The County Counsel represents the County and its officials in civil litigation, defends the County in administrative law proceedings, provides written and oral legal opinions to County officers, and acts as legal advisor to County boards, commissions and committees. The County Counsel's Office does not provide advice directly to members of the public.
The mission of County Counsel is to provide quality, timely, and sound legal advice, services and representation in all civil and administrative proceedings to the Board of Supervisors, elected and appointed department heads, County departments, and special districts.
Programs & Services
The Office of County Counsel currently consists of the County Counsel, 5 full time attorneys, and 4 administrative and support staff. As the County's Chief Legal Office, County Counsel serves as the attorney for Butte County, including the Board of Supervisors and all County offices, departments, boards, commissions and the Grand Jury.
County Counsel is a support organization; work is client driven, and there are no independent objectives. County Counsel is dedicated to the principle that thoughtful, credible and ethical legal services lead to fewer lawsuits, lower liability costs, better services and better County government. By interpreting the law in a sound and consistent manner it enables the clients to reach their objectives in accordance with local, state and federal law, thereby avoiding, to the extent possible, challenge and confusion.
County Counsel has primary responsibility for providing legal advice and assistance to the Board of Supervisors and County staff on matters such as:
- Public policies
- Land use
- Human/social services
- Civil actions
- Risk management and insurance
- Municipal and public law
- Tort law
- Resources law
- Environmental law
- Nuisance abatement
- Personnel benefits, retirement and labor relations law
- Construction, facilities and real estate law
The attorneys in the Office of County Counsel:
- Prepare board reports and recommendations
- Prepare legal opinions
- Draft ordinances, resolutions and proposed legislation
- Represent the county before the legislature as directed
- Formulate litigation strategies
- Oversee legal research and investigations
- Act as trial counsel in state court, federal court, and administrative proceedings
- Monitor legal developments
- Retain and manage outside counsel
- Serve as attorneys for the County in all civil actions
- Can I get free legal advice from the County Counsel?
No. The County Counsel provides legal advice to the Board of Supervisors, elected officials, and County departments for matters related to the operation and management of the County government. The County Counsel and other attorneys in the office cannot provide legal advice to members of the public.
- Who can "accept service"?
All claims, summons and complaints against the County or a County department must be "served" (delivered) to the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, the agent authorized to accept service on behalf of the County of Butte. No departmental employee should accept service of any claim, complaint or summons on behalf of the County or County agency. The process server will be directed to deliver the papers to the Clerk of the Board in Suite 200 of the County Administration Building. The Office of County Counsel does not accept service, unless there is a prior agreement to accept service on behalf of a client.