Jon M. Philipson


  • JD, University of Florida (summa cum laude)
  • BA, Washington & Lee University (summa cum laude)

Bar Admissions

  • Florida
  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District Florida
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court


Jon advocates for and advises clients with complex litigation and counseling needs, drawing on skills and experiences acquired in the private and public sectors. With extensive federal government and public policy sector experience, Jon applies deep practical knowledge to his client’s federal and state court litigation needs and business issues. Additionally, Jon advises and represents secondary schools and public and private colleges and universities.

The law, whether on Capitol Hill, in the courts, or in private practice, is the great equalizer because the law has the capacity to create opportunities for people to do good, make the world better, and help us make sure everyone is represented.

Jon also is a court-certified arbitrator for Florida’s Thirteenth, Twelfth, and Sixth Judicial Circuits and a Florida Supreme Court certified circuit civil mediator and a U.S. District Court for Middle District of Florida certified mediator. As a former federal judicial law clerk and seasoned civil and commercial litigator in a large firm and in boutique firms, Jon brings pragmatic and sensible ideas and well-honed skills to narrow issues and empower parties to find collaborative solutions to end their litigation.

He represents and advises clients in business litigation matters, as well as, defamation, First Amendment, antitrust, and intellectual property disputes. Jon regularly serves as local counsel for businesses sued or pursuing claims in all federal courts in Florida, particularly in the Middle District of Florida.  He has assisted clients in a wide range of industries and areas, including traditional business contract disputes, shopping center development disputes, multimillion-dollar insurance coverage disputes, Florida derivative suits, product labeling class actions, and small business disputes and legal matters.

Prior to entering private practice, Jon served as a law clerk to then-Chief Judge Anne C. Conway of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida and as a congressional aide to Congressman Jim Davis and press intern to U.S. Senator Patty Murray.

Jon graduated first in his class and Order of the Coif from University of Florida College of Law where he served as Editor in Chief of The Florida Law Review, was an officer in Florida Blue Key, and was inducted into the University of Florida Hall of Fame. Jon received his undergraduate degree in economics and romance languages from Washington & Lee University, where he graduated fifth in his class and was a Rhodes Scholar finalist.

Jon is an active member of the Board of Directors of WEDU-PBS, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida’s Grievance Committee, the University of Tampa Board of Fellows, the Federal Bar Association, and Ferguson-White Inn of Court. He also previously served on the boards of All Saints Academy and The Florida House on Capitol Hill.

  • Zimmerman v. Fulton et al. (Fla. 2d Jud. Cir. 2022): Obtained a dismissal with prejudice of a libel suit brought by George Zimmerman against Ben Crump and HarperCollins Publishing arising out of Mr. Crump’s book "Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People."
  • Represented multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate and serving as local trial counsel, obtained a bench trial decision involving a disability discrimination claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

  • Bernstein, et al. v. Larson Shannahan Slifka Group, LLC, et al. (Fla. 13th Jud. Cir. Ct. 2020).  Won dismissal with prejudice, based upon official immunity, of defamation and conspiracy claims arising out of ammunition procurement contract for U.S. Special Operations Command.

  • Rodriguez v. OfferUp, Inc., 8:19-cv-1290-T-30SPF (M.D. Fla. 2019): Obtained, as local counsel, a dismissal with prejudice of tort claims against an Internet service provider (ISP) based on Section 230 immunity. 

  • Russell v. Waterman Broadcasting Corp, et al. (Fla. 20th Jud. Cir. 2019). Won summary judgment for reporter in public official defamation lawsuit brought by a state attorney.

  • Vette TV Productions et al. v. Discovery Communications LLC (N.D. Fla. 2017), Won dismissal of copyright claims and state law claims under the Florida Idea statute of frauds.

  • Folta v. The New York Times Co., et al. (N.D. Fla. 2019). Won summary judgment for The New York Times and journalist Eric Lipton in a defamation case involving news story profiling relationships between public university professors and the biotechnology and organic food industries concerning the safety and regulation of G.M.O. food products.

