Craig E. Leen
Deputy City Attorney
Bridgette N. Thornton
Assistant City Attorney
The City Attorney:
Mr. Leen was appointed to serve as the City Attorney for the City of Coral Gables in 2011. As the City Attorney, Mr. Leen is the chief legal officer and general counsel for the City and supervises an Office composed of the Deputy City Attorney, the Assistant City Attorney, a Paralegal, an Administrative Assistant, and a part time Legal Clerk. Additionally, Mr. Leen is responsible for hiring and supervising outside counsel that may be retained to represent the City on discrete individual matters.
Mr. Leen received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Georgetown University in 1997 where he was a cum laude double major in Government and Economics. Upon graduating from Georgetown, Mr. Leen attended Columbia University Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, an Articles Editor for the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, a Teaching Fellow and Research Assistant for Professor E. Allan Farnsworth in Contracts, and a Research Assistant for Professor Subha Narasimhan in Torts.
Mr. Leen’s diverse post law school experience includes serving as a Law Clerk to the Honorable Robert E. Keeton, United States District of Massachusetts, and working in the private sector for such notable firms as Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen, & Hamilton LLP (N.Y.), Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, & Flom, LLP (Boston), and Morgan, Lewis, & Bockius, LLP (Miami). Immediately before he became the City Attorney for the City of Coral Gables, Mr. Leen worked for the Miami-Dade County Attorney’s Office as an Assistant County Attorney for approximately six years. During his tenure as an Assistant County Attorney, Mr. Leen served as Chief of the Federal Litigation Section and Chief of the Appellate Section.
Mr. Leen is a volunteer adjunct professor for the University of Miami School of Law, where he has taught State & Local Government Law and Real Property & Government. In addition, Mr. Leen is an adjunct professor at the Florida International University College of Law, where he has taught Evidence and Legal Skills and Values III.
Mr. Leen is also active in professional committees and associations. He presently serves as a Vice Chair of the committee-as-a-whole of the Florida Appellate Court Rules Committee, as an Executive Council Member of the City, County & Local Government Section of the Florida Bar, and on the Steering Committee for the Florida Municipal Attorneys Association. Mr. Leen is also a member of the Local Rules Committee for the Southern District of Florida.
The Deputy City Attorney:
The Deputy City Attorney for the City of Coral Gables is Bridgette N. Thornton, Esq. Ms. Thornton is a graduate of Duke University where she was a cum laude double major in Public Policy Studies and African-American Studies and minored in Political Science. After completing her undergraduate studies, Ms. Thornton attended Harvard Law School. As a law student, Ms. Thornton served as an Executive Editor for the Black Letter Law Journal and, in her spare time, was the point guard and captain for a highly successful intramural basketball team.
Upon graduating from law school, Ms. Thornton worked as an associate in Arnold & Porter, LLP’s Washington, D.C. Office. There, she litigated commercial, securities, and antitrust matters. Then, from 2005 to 2007, Ms. Thornton served as a Law Clerk to the Honorable Marcia G. Cooke, U.S. District Judge for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Immediately before joining the City Attorney’s Office, Ms. Thornton was an Assistant County Attorney for the Miami-Dade County Attorney’s Office. As an Assistant County Attorney, Ms. Thornton litigated Tort cases, Unsafe Structures matters, Federal Civil Rights cases, Code Enforcement appeals, and advised Community Zoning & Appeals’ Boards as well as the County’s Unsafe Structures Board. Moreover, during her tenure as an Assistant County Attorney, Ms. Thornton served as the Chief of the Federal Litigation Section and the Appeals Section.
As the Deputy City Attorney, Ms. Thornton advises the Historic Preservation Board and the Board of Adjustment, drafts and reviews contracts and pleadings, researches and prepares legal opinions, supervises outside counsel, and otherwise assists the City Attorney as he may request.
Ms. Thornton is a member of the Florida Bar, the Maryland Bar, and the Bar for the District of Columbia. She is also admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
About The City Attorney's Office:
Coral Gables is one of the most historic Cities in Miami-Dade County. Responsibility for governing the City falls upon the Coral Gables Commissioners. The City Commission appoints three officials –the City Manager, City Clerk and City Attorney, which are responsible for distinct functions of municipal government. The City Attorney is the chief legal officer of the City. The office of the City Attorney is instrumental in guiding the City Commission and Administration in the development and implementation of policies and procedures.
The Office of the City Attorney provides legal counsel and representation to the City Commission, City Boards and Committees, the City Clerk and City Manager as well as the various City departments and agencies.
The office presents continuous educational courses to its boards, committees, officers and employees and has developed and implemented numerous preventive law programs. The City Attorney represents the City in all litigation matters affecting the city including zoning disputes, contract and bid disputes, tort claims, workers compensation matters, commercial litigation and constitutional challenges to the City Charter and Codes. The City Attorney is also responsible for the investigation and handling of all claims served on the City. The office drafts city contracts, ordinances, resolutions and the various legal documents required by the Charter, Code or City Commission, such as restrictive covenants and liens.
City Attorney’s Office
405 Biltmore Way, 2nd Floor
Coral Gables, FL 33134
Office: (305) 460-5218
Facsimile: (305) 476-7795
Email the City Attorney's Office
Please note that because the City Attorney's Office represents and advises the City of Coral Gables (including its Commissioners, Directors, Employees, and the various City Boards and City Board Members) the City Attorney's Office cannot provide legal advice or recommend an attorney to anyone. Moreover, the content on this site is offered only as a public service and does not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice. As such, this site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney licensed or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction.