James W. Martin attended Georgia Tech and Stetson University, earning a B.S. degree in mathematics from Stetson University, and then went on to earn a J.D. degree from Stetson University College of Law. Since 2009 he has been an Adjunct Professor of Law at Stetson, while continuing his own law practice. In 2013 he was inducted into the Stetson Law Hall of Fame. Stetson is nationally ranked #3 in trial advocacy and #3 in legal writing by U.S. News & World Report.

For over forty years Martin’s legal practice areas have been real property, wills, trusts, probate estates, corporations, nonprofits, and business law. Since 2015 he has been Board Certified as an expert in Real Estate Law by The Florida Bar. And he has achieved the highest lawyer ratings on Martindale, Avvo, and Super Lawyers.

Martin has written eleven books and published over thirty articles on real estate, probate, corporations and other business organizations, contracts, legal management, legal forms, and nonprofit organizations. He received The Florida Bar’s Barbara Sanders Memorial Writing Competition Award for his article Fifty Tips for Writing the Contract That Stays Out of Court. His books on real estate transactions, business organizations, specialized forms, and nonprofit organizations were published over a period of twenty years by West Publishing (Thomson-Reuters) and comprise over 5,000 pages of legal forms.

And Martin served for six years on The Florida Bar Probate Rules Committee and two terms as chair of the St. Petersburg Bar Association Probate Section. He was the first lawyer in St. Petersburg to e-file probate pleadings under a pilot program established by the probate court.

James W. Martin began working as a law clerk fifty years ago in a small St. Petersburg, Florida law office while attending Stetson Law. He researched law and drafted wills, trusts, articles of incorporation, leases, and contracts. He became a partner in that office after graduating. Over the remainder of the decade, he drafted hundreds of wills and living trusts, handled real estate closings as a title insurance agent for Lawyers Title, litigated construction contract claims, and formed and advised businesses and nonprofit corporations.

Nonprofits particularly intrigue him. As a young attorney in 1980, James W. Martin read in the Wall Street Journal article “U.S. Art World Dillydallies over Dalis” that A. Reynolds Morse and Eleanor R. Morse were searching for a permanent home for their world-famous collection of Salvador Dali paintings. After reading the article, Martin called Morse and suggested they move it to St. Petersburg, Florida. With strong local, state and federal support, the Morse’s Dali collection moved from Cleveland to St. Petersburg in late 1980. The 1982 grand opening of the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg brought world-wide media attention. Almost thirty years later, in 2011, the Museum moved down the street to its new, iconic building in St. Petersburg, and he assisted his wife Cathy Martin (Stetson Law Assistant Dean for Career and Professional Development) as a co-chair of the second grand opening. Martin incorporated the Museum in 1980 and, for over 40 years, has remained active in various roles as trustee, secretary, executive committee, and attorney.

Martin has also volunteered with more than twenty other community organizations, has served on the St. Petersburg City Council, and has represented St. Petersburg on the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council and the Pinellas County Arts Council.

More detailed information follows:

Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice

Florida
The Florida Bar
Since 1974

U.S. District Court for Middle District of Florida
Since 1974

U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit
1974-1981

U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit
Since 1987

U.S. Supreme Court
Since 1978

Education

Stetson University College of Law
J.D. (1974) | Law
1971 – 1974
Honors: Freshman Scholarship; Lawyers Co-Op Highest Grade Book Awards in Real Property and Personal Property
Activities: Stetson International Law Society President

Stetson University
B.S. (1971) | Mathematics
1969 – 1971
Honors: Kappa Mu Epsilon Math Honorary Society; Dean’s List; Honor Roll
Activities: Student Programmer Stetson University Data Processing Department

University System of Georgia – Georgia Institute of Technology
Electrical Engineering
1967 – 1969
Delta Tau Delta
Activities: Cooperative Education Engineering Student Assistant, U.S. Department of Defense

Certifications

Board Certified in Real Estate Law
The Florida Bar
2015 — 2025

Awards

AV Preeminent Rating
Lawyers.com
2022

Top Rated Real Estate Attorney in St. Petersburg, FL (2013-2022)
Thomson Reuters Super Lawyers
2022

AV Preeminent Rating (1981 to 2022)
Martindale.com and Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory
2022

10.0 – 9.9 Rating (2012-2022)
Avvo
2022

Lifetime Achievement Award
Marquis Who’s Who
2018

Stetson University College of Law Hall of Fame
Stetson University College of Law
2013

