Government Law Practice Areas
Businesses looking to grow or relocate their operations, revitalize property or otherwise generate economic activity can find willing financial partners in state, regional, county, city, and other public entities. Those governments are often willing to contribute land, infrastructure or funding, rebate taxes, reimburse expenses and use a variety of other economic development tools available under federal, state, and local law to create jobs and encourage capital investment. Both inside and outside of government, Chris Hand has forged economic development partnerships between public and private sector stakeholders. Our firm helps clients leverage existing economic development opportunities with governments and work with public agencies to create new financial partnerships.
Governmental entities ask businesses to sell goods, provide professional services, and construct, revitalize or maintain infrastructure in areas like transportation, water, wastewater, energy, and parks. These kinds of public sector contracts are often valued in the millions of dollars. Hand Law helps clients understand the legal and strategic frameworks surrounding public procurement opportunities, respond to government bid requests or invitations, manage the bidding process, and handle any resulting litigation.
Hand Law has a particular focus on city, county, and other local governments. Chris Hand previously served as Chief of Staff at the City of Jacksonville, Florida — the largest city by area in the contiguous United States, 12th largest by population in the nation, and most populated in Florida. Local governments have significant day-to-day impact on their communities and citizens through functions like public safety, education, transportation, code enforcement, property appraisal, tax collection, parks and recreation, Downtown development, neighborhood revitalization, and historic preservation. Hand Law helps clients anticipate and address local government opportunities and challenges.
Hand Law collaborates with experienced eminent domain attorneys to ensure Florida landowners and businesses receive fair market value when governments exercise their power to take private property. If you have received notice that a public agency intends to impact your land or business to construct a road, build water, sewer or energy infrastructure, or for any other purpose, we can help ensure you have the right representation to achieve just compensation under Florida law.
Economic development is just one goal on which governments and the private sector can work-together. Hand Law can help clients foster public-private partnerships (P3s) with government on a variety of issues. For example, P3s are sometimes utilized on capital initiatives like infrastructure. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates the nation faces a $4.5 trillion infrastructure investment gap -- $2 trillion of which is unfunded. City, county, regional, and state governments own much of that infrastructure backlog, yet lack the revenue to fund these critical transportation, resiliency, energy, water, and wastewater improvements. As a result, many governments are turning to innovative (P3s). Our firm is positioned to help private stakeholders identify and engage in potential Florida P3 opportunities.
While we prefer to help clients realize opportunities and solve challenges through constructive dialogue with governments, Hand Law is prepared to utilize years of litigation experience if court action is required to protect client legal interests. Chris Hand has litigated civil and commercial matters at three Florida law firms and participated in governmental litigation as Chief of Staff at the City of Jacksonville. Hand Law can advocate for clients in Florida courts, either on its own or in collaboration with other litigation attorneys.
Florida is no stranger to election issues. Hand Law counsels candidates and political organizations on election law compliance and advocates for them if legal challenges arise. In November 2018, Chris Hand represented the campaign of Florida's Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried before the Duval County Supervisor of Elections during the statewide recount, which ended with Fried winning by just 6,753 votes out of more than 8 million cast. In 2020, he fought to protect voters through transparency and due process in the Duval County vote counting process. Hand has previously worked with other election law attorneys in state, regional, and local elections.
Local governments regulate how property owners develop and use their real estate. Land use law can be legislative, with approvals required from appointed panels like planning commissions or elected bodies like county or city commissions/councils. It can also involve litigation. Chris Hand has previously litigated land use law matters. Hand Law collaborates with other experienced land use attorneys to help clients navigate city, county, and regional planning processes to achieve their real estate goals.