on how the hard lesson of the 1930s may have affected Daughtry Towers, Sr. In the 1950s, he became Jacksonville’s most famous political kingmaker.”

Past Presidents of the Jacksonville Bar Association

We are proud of the following former and current Rogers Towers attorneys who have served as president of the Jacksonville Bar Association:

  • 1918 - 1919....................... William H. Rogers
  • 1943 - 1944....................... Cecil B. Bailey
  • 1967 - 1968....................... J. Edwin Gay
  • 1974 - 1975....................... James McLean
  • 1985 - 1986....................... A. Graham Allen
  • 1989 – 1990.......................Michael J. Dewberry​
  • 1991 – 1992.......................​William D. Brinton​
  • 1999 – 2000.......................​Christopher C. Hazelip​
  • 2014 – 2015.......................​​Troy K. Smith​

A Few Significant Events

Over the past 100 years, Rogers Towers’ growth reflected the expansion of Jacksonville and Northeast Florida. The law firm played an integral part in some of our area’s most iconic cases, helping to shape the physical, commercial and cultural landscape of Jacksonville and its surrounding counties.

Below, a few highlights that helped put Rogers Towers on the map:


Key Biscayne

In the 1920s, Florida was caught up in a real estate boom of a sort never seen before. One Miami developer had a vision of building 15 private islands in Key Biscayne on tidal lands to be acquired from the State of Florida and the U.S. War Department. Lawyers at Rogers Towers represented Florida’s Governor and his Cabinet (as Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund) in the years of litigation that arose from the controversial sale. The dredging barges were ordered back into port in 1928 when our lawyers obtained a Florida Supreme Court ruling against the developer on grounds the lands were not eligible for private development.


Main Street Bridge

Shipping and commerce along the St. Johns River helped build Jacksonville. But as automobile and truck traffic increased in the early 20th century, the river was becoming a hindrance to development. By the 1930s, it was obvious that ferry services and the twenty-year-old Acosta Bridge were insufficient to handle the heavy daily traffic heading north and south across the St. Johns. In 1935, the City of Jacksonville and the U.S. Bureau of Roads turned to Rogers Towers to condemn the facilities of the Florida Ferry Company for the construction of a new downtown bridge. With the help of Rogers Towers’ lawyers, the Main Street Bridge opened to vehicular traffic on July 4, 1941. Our condemnation and construction lawyers continue to practice throughout Florida and the southern United States.


Bootleggers & Baristas

On March 21, 1942, revenue agents outside Ocala, Florida seized a 1940 Chevrolet with a load of bootlegged liquor in the trunk. The impounded vehicle became the subject of one of the first decisions in Florida regarding the power of the government to seize assets used in criminal enterprises. Lawyers from Rogers Towers argued that the automobile finance company was an innocent victim in the case and should not be deprived of its collateral. The Florida Supreme Court’s four-page decision left no question as to the rights of the finance company. (Finance company was given a full opportunity to establish that the criminal conduct occurred without its knowledge or consent.) The record does not, however, provide any clue as to the fate of the bootlegged alcohol.


Roosevelt Hotel Fire

On Saturday, December 28, 1963, the University of North Carolina defeated the Air Force Academy in the 19th Gator Bowl football game. Early the next morning, fire swept through the fully booked Roosevelt Hotel in downtown Jacksonville. Twenty-two guests and firefighters lost their lives in the tragedy, the largest single-day loss of life in Jacksonville’s history. Rogers Towers’ lawyers played a significant role in the legal disputes that followed the destruction of the Roosevelt Hotel. On behalf of the firm’s casualty insurance clients, Rogers Towers defended claims and worked toward settlements for affected parties.