Ben C. Willard Award for Humanitarian Achievements of Distinction
Stetson University College of Law
2011

Who’s Who in the World (28th-33rd editions 2010-2016)
Marquis Who’s Who
2010

Barbara Sanders Memorial Writing Competition Award
The Florida Bar Journal
2001
For the article “Fifty Tips for Writing the 21st Century Contract That Stays Out of Court”

Who’s Who in America (54th-58th, 62nd-63rd, 65th, 68th & 70th editions 1999-2016)
Marquis Who’s Who
1999

Who’s Who in the South and Southwest (23rd & 25th editions 1993-1998)
Marquis Who’s Who
1993

Who’s Who of Emerging Leaders in America (2nd & 3rd editions 1989-1992)
Marquis Who’s Who
1989

Who’s Who in Entertainment (1st-3rd editions 1988-1997)
Marquis Who’s Who
1988

Who’s Who in American Law (5th-15th editions 1987-2007)
Marquis Who’s Who
1987

Young Man of the Year
Sunshine City Jaycees
1982

Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Betterment of the Community (Dali Museum)
St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce
1980

Professional Associations

Salvador Dali Museum, Inc.
Founding Trustee, Attorney, Executive Committee, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Vice Chairman
1980 – Current

American Law Institute Continuing Legal Education
Editorial Board, ALI-CLE The Practical Lawyer
2010 – 2016

St. Petersburg Bar Association
Chair, Business Law Section
2008 – 2009

St. Petersburg Bar Association
Chair, Real Property Section
2007 – 2008

St. Petersburg Bar Association
Chair, Probate & Guardianship Section
2006 – 2007

Florida Trust for Historic Preservation
Board of Directors
2002 – 2003

Pinellas County Arts Council
Councilmember
1997 – 2002

St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce
Focus St. Pete Planning Committee 1997-2001; Internationalization Task Force 1981; Parking & Transportation Committee chair 1989-91; Board Attorney 1991-92; Urban Solutions Council Chair 1992-94; Downtown Council Chair 1993-94
1981 – 2001

St. Petersburg Bar Association
Chair, Probate & Guardianship Section
1999 – 2000

The Florida Bar Probate Rules Committee
Committee Member
1994 – 2000

Florida International Museum, Florida Cultural Exhibitions, Inc.
Trustee, Attorney, Secretary
1992 – 1994

The Florida Bar Coordinating Committee on Technology
Chair and Vice Chair
1990 – 1993

Leadership Tampa Bay
Charter Class Graduate and Board of Directors
1988 – 1989

Bring Back the Vinoy, Inc.
Founder, President, Director
1984 – 1987

City of St. Petersburg Arts Advisory Committee
Committee Member
1983 – 1984

Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council
Councilmember
1982 – 1983

City of St. Petersburg
Councilman
1982 – 1983

The Florida Bar Real Property Probate and Trust Law Section
Chair, Law Office Management Committee
1981 – 1982

Stetson University Alumni Association
Board of Directors
1981 – 1982

Leadership St. Petersburg
Graduate and Planning Committee
1980 – 1982

Legal Aid Society of St. Petersburg, Florida
Board of Directors
1979 – 1982

The Florida Bar Economics of Law Practice Committee and Law Office Management Section, and LOMAS
Secretary, Executive Council, Seminars Committee Chair
1979 – 1981

St. Petersburg Bar Association
Chair, Law Office Management Committee
1979 – 1981

St. Petersburg Bar Association
Chair, Lawyers Handbook Committee
1976 – 1978

Books & Articles

How To Form a Florida LLC or Limited Liability Company – A Guide for Lawyers (Ebook and Paperback Book)
James W. Martin, P.A.
June, 2022

How To Form a Florida Business Corporation – A Guide for Lawyers (Ebook and Paperback Book)
James W. Martin, P.A.
May, 2022

How To Form a Florida Nonprofit Corporation – A Guide for Lawyers (Ebook and Paperback Book)
James W. Martin, P.A.
May, 2022

Fifty Tips for Drafting Contracts (With Sample Provisions)
The Practical Lawyer, American Law Institute Continuing Legal Education
August, 2020

All Lawyers Are Solos – Aren’t We?
The Practical Lawyer, American Law Institute Continuing Legal Education
August, 2015

Tips for Handling the Complex Real Property Transaction (With Forms and Checklist)
The Practical Real Estate Lawyer, American Law Institute Continuing Legal Education
September, 2013

