Publications About The Firm
Thornton Williams - Recognized as a Pioneer in the Practice of Transportation Law
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Williams, who served as general counsel for FDOT from 1990-96, stays in close proximity to state government and the mammoth transportation agency where he once worked.
Williams left FDOT in 1996 to join Rumberger, Kirk and Caldwell as partner. Two years later, Williams launched Williams, Wilson and Sexton, P.A. (WWS), a law firm concentrating on a new area of practice: transportation law. “We chose transportation law because the principals of the firm are all former FDOT lawyers,” said Williams. “As we considered private practice, with our background in transportation law, it was a natural fit,” he added. “I don’t know of any other firms that specialize in transportation in the manner that this firm does,” said Pam Leslie, FDOT general counsel.
Both of Williams’ partners, Mel Wilson and Paul Sexton, have FDOT experience. Wilson spent 14 years as district general counsel for FDOT in Fort Lauderdale and served a stint as a litigation attorney in FDOT’s Tallahassee office. Today, he runs the firm’s Fort Lauderdale practice. Sexton served as staff counsel for the Florida Public Service Commission from 1977 to 1986, spent six years in private practice and returned to government service in 1992 when he joined FDOT’s office of general counsel.
In 1994, he was appointed chief counsel for the agency’s Administrative Law Division where he served until 1998. Williams’ experience in government started in 1982 as an assistant state attorney prosecuting criminal cases in the Second Judicial Circuit. He also served as an assistant general counsel to the Governor, staff attorney and deputy general counsel for the Department of Business Regulation.......
Features on the Firm
Articles Written by the Firm
Florida Transportation Monthly
- Resolving Contract Disputes , April 2009
- High Speed Rail, Commuter Rail, and Florida’s Future , March 2009
- The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act , February 2009
- Obama Administration , January 2009
- Transportation Legislation for 2007 , June 2007
- The Benefits of Access Management, May 2007
- Utilization of State Term Contracts, April 2007
- The Legal Aspects of Document Imaging in Transportation, March 2007
- Common Oversights to Avoid in Bidding on Procurement Contracts, February 2007
- Florida House Bill Provides Major Change in Public Records Exemption, January 2007
- Covenants Not To Compete, December 2006
- Public-Private Partnerships in Transportation - Part Three, November 2006
- Public-Private Partnerships in Transportation - Part Two, October 2006
- Public-Private Partnerships in Transportation - Part One, September 2006
- FDOT Procurement Contracting Procedures In Times of Natural Disasters, August 2006
- Florida House Bill Provides Major Change in Public Records Exemption, July 2006
Florida Engineering Society Journal
- Joint Venturing in a Slow Economy, September 2012
- Driverless Cars- Florida’s Technological Future, July 2012
- Judicial Merit Retention --Florida Supreme Court Justices, June 2012
- Reclaiming The Everglades, May 2012
- SunRail: The Train Is Moving, April 2012
- The Digital Age: Protocols for Communicating Electronically with Governmental Entities, March 2012
- Dubai: An International City Changing the World, February 2012
- The Miami Intermodal Center: Transportation Structuring At Its Best, January 2012
- Building a Stronger Transportation Future in Florida: An Interview with FDOT Secretary Ananth Prasad, November 2011
- Florida’s Reliance on Natural Gas, November 2011
- Innovative Bridges- Engineering at its Best, October 2011
- Building Strong Transportation Partnerships, September 2011
- The Reauthorization of the Federal Transportation Bill, July, 2011
- Florida’s Seaports and the Panama Canal Expansion, June 2011
- Ecological Sustainability for Florida’s Future, May 2011
- Consolidation of Engineering Firms, April 2011
- Mega Agencies: The Potential Merging of State Agencies in Florida, March 2011
- Governance In Florida: The Relationship Between the Executive and Legislative Branches, February 2011
- Can Engineers Survive in the Current Economy, January 2011
- Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts and Small Starts Programs, November 2010
- The Effects of Offshore Drilling in Florida, October 2010
- Environmental Due Diligence in Real Estate, September 2010
- The Economy and Engineering, July 2010
- Forensic Engineering, June 2010
- Subsurface Utility Engineering, May 2010
- Politics of Engineering: The Increased Need for Transportation Engineers, April 2010
- Alternative Funding: Federal Stimulus Dollars for High Speed Rail, February 2010
- The Increasing Role of DBE’s in Transportation Projects, January 2010
- Florida’s Historic Everglades Restoration, November 2009
- Transportation Distractions: Texting While Driving, October 2009
- The Discipline of Transportation Engineering, September 2009
- Streamlining the One Stop Permitting Process, July 2009
- Safety and People, June 2009
- Design Build Contracts, May 2009
- Energy Efficiency and Conservation , March 2009
- Infrastructure Investment Leading the Way to Economic Recovery, February 2009
Thornton Williams General Legal Accomplishments and in the Field of Transportation
- Deputy General Counsel of Florida Department of Business Regulation.
- County Attorney for Gadsden County for 5 and a half years.
- General Counsel of the Florida Department of Transportation.
- Provided legal advice on an annual 7 billion dollar transportation budget.
- While there, he created more diversity in staff and outside vendors.
- Revamped the entire legal office substantive operation which is the footprint for today’s operation of the legal office.
- Redesigned the physical layout of the office.
- A part of the financial recovery of FDOT in 1990- which had a 300 million dollar deficit when he joined the FDOT.
- Coined the term “transportation law”. See the article on this. https://twalaw.com/myJSSImages/file/FTM_April_2006%20WWS%20Cover%20Article.pdf.
- Negotiated a 10 million dollar settlement for his client who was responsible for installing SunPass. The settlement was recognized as the reason that SunPass survived and was completed.
- Wrote all protocol for SunPass Collection for toll violator collections.
- Attorney for the Orchard Pond Toll Road in north Tallahassee. A 16 million dollar private toll road project.
- Recently (this past April, 2019), successful defended a client in a 63 million dollar bid protest, in the transportation arena.
- Has published more than 50 articles on transportation.
- Has published a national article on transportation issues.
- Recognized as one of the top transportation lawyers in Florida.
- Recognized as “Mr. Fix it” for transportation in Florida.
- Has a statutory provision named after him, called the Thornton Williams Provision.
- General Counsel for the Capital Region Transportation Planning Agency, a governmental transportation agency in Tallahassee.
- He has had multiple articles written about him.
- Rewrote most of the statutory regulations for the utility industry, in the area of transportation, over a 10 year period, in section 337.403.
- Has routinely represented clients in multi-million dollar matters.
- Former Chair of the Advisory Board of the Center for Urban Transportation Research Advisory Board (CUTR) which oversees a 19 million dollar annual budget on transportation research).
- Former chair of Floridians for Better Transportation.
- Thornton was recognized as one of the top lawyers in transportation for 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019, in Florida, by the Miami Daily Business Review.
- Thornton received an “AV Preeminent” rating from Martindale-Hubbell, on his first review. Martindale-Hubbell is the oldest lawyer rating company in the country and an AV rating on the first review is reserved for less than 2% of all lawyers, nationally. He has maintained an AV rating.
- Provided legal services on the Miami Intermodal Center (2.0 billion dollar transportation project)
- Provided legal services on the I-595 Express (1.8 billion dollar transportation project).
Thornton Williams Provision
While General Counsel of the Florida Department of Transportation, Thornton Williams was able to pass legislation on behalf of the FDOT that modified how the Outdoor Advertising Industry was regulated. In 1999, a memorandum was released by the FDOT's Office of Right Way explaining the amendment and naming the provision after Thornton Williams, calling it the Thornton Williams Provision.