Meet Our Attorneys

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Meet Our Attorneys

Isabelle Lopez, City Attorney

attorneyThe primary role of the City Attorney is to act as the legal adviser to, and attorney and counselor for, the municipality and all of its officers in matters relating to their official duties. Along with the City Manager and City Clerk, City Attorney is one of three positions filled by the City Commission.

Isabelle Lopez, who was appointed City Attorney in 2014, first joined the city in 2011 as Assistant City Attorney, where she was primary counsel to the Planning and Zoning Board, Historic Architectural Review Board and Code Enforcement Board, as well as, litigation counsel on matters regarding land use and permitting.

Her expertise in all aspects of municipal law includes a broad range of practices, from public hearings, constitutional claims and eminent domain, to compliance, code enforcement, special assessments, zoning and permitting. In addition, Ms. Lopez is experienced in the subjects of land use, contracts and procurement, prosecution of local ordinance citations, interlocal agreements, and ordinance drafting.

Board Certified in City, County & Local Government Law since 2004, Ms. Lopez is a Florida Supreme Court Qualified Arbitrator, and Certified County and Circuit Civil Mediator. She is rated AV-Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell peer review, and has been listed in numerous publications including Florida Trend Magazine's Florida Legal Elite, Jacksonville Magazine and 904 Magazine.

Prior to her positions with the city she was a partner at two statewide law firms, and worked with the Florida Department of Transportation and St. Johns County. She is a graduate of McGill University and received her Juris Doctor from the University of Florida.

John Cary, Assistant City Attorney

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Mr. Cary received his Bachelors of Arts (BA) degree from the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio. He received his Master's of Public Administration (MPA) from the University of Central Florida, taking courses focusing on Urban and Regional Planning. He received his Juris Doctor (JD) from the Florida State University School of Law in 2009, following five years as a Space and Missile Operations officer in the United States Air Force, where he was stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, California, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and Cavalier Air Force Station, in Cavalier, North Dakota.

Mr. Cary was inspired to attend law school while taking the Land Use and Planning Law course in the final semester of his MPA degree. While he enjoyed planning and zoning and transportation issues, he really loved the legal aspects of land use. In law school, he took as many land use and local government-related courses as he could.
   
Mr. Cary began his legal career with the City of Ocala. He then went on to serve in all three branches of the state government: as an Attorney for the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, as a Chief Attorney of Professions for the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and as the Senior Supervising Attorney/Operations Manager for Court Education in the Office of State Courts Administrator. Mr. Cary is thrilled to return to Municipal Law by joining the City Attorney’s office in January of 2018.

In addition to assisting the City Attorney in all assigned matters, Mr. Cary serves as advisor to the Code Enforcement, Adjustments and Appeals Board, the Lincolnville Community Redevelopment Agency, the Civil Service Board, and as police advisor to the St. Augustine Police Department.  Mr. Cary prosecutes all municipal code violations as well as coordinates and assists outside counsel in multiple litigation matters involving the City and represents the City in all Land Use and Environmental Dispute Resolution petitions.

Mr. Cary is a member of the Florida Bar, in addition to being licensed to practice law in Michigan and Colorado.