Solo Practice Management Basics
The Practical Lawyer, American Law Institute Continuing Legal Education
October, 2012

Ten Tips for Handling Complex Probate
The Florida Bar Journal
February, 2010

Why You Need an Employee Policy for Electronic Information
The Practical Lawyer, American Law Institute – American Bar Association
February, 2010

Why You Need an Employee Policy for Electronic Information
Family Advocate, American Bar Association Family Law Section
2009

I Want to Sign an Electronic Will
The Practical Lawyer, American Law Institute – American Bar Association
June, 2009

Don’t Print That Email
The Practical Lawyer, American Law Institute – American Bar Association
April, 2009

Ten Tips for Handling Complex Probate (With Forms)
The Practical Lawyer, American Law Institute – American Bar Association
August, 2008

Going Paperless … Or Not?
The Practical Lawyer, American Law Institute – American Bar Association
October, 2007

A Model Electronic File Policy for the Law Office
The Practical Lawyer, American Law Institute – American Bar Association
April, 2007

May I Shred My Scanned Paper Files?
The Florida Bar News
December 1, 2006

Converting from Paper to Electronic Files
The Florida Bar News
November 1, 2006

I Want to Probate a Will in Federal Court
The Florida Bar News
June 1, 2006

West’s Legal Forms, Nonprofit Organizations, Chapter 25, Specialized Forms, Volume 29 (4th Edition) (Book)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
2004

How to Sue an LLC Member Without Piercing the Corporate Veil
The Florida Bar News
September 1, 2004

Is the Law of the Body a Body of Law?
The Florida Bar News
June 1, 2004

Be Careful Using Form Real Estate Contracts
The Florida Bar News
May 1, 2004

The Technology You Need to Project Vision of Your Case
The Practical Litigator, American Law Institute – American Bar Association
March, 2004

Forget To Put Your Client’s Address in the Judgment?
The Florida Bar News
March 1, 2004

Construction Contractors in Florida Are Incorporating
The Florida Bar News
February 1, 2004

Drafting the Contract or Settlement Agreement That Stays Out of Court
The Brief, Tort, Trial & Insurance Practice Section, American Bar Association
2003

West’s Legal Forms, Nonprofit Corporations and Associations, Chapter 25, Specialized Forms, Volume 29 (3rd Edition) (2003 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
2003

A Simple Computer File Management System for Lawyers
American Law Institute – American Bar Association, CLE Review
December, 2003

The Technology You Need to Project Vision of Your Case
The Florida Bar News
October 15, 2003

Drafting the Contract or Settlement Agreement That Stays Out of Court
The Best Articles Published by the ABA, General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Section, American Bar Association
September, 2003

A File Management System for Lawyers
The Florida Bar News
September 15, 2003

Jim’s Three Favorite Technology Tools
The Florida Bar News
July 15, 2003

Law Limits Homeowners’ Rights to Sue Contractors
The Florida Bar News
June 1, 2003

West’s Legal Forms, Nonprofit Corporations and Associations, Chapter 25, Specialized Forms, Volume 29 (3rd Edition) (2002 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
2002

Forming a Small Music Business – The Who Meets the Whys and the Wherefores
The Practical Lawyer, American Law Institute – American Bar Association
March, 2002

Drafting the Settlement Agreement That Stays Out of Court
Tort, Trial & Insurance Practice Section, American Bar Association Annual Convention, Chicago
2001

Tips for Drafting Purchase Contracts
Lorman Education Services
2001

West’s Legal Forms, Nonprofit Corporations and Associations, Chapter 25, Specialized Forms, Volume 29 (3rd Edition) (2001 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
2001

Putting Your Entertainment or Sports Client’s Nest Egg in Florida – Legal Ways to Preserve Wealth
The E.A.S.L. Newsletter, The Florida Bar Entertainment, Arts & Sports Law Section
May, 2001

West’s Legal Forms, Nonprofit Corporations and Associations, Chapter 25, Specialized Forms, Volume 29 (3rd Edition) (2000 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
2000

Fifty Tips for Writing the 21st Century Contract That Stays Out of Court
The Practical Real Estate Lawyer, American Law Institute – American Bar Association
November, 2000

Fifty Tips for Writing the 21st Century Contract That Stays Out of Court
The Florida Bar Journal
November 1, 2000

New Law Says File Money Judgments with Department of State
The Florida Bar News
October 1, 2000

