Our firm focuses primarily on municipal law and our attorneys possess extensive expertise in all areas of local government law. Our team of attorneys is accomplished in municipal matters and provides a vast array of knowledge in such areas as contracts, procurement, construction law, employment law, land use and planning, code and ordinance drafting, and municipal court prosecution. We provide our clients with advice that is innovative and individualized to each City.
Our clients seek our services in a wide variety of municipal legal matters, including: application of the Open Meetings Act and Public Information Act; police advisory and civil service matters; attendance at City Council meetings and advisory board meetings, such as Planning & Zoning Commissions and Zoning Boards of Adjustment; eminent domain and condemnation proceedings; and negotiations with developers and land use issues related to development. We are proud to offer personalized service to our clients and we strive to ensure all our attorneys are readily accessible to each of our clients.
The character of a city is often dictated by the land use and development regulations that its elected officials choose to adopt, implement, and enforce. Maintaining or revitalizing a community’s character requires striking a balance between what is desirable in the form of regulation and what is economically feasible for private sector developers. We have vast experience in handling issues involving municipal boundaries, annexation and extraterritorial jurisdiction. We have been involved in both planning and litigation involving municipal boundaries and related issues since the inception of the law establishing extraterritorial jurisdiction in 1963. Our team has mastered working with city planning professionals in preparing subdivision and zoning ordinances that conform to a city’s adopted master plan. We routinely work with city support staff and council in negotiating with land owners and developers to create planned development district ordinances that allow the city and developer to strike the aforementioned balance.
Our municipal attorneys draft, prepare, and review ordinances and resolutions on a regular basis. We do this with great attention to detail to ensure that the ordinance or resolution is in proper form, meets substantive legal requirements, and fits within an adopted code or system of ordinances. We know when an ordinance as opposed to a resolution is needed, when an ordinance should and should not amend an existing code, and whether an ordinance is even necessary. More importantly, we draft language that meets our clients’ objectives while remaining within the bounds of state and federal constitutional, statutory, and case law. Our firm maintains an extensive database of municipal codes, ordinances and resolutions, many of which have been tested and successfully challenged in both state and federal court.
Employment law matters present significant liability risks. Complicated federal and state law can expose the City to excessive verdicts and monetary awards. The Firm’s attorneys are intimately familiar with complex employment issues such as: Employment and Disciplinary Practices Policy and Procedure Manuals Hiring and Termination Practices Whistleblower Act Employee Benefits Drug Testing Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Civil Rights Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Veteran’s Re-employment Rights Civil Service Systems Equal Employment Opportunity Council (EEOC) Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
We represent clients at all levels of state and federal litigation, from the commencement of suit through appeal at the highest levels, including the Texas and United States Supreme Courts. Our Firm has a rich tradition of providing municipal defendants and plaintiffs alike with successful and valuable legal representation. Our litigation and appellate work includes land use, contract disputes, constitutional challenges to ordinances, defense of claims of deprivation of constitutional rights, employment disputes, claims arising under the Texas Tort Claims Act, civil rights, Civil Service Act disputes and construction law. For years, one of the firm’s partners, Peter G. Smith, has served as a highly respected member and approved defense counsel for the Texas Municipal League Intergovernmental Risk Pool (TMLIRP).
Our experienced team of prosecutors, many of whom have prior experience as assistant district attorneys and in-house city prosecutors, serve as municipal prosecutors in a substantial majority of the cities we represent. All of our prosecutors are capable of expediting a court’s docket in order to maintain an extremely high level of efficiency without compromising effectiveness. Our prosecutors are sensitive to the needs of the community as well as their vital role in local law enforcement. In addition, several of our attorneys routinely speak at seminars for the Texas Municipal Courts Education Center.