Meet Our Attorneys
The primary role of the City Attorney is to act as the legal adviser to, and attorney and counselor for, the municipality and all of its officers in matters relating to their official duties. Along with the City Manager and City Clerk, City Attorney is one of three positions filled by the City Commission.
Isabelle Lopez, who was appointed City Attorney in 2014, first joined the city in 2011 as Assistant City Attorney, where she was primary counsel to the Planning & Zoning Board, Historic Architectural Review Board and the Code Enforcement Adjustments & Appeals Board, as well as, litigation counsel on matters regarding land use and permitting.
Her expertise in all aspects of municipal law includes a broad range of practices, from public hearings, constitutional claims and eminent domain, to compliance, code enforcement, special assessments, zoning and permitting. In addition, Ms. Lopez is experienced in the subjects of:
- Contracts and procurement
- Interlocal agreements
- Land use
- Ordinance drafting
- Prosecution of local ordinance citations
Certifications & Previous Positions
Board Certified in City, County, and Local Government Law since 2004, Ms. Lopez is a Florida Supreme Court Qualified Arbitrator, and Certified County and Circuit Civil Mediator. She is rated AV-Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell peer review, and has been listed in numerous publications including Florida Trend Magazine’s Florida Legal Elite, Jacksonville Magazine, and 904 Magazine.
Prior to her positions with the city, she was a partner at two statewide law firms and worked with the Florida Department of Transportation and St. Johns County. She is a graduate of McGill University and received her Juris Doctor from the University of Florida.
Denise C. May rejoins the City Attorney’s office after two years in private practice focusing on civil defense of government entities and assisting various cities with land use, zoning, planning, public hearings, legislative ordinance drafting, and constitutional rights claims. Ms. May began her career in local government as the Assistant City Attorney here in the City of St. Augustine in 2014 where she spent four years assisting City Attorney Isabelle Lopez.
Ms. May received her Bachelor of Science (BS) from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. She received her Juris Doctor (JD) graduating Cum Laude from Barry University School of Law in 2013.
Certifications & Admissions
Ms. May is Board Certified in City, County, and Local Government Law. She is admitted to practice in all courts of the State of Florida and the U.S. District Courts for the Middle District of Florida.
Board Advisor & Other Responsibilities
In addition to assisting the City Attorney in all assigned matters, Ms. May serves as the advisor to the Code Enforcement Adjustments & Appeals Board, the Planning & Zoning Board, and as police advisor to the St. Augustine Police Department. Ms. May prosecutes all municipal code violations as well as coordinates and assists outside counsel in multiple litigation matters involving the City and represents the City in all Land Use and Environmental Dispute Resolution petitions.