How to Write Letters Nonlawyers Will Read (With Sample Letters)
The Practical Real Estate Lawyer, American Law Institute – American Bar Association
January, 2000

Florida Jurisprudence Forms, Legal & Business, Volumes 1 through 15 (1999 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1999

West’s Legal Forms, Nonprofit Corporations and Associations, Chapter 25, Specialized Forms, Volume 29 (3rd Edition) (1999 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1999

How to Write Contracts and Other Documents as a Professional in a Mechanistic World
The Practical Real Estate Lawyer, American Law Institute – American Bar Association
November, 1999

How to Write Letters Nonlawyers Will Read (With Sample Letters)
The Florida Bar News
September 1, 1999

Florida Jurisprudence Forms, Legal & Business, Volumes 1 through 15 (1998 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1998

West’s Legal Forms, Nonprofit Corporations and Associations, Chapter 25, Specialized Forms, Volume 29 (3rd Edition) (1998 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1998

How to Write Contracts and Other Documents as a Professional in a Mechanistic World
The Florida Bar News
August 1, 1998

Fifty Tips for Writing the Contract That Stays Out of Court
The Practical Real Estate Lawyer, American Law Institute – American Bar Association
May, 1998

West’s Legal Forms, Nonprofit Corporations and Associations, Chapter 25, Specialized Forms, Volume 29 (3rd Edition) (Book)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1997

Fifty Tips for Writing the Contract That Stays Out of Court
The Florida Bar News
August 1, 1997

West’s Legal Forms, Nonprofit Corporations and Associations, Chapter 26, Specialized Forms, Volume 29 (2nd Edition) (1996 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1996

Florida Legal Forms – Business Organizations, Volumes 1 and 2 (1995 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1995

Florida Legal Forms – Real Estate Transactions, Volumes 3 and 4 (1995 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1995

Florida Legal Forms – Specialized Forms, Volumes 8 and 9 (1995 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1995

West’s Legal Forms, Nonprofit Corporations and Associations, Chapter 26, Specialized Forms, Volume 29 (2nd Edition) (1995 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1995

Florida Legal Forms – Business Organizations, Volumes 1 and 2 (1994 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1994

Florida Legal Forms – Real Estate Transactions, Volumes 3 and 4 (1994 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1994

Florida Legal Forms – Specialized Forms, Volumes 8 and 9 (1994 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1994

West’s Legal Forms, Nonprofit Corporations and Associations, Chapter 26, Specialized Forms, Volume 29 (2nd Edition) (1994 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1994

Florida Legal Forms – Business Organizations, Volumes 1 and 2 (1993 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1993

Florida Legal Forms – Real Estate Transactions, Volumes 3 and 4 (1993 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1993

Florida Legal Forms – Specialized Forms, Volumes 8 and 9 (1993 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1993

West’s Legal Forms, Nonprofit Corporations and Associations, Chapter 26, Specialized Forms, Volume 29 (2nd Edition) (1993 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1993

Basic Legal Asset Protection and Estate Planning Concepts for Florida Residents
National Center for Preventive Law
April, 1993

Execution of Florida Legal Documents
West Publishing
1992

Florida Legal Forms – Business Organizations, Volumes 1 and 2 (1992 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1992

Florida Legal Forms – Real Estate Transactions, Volumes 3 and 4 (1992 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1992

Florida Legal Forms – Specialized Forms, Volumes 8 and 9 (1992 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1992

West’s Legal Forms, Nonprofit Corporations and Associations, Chapter 26, Specialized Forms, Volume 29 (2nd Edition) (1992 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1992

Florida Legal Forms – Business Organizations, Volumes 1 and 2 (1991 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1991

Florida Legal Forms – Real Estate Transactions, Volumes 3 and 4 (1991 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1991

Florida Legal Forms – Specialized Forms, Volumes 8 and 9 (1991 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1991

West’s Legal Forms, Nonprofit Corporations and Associations, Chapter 26, Specialized Forms, Volume 29 (2nd Edition) (1991 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1991

Sincerely Yours Letter-Writing Macros
WordPerfect Magazine
August, 1991

Florida Legal Forms – Business Organizations, Volumes 1 and 2 (Books)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1990

Florida Legal Forms – Real Estate Transactions, Volumes 3 and 4 (Books)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1990

Florida Legal Forms – Specialized Forms, Volumes 8 and 9 (Books)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1990

West’s Legal Forms, Nonprofit Corporations and Associations, Chapter 26, Specialized Forms, Volume 29 (2nd Edition) (1990 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1990

