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The Highlands County Attorney’s Office was established in 2015.  Joy Cook Carmichael serves as the County Attorney, the general counsel for the Board of County Commissioners.  The County Attorney’s Office also includes an Assistant County Attorney, Shannon L. Nash, and a Paralegal, Carolyn Durbin.  The County Attorney’s Office provides legal counsel and advice to the Board of County Commissioners, the County Administrator, and County Departments, as well as the Supervisor of Elections and certain boards and agencies organized under the Board of County Commissioners.  Legal services also include drafting and reviewing contracts, ordinances, resolutions, and legislation; handling legal aspects of real estate acquisitions and capital projects; advising county departments, municipal service benefit units, advisory boards and committees; and instituting and defending civil actions at all levels of State and Federal courts; and coordinating legal services in general.

The County Attorney is not legal counsel to the general public and may not advise individual citizens.

Before beginning her tenure as County Attorney, Ms. Carmichael served Orange County, Florida for several years as an Assistant County Attorney and outside counsel.  Ms. Carmichael has also served as outside counsel to the City of Orlando and has represented various individuals and corporate entities in private practice.  Ms. Carmichael graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Florida College of Law. She is admitted to practice before state and federal courts, and has held leadership roles in several community organizations, including serving as an appointed member of the State of Florida New Motor Vehicle Arbitration Board and a member of the City, County & Local Government Law Section of The Florida Bar.

Ms. Carmichael is frequently requested as a speaker and has written numerous articles.  Ms. Carmichael has lectured on various topics of local government matters, including quasi-judicial proceedings, ethics for public officers and employees, local lobbyist regulation and public records and sunshine laws.

Contact Information:

Joy Cook Carmichael

County Attorney

600 South Commerce Avenue

Sebring, FL 33870

Tel: (863) 402-6501

Fax: (863) 402-6835