Government

Government

Broad Experience Serving as Chief Legal Advisors to Public Agencies

Collectively, we have decades of experience and a proven track record serving as chief legal advisors for a variety of public agencies. Our lawyers include:

  • The current City Attorneys of Brisbane and Corte Madera
  • Former City Attorneys of San Francisco, Richmond, Santa Rosa, Pleasanton and Los Gatos
  • San Francisco’s former Chief Deputy City Attorney and former Chief Assistant City Attorney, and several former General Counsel for various San Francisco departments
  • The current District Counsel for the Moraga Orinda Fire District
  • The current General Counsel for the San Francisco Local Agency Formation Commission
  • A former Chief Counsel for the Secretary of State
  • A former General Counsel for the San Francisco Unified School District

Relying on our broad experience in this area, we take a solution-oriented approach to providing public agencies with legal advice that recognizes the realities public officials face. Our goal is to provide practical and creative legal solutions that provide policy makers with options for achieving their policy goals with minimal legal risk.

Legal Services Tailored to Meet the Unique Needs of Public Agencies

We provide ongoing and interim city attorney and general counsel services for local governments seeking to have those services provided by a law firm on a contract basis.

For those public agencies with “in-house” legal counsel, we offer specialized legal services as needed on complex, discrete government law issues that arise from time-to-time. We frequently provide in-house city attorneys, county counsel and general counsel with our independent legal analyses and risk assessments of complex constitutional or statutory questions.

Whether we act as a local government’s chief legal advisor or special counsel, our general government advice services include:

  • Charter amendments, ordinances and resolutions
  • Brown Act, Public Records Act, sunshine legislation and other laws governing local government decision-making and operations
  • Land use, planning, CEQA and development issues
  • Complex statutory and constitutional questions, including First Amendment, Equal Protection and Due Process issues
  • Elections issues
  • Ethics matters
  • Public contracting
  • Employment advice and personnel actions
  • Labor relations and labor negotiation services

Ethics Advice & Training

Our attorneys have extensive experience in guiding public officials through the labyrinth of ethics laws governing their conduct. We offer proactive ethics advice and training on state and local ethics laws, including Political Reform Act provisions on conflicts of interest and restrictions on gifts to public officials. We also advise and represent public officials on specific allegations or charges by the California Fair Political Practices Commission.

Defending Local Governments

Our attorneys represent agencies and officials in federal and state court challenges to their decisions and policies. We have successfully defended public agencies against constitutional challenges to a wide range of ordinances and policies, as well as challenges to administrative agency decisions. We have prevailed on claims alleging violations of the state’s open meetings and public records laws. We also represent public agencies in civil litigation arising from the employer-employee relationship. Our approach is to zealously defend the ability of public officials to make the difficult decisions they are charged with making.