Joanne M. O’Connor has been appointed the new Town Attorney for Palm Beach. O’Connor, one of the shareholders at Jones Foster, a 100-year-old private and commercial law firm with offices in West Palm Beach, Jupiter, and Palm Beach, takes over the role from John C. “Skip” Randolph, another shareholder at Jones Foster, who retired after serving in the position for 44 years.
“Joanne’s track record of success on behalf of the Town has been exemplary,” Randolph says. “She has attended meetings in my absence and developed long-term, positive relationships with Town Staff in Planning & Zoning, Public Works, and the Police Department. Joanne, based on her experience, is uniquely qualified to step into my shoes as Town Attorney.”
O’Connor will function as the town’s official legal representative in her new role. She will offer counsel and advice to town officials on all matters concerning the operation of the town, including drafting and reviewing legislation and defending civil actions at state and federal courts.
“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.,” says Town Council president Margaret Zeidman. “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.”
O’Connor is a Florida Bar Board Certified Business Litigation attorney with a long-standing relationship with the Town of Palm Beach. Over the past 20 years, she has successfully represented the town in various matters, often involving complex land use and zoning, real estate, and constitutional issues. For instance, O’Connor defended the town in the landmark case of Donald Burns v. Town of Palm Beach, which was brought under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and claimed the right to freedom of expression in residential architecture. In addition, she represented the town in putative class actions challenging the bond referendum and special assessment criteria involved in the town’s $90 million underground utility project.
“Thank you for helping us land with Joanne because I have great comfort moving forward,” says Council Member Ted Cooney. “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.”
During her legal career, O’Connor has provided legal representation to various municipalities such as the Towns of Jupiter, Jupiter Island, Gulf Stream, and the Cities of Delray Beach and Boynton Beach. She is an experienced legal advisor to governmental entities on statutory, constitutional, and civil rights claims. Additionally, she has provided legal guidance to governmental and private entities regarding Florida’s Public Records Act and Sunshine Law.
In her legal practice, O’Connor handles complex commercial litigation, including cases related to contracts, business torts, partnership and corporate disputes, and real estate and land use. She also defends actions seeking certification of nationwide and statewide classes, which may include consumer claims under the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). With extensive experience as a litigator, O’Connor is a powerful advocate for her clients in both jury and non-jury trials, appeals in state and federal courts, and before private arbitration panels. Additionally, she provides expert testimony to state and federal courts regarding the reasonableness and amount of attorneys’ fees and costs owed to prevailing parties.