Public Agency & Municipal Law

Practice Area

Public Agency & Municipal Law

Lewis Brisbois' Public Agency & Municipal Law Practice provides a broad range of litigation, counseling, and transactional representation to cities, counties, regional governments, special districts, school districts and joint powers authorities.

This work includes:

Property Acquisition/Economic Development

  • Voluntary acquisition
  • Eminent Domain
  • Inverse condemnation
  • Public works construction and claims, including development of public works packages
  • Bid protests, bidding responsibilities, interpreting and enforcing public works contracts, stop notices, and contractor issues
  • All aspects of redevelopment
  • Environmental compliance and safeguards
  • Complex transactional negotiations and drafting
  • Acquisition and disposition including ERN’s, purchase and sale agreements, DDA’s, property conveyance documents, common interest agreements, reciprocal easements, and other joint use agreements
  • Special counsel and general counsel for a variety of community development agencies, cities, school districts, and special districts
  • Affordable housing
  • Military Base Reuse advice including conversion and civilian reuse

Land Use, Planning, Environment

  • Compliance with federal and local environmental laws including CEQA, Endangered Species Act, Fish & Game Act, National Environmental Policy Act including remediation, NPDES
  • Land use entitlements
  • Phase I and II investigations
  • Zoning
  • All aspects of pre-acquisition due diligence, including entitlements
  • Water, wastewater, recycled water
  • Air quality
  • Soil and groundwater contamination
  • Negotiation with and permitting from the Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Fish & Game, and Regional Water Quality Control Boards
  • General Plan development and amendment
  • All transactional and permitting support for large scale energy projects including liquid natural gas, geothermal, and thermal solar plants
  • CERCLA, RCRA and public airport administration
  • Land use ordinances

Tort Litigation

  • Tort Claims Act
  • Dangerous condition of Public Property
  • Nuisance
  • Inverse Condemnation
  • Brownfields/Polanco Act
  • Infrastructure Failure

Local Entity Formation & Governance

  • City incorporation
  • Working with LAFCO (in California)
  • Formation of joint powers authority
  • District reorganizations including annexations and detachments
  • Compliance with open government and open meeting laws such as the Brown Act (California), Public Records Act and Political Reform Act (California) compliance
  • Local authority administration
  • Negotiate regulatory, administrative, and legal issues with governmental agencies
  • Drafting of contracts, leases, and licenses for government-owned facilities

Public Finance
Lewis Brisbois' Public Finance Practice addresses the needs of clients in connection with the issuance of taxable and tax exempt municipal bonds issued by public finance authorities, municipalities, school districts, community college districts, nonprofit organizations and other government issuers. We are listed in The Bond Buyer’s Municipal Marketplace (the “Red Book”) as nationally recognized bond counsel. Our attorneys currently serve and have served in the capacities of: bond counsel, disclosure counsel, trustee’s counsel, letter of credit counsel, underwriter’s counsel, issuer’s counsel, and contract negotiation counsel in connection with public financing of all types throughout the State of California. Typical transactions in which the firm participates include financing for various governmental purposes such as infrastructure projects, tax increment financing (tax exempt and taxable) for redevelopment activities, schools, housing, airports, and governmental facilities. We have structured COP financings to fund schools, city halls, police stations, libraries, transit centers, and other public buildings.

Our public finance experience includes short term paper, including, but not limited to, bond anticipation notes, grant anticipation notes and tax and revenue anticipation notes; certificates of participation; general obligation bonds; assessment, special tax and community facility districts, including all substantive and procedural aspects underlying the formation of such districts, such as validations. We also render advice regarding prevailing wage requirements, the reasonableness of city exactions, the economic impacts of proposed taxes, the effects of implementation thereof, and the reasonableness of the provisions of bond financing as structured by underwriters or financial consultants. Lewis Brisbois has substantial experience in counseling clients on the restructuring or refinancing of benefit assessment districts and Mello-Roos districts where changes in circumstances have resulted in financial instability.


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