James Johnston is a partner in the Orlando office of Shutts & Bowen LLP, where he focuses his practice in land use and zoning, government law and real estate and is a member of the Land Use Practice Group. He is Board Certified by the Florida Bar in City, County, and Local Government Law.

James has an extensive background in representing developers and property owners on complex commercial, residential and mixed use real estate development projects.  He represents clients in all phases of development and regularly appears before local governments throughout Central Florida on land use, permitting, environmental and regulatory issues associated with real property development.  This work includes comprehensive planning, rezoning, developments of regional impact, annexation, platting, site planning, code compliance, concurrency, conditional uses, vested rights, and environmental permitting.  James also represents clients in administrative hearings and other land use litigation matters.

As a Winter Park native, James is involved in many local groups and activities. He is currently serving as a member of the City of Winter Park Planning and Zoning Board, and previously served on the City’s Charter Review Committee.  James also serves on the Duke University Alumni Admissions Advisory Council and was previously a member of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.



  • University of Florida College of Law, J.D., with honors, 1996
  • Duke University, B.A., 1993

Bar Admissions

  • Florida

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida

Professional and Civic

  • City of Winter Park Planning and Zoning Board
    • Member (2011—Present)
    • Chairman (2013—2016)
  • Duke University Alumni Admissions Advisory Council
  • City of Winter Park Charter Review Committee (2009 - 2010)
  • Past Member, Winter Park Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors
  • Past Member, Orange County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board
  • Past Member, Orange County Regional History Center Board of Directors

News & Insights

News & Speaking Engagements


  • Board Certified by The Florida Bar in City, County and Local Government Law
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ Rated, 5.0 out of 5.0
  • Best Lawyers in America®
    • Lawyer of the Year (Government Relations Practice), 2021, 2023
    • Real Estate, 2016—2024
    • Government Relations Practice, 2018-2024
  • Orlando Magazine, “The Best Lawyers in Orlando,” 2020

  • Florida Bar Board Certified in City, County, Local Government

Jump to Page

Shutts & Bowen, established in 1910, is a full-service business law firm with approximately 270 lawyers located in eight offices across Florida.

By using this site, you agree to our updated Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use.