Notes from the Shell – Combining Notebook with WP Merge
WordPerfect Magazine
August, 1990

Printing Special Characters
WordPerfect Magazine
July, 1990

West’s Legal Forms, Nonprofit Corporations and Associations, Chapter 26, Specialized Forms, Volume 29 (2nd Edition) (1989 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1989

A Ban on Adult Only Communities and Much More – The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988
Probate & Property, American Bar Association, Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section
September, 1989

26 ALT Key Macros
WordPerfect Magazine
August, 1989

Legal Documents – Typeset Your Own With WordPerfect 5.0
WordPerfect Magazine
August, 1989

West’s Legal Forms, Nonprofit Corporations and Associations, Chapter 26, Specialized Forms, Volume 29 (2nd Edition) (1988 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1988

What I Bought Today – Of Scanners and Other Lawyer’s Tools
ABA Section of Economics of Law Practice, Word Processing User Groups
1988

West’s Legal Forms, Nonprofit Corporations and Associations, Chapter 26, Specialized Forms, Volume 29 (2nd Edition) (1987 Cumulative Supplement)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1987

West’s Legal Forms, Nonprofit Corporations and Associations, Chapter 26, Specialized Forms, Volume 29 (2nd Edition) (Book Chapter)
Thomson Reuters West Publishing Co.
1986

A Client Letter
The Practical Lawyer, American Law Institute – American Bar Association
July, 1983

How To Protect the Plaintiff in a Structured Settlement of a Personal Injury Case
Trial Magazine, American Trial Lawyers Association
1982

LOM’s Florida Corporation System Manual (Book)
LOM Press, Inc.
1981

Speaking Engagements

Basics of Contract Drafting, Basic Transactional Law
April 5, 2018
The Florida Bar CLE Committee and Young Lawyers Division

Drafting Settlement Agreements (That Stay Out of Court)
January 8, 2018
The Florida Bar Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section, Construction Law Committee

Basics of Contract Drafting, Basic Transactional Law 2016
March 24, 2016
The Florida Bar CLE and Young Lawyers Division

Tips for Handling the Complex Real Property Transaction, Webinar Planning Chair and Panelist
August 7, 2014
American Law Institute Continuing Legal Education

Getting to Paperless: A Lawyer or Law Firm’s Step by Step Guide, Basic Technology in the Law Practice
May 10, 2013
The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division

Tips for Handling the Complex Real Property Transaction
January 24, 2013
St. Petersburg Bar Association Real Property Section

Solo Practice Management Basics, Solo Practice Institute
April 27, 2012
Stetson University College of Law

An Introduction to the Paperless Law Office
August 26, 2009
James W. Martin, P.A.

Snakes in the Grass: Hidden Real Property Issues in Probate
October 9, 2008
St. Petersburg Bar Association Real Property and Probate Sections

Ten Tips for Handling Complex Probate
October 18, 2007
St. Petersburg Bar Association Probate & Guardianship Section

Drafting a Clear As-Is Agreement, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the As-Is Sale But Were Afraid to Ask
February 23, 2007
St. Petersburg Bar Association Real Property Section

Drafting the Settlement Agreement That Stays Out of Court, Presidential Showcase Program, Litigating with Power and Professionalism, ABA Convention, Chicago
August 4, 2001
American Bar Association Tort & Insurance Practice Section

Forming a Small Music Business: The Who Meets the Whys and the Wherefores, Does Size Matter? Representing the New Breed of Independent Labels, Annual Retreat Seminar
May 27, 2001
The Florida Bar Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Section

The Lawyer’s Conscience: Professionalism and Ethics in Writing, The Florida Bar Convention
June 21, 2001
The Florida Bar Journal & News

Writing the Contract that Stays Out of Court, The Florida Bar Convention
2000
The Florida Bar Journal & News

How to Write Letters Nonlawyers Will Read, The Florida Bar Convention
June 24, 1999
The Florida Bar Journal & News

The Lawyer’s Conscience: Professionalism in Writing Contracts and Wills for a Mechanistic World, The Florida Bar Convention
1998
The Florida Bar Journal & News

Writing the Contract that Stays Out of Court, The Florida Bar Convention
1997
The Florida Bar Journal & News

Writing the Contract that Stays Out of Court, The Florida Bar Convention
1994
The Florida Bar Journal & News

Nonprofit Corporations in Florida
1981
The Florida Bar Business Law Section

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