Executive Highlight

Marks Gray

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First amendment attorney , Marks Gray
Business Founded: Before 1977
Phone: (904) 807-2179

1200 river place boulevard
Jacksonville, FL 32207

How long have you been in your industry?28 years
Why did you choose your industry?As a journalist with the Associated Press I watched from the sidelines as our elected officials and courts worked, onstensibly in behalf of the people. Evertially it became time for me to become a participant in our self-governed democracy. So I became a lawyer and have practiced first amendment and media law for more than 23 years.
Who are your typical clients?News organization and other businesses and individuals who voices are being threatened with defamation lawsuits and denial of access to the government agencies and courts who exist to serve us.
What do you like best about being in this industry?There’s nothing more meaningful to me than helping the news media of all viewpoints accomplish their mission of holding government accountable, and helping businesses and individuals have their voices to be heard when powerful and monied interests would rather that my clients remain quiet.
What are common problems you see?Government refusing to comply with Florida’s public records and open meetings laws. Legislators enacting new exemptions to public records without considering the impact of secrecy. Legislators attempting to punish “legacy” news media by weakening first amendment protections against defamation lawsuits without realizing that all viewpoints—from ultra conservative to ultra liberal—will be silenced.
What advice/tips do you have for clients?Think carefully before posting online. If you think something damaging about another person is true, check it out before repeating it.
When is your busy season?Every day.
What keeps you up at night?The ease with which candidates and public officials seek to tear down news media solely to avoid accountability or to seek power. Thomas Jefferson is spinning in his grave.
How do you market yourself to grow/expand your business?Speak. Write. Volunteer. Directly contact potential clients.
How involved are you in the community?Deeply. My law firm’s culture is deeply defined by public service. Presently I volunteer as general counsel for the first amendment foundation in Tallahassee.
What is your favorite not for profit or charity?The Florida First Amendment Foundation.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of getting into this business?If you’re committed to democracy and truth and government of the people you just might succeed. Never give up.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?Yoga. Carpentry. Ham radio. Zip lining.

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