Owner’s Counsel of American was founded by Toby Prince Brigham, one of the premier eminent domain lawyers in the country. A graduate of Yale University (’56) and the University of Florida College of Law (’59), for over 50 years, Mr. Brigham devoted his law practice exclusively to the defense of constitutional property rights. At the time he began practicing law, eminent domain was hardly a special area of practice, let alone the controversial issue it has become today. In fact, Toby Brigham helped to develop the field of eminent domain, particularly the representation of property owners in condemnation litigation, as a focused discipline. As a past planning co-chair of the annually held American Bar Association-American Law Institute (now ALI-CLE) Eminent Domain and Land Valuation Litigation conference, he sought for over two decades to educate and inspire other lawyers in the complexities of eminent domain law and the importance of private property ownership. Indeed, it was the fellowship he developed with leading eminent domain lawyers all across the country that inspired him to bring Owners’ Counsel of America to life, as a means of assisting private landowners facing all manner of property takings. Both Andrew Prince Brigham (his son) and Amy Brigham Boulris (his daughter) have continued their father’s eminent domain legacy as proud members of OCA.
In recognition of Mr. Brigham’s lifetime contributions to private property rights, each year William & Mary Law School hosts the Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference.The conference is designed to bring together members of the bench, bar and academia to explore recent developments in the law that affect property rights. The conference awards the Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Prize to an individual whose work has advanced the cause of property rights and has contributed to the overall awareness of the important role property rights occupy in the broader scheme of individual liberty.