  • State Attorney’s Office of 17th Jud. Cir. v. Cable News Network, Inc., ---So. 3d ---, 2018 WL 3569397 (Fla. 4th DCA 2018), review denied (Fla. 2018). On behalf of a consortium of media companies, obtained surveillance video of law enforcement’s response to the Parkland school shooting. Trial court and appellate courts agreed with our arguments that a Public Records Act exemption for active criminal investigative information did not apply to the video, and that good cause supported release.

  • CNN v. Broward County Sheriff’s Office (Fla. 17th Jud. Circ. 2018). On behalf of a consortium of media companies, obtained the release of surveillance video recordings over asserted exemptions in a high-profile criminal case.  

  • Ayers v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, 2018 WL 375719 (M.D. Fla. 2018) Obtained order granting protective order and fees to preclude depositions of employees that were beyond scope of discovery.

  • Bond Safeguard Insurance Company v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., 2014 WL 5325728 (M.D. Fla. 2014) Obtained summary judgment in favor of Directors & Officers Liability carrier in a $40 million-plus Coblentz enforcement action involving the application of an “arising out of” contract liability exclusion to a business dispute and a discussion of the Daubert deficiencies of a Coblentz expert opinion.

  • Represented Florida companies in Florida derivative suits and record inspections. 

  • Represented clients in EEOC and presuit employment discrimination proceedings.

  • Represented media entities and journalists in defamation matters in multiple jurisdictions.

  • Represented a large, national department store in a contract dispute involving construction and development of a shopping center.

  • Handled breach of contract disputes on matters involving airplane leases, employment disputes, commercial loan disputes, multimillion dollar earnout disputes, subcontract agreements.

  • Represented companies in product labeling and insurance dispute class actions.

  • Counseled multi-national companies on antitrust concerns relating to supplier networks and franchising concerns.
  • Represented organizations and government entities and officials in election law matters.

  • Represented a contractor in a high-profile OSHA investigation.

  • Represented insurance companies in multimillion-dollar coverage disputes.

  • Represented media companies and public interest groups in Florida Public Records actions.

  • Represented media companies in copyright infringement actions.

  • Advised international clients on domestic and international law regarding vertical maximum pricing, trade association actions, supply pricing, exclusive alcohol distribution agreements, and joint purchasing agreements.

  • Advised medium-sized and large corporations, as well as closely-held and family businesses, on a variety of legal matters, including review and analysis of existing contracts and post-transaction analysis.

  • Represented the board of directors of a publicly traded company regarding potential derivative suit arising out of excecutive and director compensation.

  • Represented a seller of a health care staffing company in an earnout dispute.

  • Counseled clients on post-transaction contract enforcement provisions.


  • Panelist, Federal Bar Association-Cooley Law Student Division: Judicial Law Clerk Panel (March 8, 2023)

  • Panelist, Federal Bar Association’s Tampa Bay Chapter: Staying in the Game—Put Me in Coach (Dec. 15, 2022)

  • Panelist, Federal Bar Association’s Tampa Bay Chapter, The Mentor-Mentee Relationship: Keys to Success (March 8, 2022).

  • Panelist, Federal Bar Association’s Tampa Bay Chapter, How to Build Your Professional Network (July 27, 2021).

  • Speaker, Stetson University College of Law: Campus to Career Conference, How to Lose a Job in 10 Days (January 14, 2021).

  • Media Interview, WTSP-TV 10-News, Reporter Katie McCall, Compelled Speech and Sheriff’s Signs on Halloween (October 30, 2019).

  • Media Interview, WTSP-TV 10-News, Reporter Katie McCall, First Amendment Issues in Suit Against a Georgia Sheriff (October 22, 2019).

  • Media Interview, WTSP-TV 10-News, Reporter Katie McCall, First Amendment, Free Speech and the Tweets by O.J. Simpson on Twitter  (June 17, 2019).

  • Media Interview, WTSP-TV 10-News, Reporter Katie McCall, Privacy Law and the Recent Amazon Lawsuit  (June 14, 2019).
  • Moderator, “Florida’s Constitutional Revision Commission: a Panel Discussion among Current Chairman, past Commissioners, and Scholars,” The Florida House, Ponte Vedra, FL (Fall 2017).
  • Moderator, “Transportation: Florida’s Next Economic Engine,” The Florida House, Washington, DC (April 2015).
  • Moderator, “National Security in a Changing World: From the perspective of an academic, a general, a spy and Florida statesmen,” Florida Law Review: The 2013 Allen L. Poucher Lecture Series, Gainesville, FL (October 2013).
  • Speaker, U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida 50th Anniversary Symposium (2012).
  • Speaker, Florida Second District Court of Appeal Swearing-In Ceremony (2011).
  • Speaker, University of Florida College of Law Graduation Speaker (2011).
  • Moderator/Interviewer, Marshall M. Criser Distinguished Lecture: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (2010).
  • Commencement Speaker, All Saints Academy Commencement (2006)


  • Author, Inn the News: C.H. Ferguson-M.E. White American Inn of Court, The Bencher (July/Aug. 2021).

  • Fla. Cir.:  Florida Prosecutor's Libel Complaint Barred by Fair Report Privilege and Lack of Actual Malice, MLRC Media Law Letter (May 31, 2019)
  • Judge Orders Release of Exterior Video Recordings in Parkland School Shooting, MLRC Media Law Letter, (March 28, 2018)
  • Second Order Logrolling: The Impact of Direct Legislative Amendments to State Constitutions, 41 Nova L. Rev. 23 (January 2017).
  • Why I Took Paternity Leave—And More Dads Should, TIME’s (September 8, 2016).
  • Secure Communications: How a Monthly Lunch Can Protect Your Company in a Data Breach, Public Relations Tactics PRSA (September 2015) (co-author).
  • A Kickstart to Business: Florida Joins Other States in Passing Intrastate Crowdfunding Exemption, JDsupra (July 2015).
  • The Efficient Market Theory—§10(b)’s Double-Edged Sword, JDsupra (May 2015).
  • Crisis Management: Five Steps to Take Before Providing That Comment, Expect Focus Vol. IV (Fall 2014) (co-author).
  • When the Battle Zone Comes Home: The Adjudication of American Citizens in Terrorism Cases, 15th Annual Conference on Legal & Policy Issues in the Americas, Center for Governmental Responsibility (April 2014) (co-authored with then-Chief Judge Anne C. Conway).
  • Co-Author, "Introduction to the Symposium:  Fifty Years of Central Florida History Through the Lens of the Federal Courts," The Florida Historical Quarterly, Vol. 92.2 (Fall 2013).
  • The Kids are Not All Right: Mandating Peer Mediation as a Proactive Anti-Bullying Measure in Schools, 14 Cardozo J. of Conflict Resol. 81 (2012) (ABA’s James Boskey Dispute Resolution Award Winner).
  • OWNER BEWARE: OSHA’s Impact on Tort Litigation by Independent Contractors’ Injured Employees against Business Premises Owners, 66 U. Miami L. Rev. 987 (2012).
  • Board of Trustees, All Saints Academy
  • University of Tampa Board of Fellows
  • W&L Alumni Association President
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Staying in the Game Committee
  • Middle District of Florida’s 50th Anniversary Committee
  • Volunteer in Early Head Start
  • Youth Basketball Coach
  • Led weeklong race relations program in Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Founded Mentoring program for at-risk youth
  • Pre-School Home Room Parent, Amy Gail Buchman Preschool
  • Straz’s Best of Tampa Bay
  • Ferguson White Inn of Court
  • YMCA Youth In Government Advisor
  • Ovarian Cancer Research Fund local fundraising committee
  • Reader for the Hillsborough County Public Schools’ African American Read-In
  • UF Law Alumni Council
  • Florida Blue Key
  • Hope Cohen Barnett Leadership Institute
  • O’Connell Society
  • UF Law Mentoring Program
  • UF Law Alumni Judicial Clerkship Program
  • Federal Bar Association Mentoring Program
  • Organizer for Book Drive for Black History Month (collecting over 600 books)
  • Florida House on Capitol Hill
  • W&L Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics’ Young Alumni Council
  • ADL’s Glass Leadership Institute
  • Board of Directors, WEDU-PBS
  • Coach, i9 Sports
  • Jewish Community Relations Council
  • United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida’s Grievance Committee
  • Co-Chair, Federal Bar Association-Tampa Bay Chapter’s Mentoring Committee
  • Coach, Tampa Bay United Soccer
  • Pro bono work
Partner at the law firm, John Philipson