Bringing exemplary representation to the public sector
As population centers grow and infrastructure needs change, public agencies face an increasing need for top-quality legal representation. To aid public agencies in their mission to provide the best service possible for their citizens, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck maintains a well-seasoned multidisciplinary team experienced in the full range of legal issues that public agencies must address. The Brownstein Public Agency Group includes attorneys with broad experience representing public agencies in general counsel, transactional, and litigation matters. We serve as counsel to public agencies throughout the West, both as general counsel and as special counsel on particular transactions and litigation. Our clients include cities, counties, redevelopment authorities, regional agencies and special districts that provide utility services.
The Brownstein Public Agency Group has a strong reputation among public agencies for creative problem-solving and the ability to tackle complex issues in a cost-efficient manner. We approach our clients’ concerns using customized teams chosen for their experience with the particular issue at stake. We also understand the financial constraints under which many public agencies must operate. The Group has a particular proficiency in assisting public agencies with their public infrastructure projects. These projects are often tangled in the regulatory requirements imposed by other agencies at the federal, state and local levels, such as the California Coastal Commission or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. When necessary, we can call on resources from Brownstein’s highly respected Government Relations Group to assist with public policy, lobbying and regulatory counsel. Our in-house professional staff also includes land use planners with substantial experience working for local development permitting agencies. Our general counsel work covers the full range of local agency issues, including management of agency meetings, preparation of resolutions and ordinances, and ensuring compliance with open meeting and conflict-of-interest requirements.
The Public Agency Group includes attorneys with experience in the particular disciplines germane to public law. Representative areas of expertise include water rights, land use permitting, construction contracting and management, elections, eminent domain, environmental compliance, utility franchises, public finance, labor and employment, employee relations, and agency procedures.
Group members come from backgrounds in public law, having served in top positions in public law offices in various western cities. The group includes attorneys who are also accustomed to dealing with governmental bodies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state-level environmental agencies. Our years of experience serving as legal advisors to numerous public agencies give us the background to ask the right questions, identify the pertinent concerns of our clients, and help achieve their goals in the most efficient manner possible.
Broad Expertise. We have broad expertise in the full range of issues that are presented to public agencies, including agency procedures (open meetings, public records, meeting protocol, etc.), public contracting, ethics and conflicts of interest, elections, finance and economic development, land use regulation, environmental protection and permitting, code enforcement, and liability/litigation.
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidance. The Public Agency Group for years has provided legal advice to public agencies, including California water districts and regional water agencies, related to project review under the California Environmental Quality Act. We are well-versed in the application of CEQA to issues such as alternative water supplies, contaminated groundwater sources, and agency review of projects, including those proposed by the agency itself.
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Litigation. Working with the firm’s NEPA/CEQA Group, we can litigate issues related to CEQA. This work includes dispute avoidance and resolution counsel to avoid courtroom-driven outcomes whenever it is more beneficial for the client.
Public Infrastructure. The Group handles issues related to contracting, permitting and litigation for public works projects (such as water treatment plants, utility development, and public works projects), real estate transactions, land use development, engineering and construction.
Public Financing Litigation. The Public Agency Group can act as special counsel or as a litigation team to defend public agencies from lawsuits involving issues of public financing and tax incentives. We also work with our Public Finance Group to provide legal services associated with bond opinions and issuance.