Bryant Miller Olive’s fast and early growth mirrors the evolution of municipal bond practice in Florida, as well as the growth and development of the state itself.
The firm’s early shareholders shared an unwavering dedication to public service. They envisioned the creation of a specialty practice that one day would be known for its competence, service, trust and loyalty in helping to meet the needs not only of Florida residents but also the millions of visitors to the state each year.
Former Florida Governor C. Farris Bryant was heralded for his efforts to extensively expand the State’s junior college and state university system, to construct interstate and state highways throughout Florida, and as a strong proponent to purchase public lands for future use by the state. In 1942, he was elected to the Florida House of Representatives, but resigned to serve in the U.S. Navy during World War II. In 1946 he was again elected to the Florida House, served five consecutive terms until 1956, serving as Speaker in 1953. In 1960 he was elected Governor and entered office in January 1961, serving until January 1965. After his term as governor, Mr. Bryant served at the national level in the United States National Security Council and in the White House Office of Emergency Planning.
Wilton R. Miller, a former Deputy Attorney General, close advisor and legal counsel to Governor Bryant, and former chief counsel to former Commissioner of Agriculture, Doyle Conner, had a keen knowledge of state government. He was a trusted friend to local and state government officials. Mr. Miller represented a number of companies before the executive and legislative branches of Florida government. A significant portion of his practice related to public utility matters and regulatory issues before the Florida Public Service Commission. In 2012, after 50 years in the Florida Bar, Mr. Miller retired from the practice of law.
W. Robert Olive, a former Assistant Attorney General serving primarily in the utility area, had a reputation for determined, aggressive representation of Florida consumers coupled with a strict attention to detail. An original member of the National Association of Bond Lawyers, Mr. Olive led the firm’s significant growth in the public finance area through the early 1990’s. He was very active in the financing of many solid waste disposal and resource recovery facilities in the State of Florida. He was lead counsel of record in several major Florida Supreme Court decisions in the area of public finance, including State vs. City of Sunrise (upholding advance refundings) and State vs. Miami Beach Redevelopment Agency (upholding the constitutionality of the increment financing in Florida).
Benjamin H. Dickens was a pioneer in the area of governmental and private bond finance in Florida. After active service in the Pacific Theatre in World War II, he attended law school on the G.I. Bill and later served as counsel to the Florida Development Commission during Governor C. Farris Bryant’s gubernatorial term. During his tenure at the Development Commission, Mr. Dickens was heavily engaged in the area of bond finance matters for the State of Florida. He was recognized as a leading attorney in the area of bond finance, and was a co-founder of the firm’s predecessor, Bryant, Dickens, Franson & Miller.
Together, these men were joined by a motivated group of highly-skilled legal assistants and other expert professionals. Very soon after its organization, Bryant Miller Olive was selected as a preeminent firm in the state to represent Florida’s interests on public finance transactions and to serve as bond counsel on one of the first pollution control financings in the nation. In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Florida focused statewide effort in advancing the national affordable housing movement. Again, the firm emerged as a leader in this area of public law and the firm was hired to represent the state’s housing finance agency and rapidly developed the largest affordable housing public finance practice in Florida.
Through these milestone achievements in the areas of public finance transactions, pollution control, affordable housing, government and business law, Bryant Miller Olive earned a statewide reputation for credibility and unparalleled service. While the scope of the firm’s practice has expanded and includes work across the United States, the firm has not wavered from its founding vision: We will be known by the quality of service we provide.