Municipal and City Attorney
In addition to my Louisville criminal defense practice, my attorney and judicial misconduct practice, and my burgeoning civil practice, I’m also the city attorney for a small municipality inside Louisville. This position covers a wide range of topics, situations and negotiations. In this role, I advise and/or represent the city in any/all legal matters that may arise.
A city attorney advises the mayor and city council members as to the legality of specific plans or programs, evaluates the risk involved in any adverse legal actions against the city or municipality, attends scheduled council meetings and may work with specific departments of the city directly when issues arise.
While it’s often overlooked, for a lawyer, the role of city attorney offers the opportunity to get involved in a wide range of legal areas. There are always contracts to be reviewed. You may need to provide advice to the mayor on personnel issues related to the hiring or firing of city employees. The city’s procurement departments need help generating valid and enforceable requests for proposals, as well as reviewing the received bids. You might find yourself advising on property development and/or sales.
It’s important to distinguish the role’s ultimate client. In this role, again, I represent the city. However, this doesn’t mean I’m the personal attorney for the mayor nor does it mean I’m the attorney for the city council. I report directly to the mayor, who then addresses the matters with the council. In some cases, municipal or city attorneys report to a town counsel or board.
The position of city attorney is typically an appointed position, usually by the mayor with the approval of the city council, which means you don’t have to run for an elected position. For this reason, the mayor is at liberty to dismiss a city attorney and appoint his/her replacement.
For many, this position is a behind the scenes role. As an experienced civil, criminal and administrative lawyer, the role offers the opportunity to negotiate and enforce agreements impacting an entire community. It’s not glamorous work, but for those of us who take it seriously, it’s an opportunity to protect the city and help it to chart a course for a successful, financially solvent future.