For over 48 years Jim Martin’s legal practice areas have been real estate, probate, estate planning and business law. He is Board Certified in Real Estate Law by The Florida Bar, and he has the highest ratings on Martindale, Avvo, and Super Lawyers.

Jim attended Georgia Tech, Stetson University, and Stetson University College of Law, earning bachelor’s and law degrees from Stetson in 1971 and 1974. While continuing his own law practice, he has been an Adjunct Professor of Law at Stetson since 2009. He was inducted into the Stetson University College of Law Hall of Fame in 2013. Stetson is nationally ranked #3 in trial advocacy and #3 in legal writing by U.S. News & World Report.

Jim enjoys writing books, articles, and forms for Florida probate, real estate, and business law, which have been published for over forty years:

  • Jim wrote eight legal forms books for West Publishing on such legal practice areas as real estate transactions, business entities, nonprofit organizations, and specialized forms, comprising over 5,000 pages of legal forms.
  • In 2022 Jim wrote five new free ebooks on real estate sales and leases, corporations, LLCs, and nonprofit corporations, which are also available in print form on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
  • Jim’s articles on Florida real estate, probate, contracts, and business law have been published more than forty times in national and state legal publications.
  • He writes the Florida Lawyer Jim Martin Blog with comments on Florida law and law practice.
  • Jim 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.

In almost five decades of law practice, Jim has drafted hundreds of wills and living trusts, handled real estate closings, litigated contract and probate disputes, drafted all sorts of contracts, and formed and advised businesses and nonprofit corporations.

In regard to his probate practice, Jim Martin served for six years on The Florida Bar Probate Rules Committee. He also served two terms as chair of the St. Petersburg Bar Association Probate Section.

In regard to his real estate law practice, Jim is Board Certified in Real Estate Law by The Florida Bar, and he served as chair of the St. Petersburg Bar Association Real Property Section. He also served as chair of its Business Law Section.

Nonprofits particularly intrigue him. As a young attorney in 1980, Jim Martin read in the Wall Street Journal article “U.S. Art World Dillydallies over Dalis” that Cleveland residents A. Reynolds Morse and Eleanor R. Morse were searching for a permanent home for their world-famous collection of works of art by Salvador Dali. After reading the article, Jim called Mr. 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, and in 1982 the grand opening of the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg became a reality. For over forty years, Jim Martin has been active in the Dali Museum’s governance.

Education

  • Stetson University College of Law, Juris Doctor (1971-1974)
  • Stetson University, Bachelor of Science, Mathematics (1969-1971)
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (1967-1969)

Certification

  • Board Certified in Real Estate Law by The Florida Bar (2015-2025)

Ratings

  • Super Lawyers Top Rated Real Estate Attorney in St. Petersburg, FL (2013-2022)
  • Martindale Hubbell and Lawyers.com AV Preeminent Rating (1981 to 2022)
  • AVVO 10.0 – 9.9 Rating (2012-2022)

Awards

  • Hall of Fame, Stetson University College of Law (2013)
  • Ben C. Willard Award, Stetson University College of Law (2011)
  • Barbara Sanders Memorial Writing Competition Award, The Florida Bar Journal (2001)
  • Marquis Who’s Who, Lifetime Achievement Award, Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law

Professional Associations

  • Editorial Board, ALI-CLE The Practical Lawyer (2010-2016)
  • The Florida Bar (1974-present), Probate Rules Committee (1994-2000), Coordinating Committee on Technology, Vice Chair and Chair (1990-1993)
  • St. Petersburg Bar Association (1974-present), Real Property Section chair (2007-2008), Business Law Section chair (2008-2009), Probate Section chair (2006-2007 and 1999-2000)

Community Organizations

  • The Dali Museum, Salvador Dali Museum, Inc., Attorney and Governing Body (1980-present)
  • Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, Councilman (1982-1983)
  • City of St. Petersburg, City Councilman (1982-1983)
  • Leadership St. Pete (1980) and Leadership Tampa Bay (1988)

Free Ebooks and Print Paperbacks

  • West’s Legal Forms, Volume 29, Nonprofit Organizations (2nd Edition 1986 and cumulative supplements 1987-1996, 3rd Edition 1997 and cumulative supplements 1998-2003, and 4th Edition 2004)
  • Florida Jurisprudence Forms, Legal & Business, Volumes 1 through 15 (Cumulative Supplements 1998-1999)
  • Florida Legal Forms, Volumes 1 and 2, Business Organizations, co-authored with Greg Yadley, Esq. (1990 and cumulative supplements 1991-1995)
  • Florida Legal Forms, Volumes 3 and 4, Real Estate Transactions (1990 and cumulative supplements 1991-1995)
  • Florida Legal Forms, Volumes 8 and 9, Specialized Forms (1990 and cumulative supplements 1991-1995)
  • Florida Legal Forms, Execution of Florida Legal Documents (1992)
  • Florida Corporations System (1984)

Articles

Speaking Engagements

  • Basics of Contract Drafting, Basic Transactional Law, The Florida Bar CLE Committee and Young Lawyers Division (April 5, 2018)
  • Drafting Settlement Agreements (That Stay Out of Court), The Florida Bar Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section, Construction Law Committee (January 8, 2018)
  • Basics of Contract Drafting, Basic Transactional Law, The Florida Bar CLE and Young Lawyers Division (March 24, 2016)
  • Tips for Handling the Complex Real Property Transaction, American Law Institute Continuing Legal Education, Chair and Panelist (August 7, 2014)
  • Getting to Paperless: A Lawyer or Law Firm’s Step by Step Guide, Basic Technology in the Law Practice, The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division (May 10, 2013)
  • Tips for Handling the Complex Real Property Transaction, St. Petersburg Bar Association Real Property Section (January 24, 2013)
  • Solo Practice Management Basics, Solo Practice Institute, Stetson University College of Law (April 27, 2012)
  • An Introduction to the Paperless Law Office (August 26, 2009)
  • Snakes in the Grass: Hidden Real Property Issues in Probate, St. Petersburg Bar Association Real Property and Probate Sections (October 9, 2008)
  • Ten Tips for Handling Complex Probate, St. Petersburg Bar Association Probate & Guardianship Section (October 18, 2007)
  • Drafting a Clear As-Is Agreement, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the As-Is Sale But Were Afraid to Ask, St. Petersburg Bar Association Real Property Section (February 23, 2007)
  • Drafting the Settlement Agreement That Stays Out of Court, Presidential Showcase Program, Litigating with Power and Professionalism, American Bar Association Tort & Insurance Practice Section, ABA Convention, Chicago (August 4, 2001)
  • 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, The Florida Bar Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Section (May 27, 2001)
  • The Lawyer’s Conscience: Professionalism and Ethics in Writing, The Florida Bar Journal & News Seminar, The Florida Bar Convention (June 21, 2001)
  • Writing the Contract that Stays Out of Court, The Florida Bar Journal & News Seminar, The Florida Bar Convention (2000)
  • How to Write Letters Nonlawyers Will Read, The Florida Bar Journal & News Seminar, The Florida Bar Convention (June 24, 1999)
  • The Lawyer’s Conscience: Professionalism in Writing Contracts and Wills for a Mechanistic World, The Florida Bar Journal & News Seminar, The Florida Bar Convention (1998)
  • Writing the Contract that Stays Out of Court, The Florida Bar Journal & News Seminar, The Florida Bar Convention (1997)
  • Writing the Contract that Stays Out of Court, The Florida Bar Journal & News Seminar, The Florida Bar Convention (1994)
  • Nonprofit Corporations in Florida, The Florida Bar Business Law Section (1981)

Jurisdictions Admitted To Practice

  • Florida: The Florida Bar, 1974-present
  • Federal:
    • U.S. Supreme Court (1978-present)
    • U.S. District Court for Middle District of Florida (1974-present)
    • U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit (1974-1981)
    • U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit (1987-present)

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