Alumni Reflections: John Arther Jones
“The profession has changed drastically since I graduated from law school in ’49. Now, it’s more of a business than a profession, more about money than service. It’s also a more hurried environment, without the time to reflect that really makes for better results. Another enormous change has been the contribution of women lawyers to the profession — a big plus. Women bring something to the profession that it didn’t have before, which has tended to offset some of the commercialism.
“Law is communication, so I advise students to take writing and speech courses. Get involved in extra-curricular activities, because you’ll learn so much from the interactions. Don’t stay in a shell, go out and be exposed to other people and cultures. My late friend, Chesterfield Smith, said, ‘You give something back, and you do so with pleasure.’ Money is important, but it’s a very narrow life if that’s your only pursuit. Mere accumulation of wealth is not what law is really about.”
— John Arthur Jones (UF LLB/JD 1949, With Honors), Partner, Holland & Knight. Jones volunteered for military service in 1940 and served until 1946, fighting in WWII. While a student at the UF College of Law, he was a Student Government law school representative; Blue Key member; Honor Court clerk; and Florida Law Review executive board member, case editor and articles editor. His case comment was published in the Review’s first bound volume in 1948.
Jones has practiced 54 years. He is Bar-Certified in Wills, Trusts and Estates, and is considered an expert in banking law, estates & trusts, real property and commercial law. In 1949, he joined the Tampa firm of Knight, Thompson, Knight & Bell, and made partner five years later. That firm, then named Knight, Jones, Whitaker & Germany, merged in 1967 with Holland, Bevis, Smith, Kibler & Hall, and became Holland & Knight. While serving in 1980 as general counsel for a large Tampa bank, Jones helped re-write Florida’s Banking Code as special counsel to the Florida House of Representative’s Commerce Committee. He has lectured at the Florida School of Banking and taught courses for the Florida Bankers Association for more than a decade.
He is a member and former chair of the Probate and Guardianship Forms Committee; chair of The Florida Bar’s Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section and director of its Probate and Trust Law Division; a member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers; an academician of the International Academy of Estate and Trust Law; and fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. He has received the highest rating in the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory and been listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law and The Best Lawyers in America. He has been honored with The Florida Bar’s Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section’s “Robert C. Scott Memorial Award” (1985) and its “William S. Belcher Lifetime Professionalism Award” (2003), which was named for his late friend and law school classmate. Jones has joined with other members of the firm of Holland & Knight in donating $50,000 to the Florida Law Review endowment fund.