Founded in March 1989 with 29 initial members, JBBA’s mission was to grow the beaches legal community and bolster beach residents’ awareness of its members. At the time, it was a common misconception a person in need of legal assistance had to travel downtown to find a lawyer, despite many attorneys practicing at the beach. This led to the belief in downtown firms that their time was more valuable. In 1991, the value of beach attorneys became settled law. Two beach attorneys litigated and prevailed in a commercial fire loss case and then sought statutory attorneys’ fees. On their behalf, two expert witnesses testified $150 was a reasonable hourly rate for attorneys in the Beaches area. Rebutting this expert testimony, opposing counsel stated in a court memorandum:

“While plaintiff may be correct that the commercial litigators in Jacksonville may charge $125.00-$200.00 per hour, plaintiff’s firm (name redacted for anonymity) is practicing at the beaches. Defendant requests this Court to recognize that beaches firm traditionally do not charge such rates. It is common knowledge in the Jacksonville legal community that such hourly rates belong almost exclusively to the large, downtown law firms. Such rates are not customary in the beaches legal community…”

The presiding judge ruled in full favor of the beach attorneys, thus eliminating any perceived differences between downtown and beaches attorneys.

To this day, JBBA continues to embrace its mission. We afford our members numerous ways to further their legal careers by connecting to the community and other professionals in a laidback environment. When you come to a monthly meeting don’t be surprised to see people in flip flops and board shorts!