In 2020, the Bedell Firm celebrated a 155-year milestone. As the oldest law firm in continuous existence in Florida, the Bedell Firm strives to continue its legacy of providing comprehensive and professional legal representation to every client. Learn more about the Bedell Firm’s extensive history.
Bedell Firm Founded
The Bedell Firm is founded by United States Union Army Colonel Horatio Bisbee
A Partnership Formed
Bisbee partners with George Bedell
Bedell Building Constructed
The Jacksonville Free Public Library was constructed, which would later become the home of the Bedell Firm
Bedell Serves as Florida State Bar Association President
George Bedell served as president of the Florida State Bar Association (predecessor of The Florida Bar)
Bedell & Bedell Formed
Bisbee leaves the firm. George Bedell’s son Chester joins as a senior partner, creating Bedell & Bedell
Bedell Co-Founds Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers
Chester Bedell and Perry Nichols of Miami founded the Academy of Florida Trial lawyers, an organization of plaintiff’s personal injury lawyers
Bedell, Bedell, Dittmar & Smith
Bedell Serves as Organizing Chairman
Chester Bedell was organizing chairman of the Trial Lawyers Section of The Florida Bar
Bedell, Bedell, Dittmar & Zehmer
Harris Dittmar and Charlie Pillans represented Senator Edward Gurney, R-Fla, charged with seven counts of conspiracy, perjury and bribery, and obtained not-guilty verdicts on all counts.
Charles Pillans represented Glenn Turner, criminally charged in 21 counts, in a nine-month trial before Judge Tjoflat resulting in a hung jury on all counts.
Smith Appointed First District Judge
Partner Robert Smith, Jr. was appointed by Governor Askew as a judge to the First District Court of Appeals
Chester Bedell obtained in the Florida Supreme Court the reversal of Nadean McArthur’s conviction for first degree murder of her husband, Charles, owner of McArthur Dairies. 351 So.2d 972
American Bar Foundation Award
Chesterfield Smith presented Chester Bedell with the American Bar Foundation award as the lawyer who for more than 50 years epitomized the best of the American Trial lawyer
John DeVault and the firm successfully represented the guardians of two children of John Dobbert (convicted of the murder of two other of his children), against the City of Jacksonville for failure of police officers, and other city employees, to come to the aid of the children when notified of their abuse. 310 So.2d 19.
Zehmer Appointed First District Court of Appeals Judge
Partner E. Earle Zehmer was appointed by Governor Bob Graham as a judge to the First District Court of Appeals
Bedell, Dittmar, DeVault, Pillans & Gentry
U.S. Industries Trial
Harris Dittmar won a $38 million verdict against U.S. Industries in a civil fraud case in federal court
Webster Appointed Circuit Court of Duval County Judge
Partner Peter D. Webster was appointed by Governor Bob Graham as a judge to the Circuit Court of Duval County. Judge Webster in 1991 was appointed to the First District Court of Appeal.
Bedell, Dittmar, DeVault & Pillans
John DeVault won a reversal of the criminal conviction of Anthony Tanner in the Supreme Court of the United States. Tanner v. United States, 483 U.S. 107.
DeVault Served as Florida Bar President
John DeVault served as President of the Florida Bar
Bedell, Dittmar, DeVault, Pillans & Coxe
Cedar Bay Trial
John DeVault and the firm successfully represented Cedar Bay Generating Co. in a dispute with Florida Power & Light, represented by David Boise, obtaining a $18.5 million verdict upheld on appeal. 775 So.2d 293
Corrigan Appointed U.S. District Court Judge of the Middle District of Florida
Former partner Timothy J. Corrigan was appointed by President George W. Bush to the United States District Court of the Middle District of Florida
State v. Griffis
Hank Coxe’s client, after a five month trial, was acquitted of all charges including murder in State v. Griffis in Bradford County, Florida.
Coxe Served as Florida Bar President
Hank Coxe served as President of The Florida Bar.
Five Firms Assemble
Hank Coxe assembled five law firms who successfully represented pro bono a 12 year old, the youngest person in Jacksonville history, to be charged with first-degree murder as an adult
Florida Supreme Court Representation
Hank Coxe and Michael Lockamy represented three sitting Florida Supreme Court Justices in the dismissal of a matter brought by the Executive Branch, after which John DeVault won dismissal of a lawsuit aimed at removing the Justices from the merit retention ballot. Michael Lockamy was key to the success in both cases.
Four Firms Represent Pro Bono Case
Hank Coxe, along with John DeVault, assembled four law firms to represent pro bono the City of Jacksonville’s first female general counsel and secured dismissal of a lawsuit challenging her right to office.
Family Law Leader
Ashley Wells Cox assumed leadership of the family law practice and continues to do so today.
Representing The City of Jacksonville
Hank Coxe, with the assistance of Michael Lockamy, assembled a team of several law firms to represent the City of Jacksonville pro bono and secure a judgment allowing an election to stand, which approved a sales tax of $2.7 billion to cover the City’s unfunded pension liability.
Coxe Named to the Florida Constitution Revision Commission
Hank Coxe was named by the Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court as just one of three Florida lawyers to the Florida Constitution Revision Commission, which meets only every 20 years.
U.S. Senate Race
Hank Coxe and Michael Lockamy assisted other Florida firms in representing clients who sued to prohibit Florida’s governor from interfering in his U.S. Senate race and intimidating local election officials and volunteers responsible for vote counting.
Duval County School Board
Hank Coxe and Michael Lockamy assembled a team of several law firms to represent pro bono the Duval County School Board to successfully attack, for the first time in Jacksonville history, the Charter of the consolidated city and to allow Duval voters to approve a $1.9 billion capital tax to benefit the public schools.
35 Years of Best Lawyers in America
Bedell Firm celebrates 35 years of attorney recognition in Best Lawyers
The Bedell Firm’s legacy of excellence continues just as it did 155 years ago. Today, the firm’s core practice areas include civil, criminal, and family law litigation. Learn more about the firm’s history and practice.