Municipal Law

The firm’s Municipal Law Group concentrates on the legal representation of municipalities and their respective authorities throughout the jurisdictions we reside in and beyond. Our attorneys are experienced at handling all legal matters for municipalities and their respective authorities serve the firm’s municipal clients. The Firm's attorneys have represented over 200 municipalities and school districts as general counsel, special counsel or bond counsel.

Clark Hill’s municipal attorneys do not serve in a manner typical of outside counsel. They understand that, under many city charters, as a “city attorney” they often serve as “officers” of the city. While they are legal advisers, they also become part of a “team” to fully inform the city council, city officers and other city bodies of legally available options, of legal impacts and consequences, of risk assessments, etc., but, once the policy direction is given and decision made, they serve as part of that team to help implement that enunciated policy or decision.

Clark Hill’s attorneys offer, not only the experience and knowledge gained over decades of public sector law practice, but also the significant resources of Clark Hill’s other practices, cutting edge practice technology, and an array of other resources. While not always offering the lowest available hourly rate, Clark Hill’s experience, capabilities and resources result in more cost-effectiveness and more timeliness. Where other lawyers might expend hours in researching a question or in finding a suitable “pattern” to follow in a transaction, our attorneys can often answer a question over the phone and have vast data bases to use to address a particular issue or transaction.

Our attorneys identify with our clients, seeking ways to assure not only their legal needs, but their policy goals and objectives are met. We understand municipal law is about community improvement, about service to the community’s residents and taxpayers, and about cost-effective and timely results.

Municipal Law & Municipal Finance

The Firm’s municipal finance group (a sub-group of the Education and Municipal Law Practice Group) assists our municipal clients with the legal aspects of their financial and borrowing needs. Members of the Municipal Finance Group regularly serve as bond counsel to municipalities. The Firm is identified in the Bond Buyer’s Municipal Marketplace as “Recognized Bond Counsel”, the Firm is approved as bond counsel to Rural Development, and our attorneys are members of the National Association of Bond Lawyers.

The Firm has extensive experience in all aspects of the issuance of tax-exempt debt by municipalities. In this regard, the Firm has comprehensive knowledge of federal and state laws that govern the issuance of tax-exempt debt. In addition, the Firm has a thorough knowledge of the federal and state law requirements for structuring municipal bond debt as well as state and local election laws. The Firm has a wealth of experience in drafting all legal documents relating to the issuance of tax-exempt debt.

Our attorneys have acted as bond counsel in a large number of tax exempt bond transactions across the United States. We have extensive experience with many types of bond transactions including, unlimited tax general obligation bonds, revenue bonds, tax increment bonds for DDAs, LDFAs TIFAs and Brownfield Authorities, special assessment bonds, bonds issued by various authorities and refunding bonds. In particular, we have been bond counsel in the issuance of numerous bonds to finance the construction of water and sewer improvements.

Specifically, the Firm’s attorneys also have extensive experience with the borrowing process under the Rural Development Program. We have a very strong working relationship with the Rural Development officials, and an in depth understanding of the Rural Development Program, its requirements and structure for bond issues. This experience includes experience in handling financing projects for water and sewer systems through revenue bonds and other types of bond issues. We believe that these relationships, which we have developed over the years, allow us to provide a level of representation that might not be available from other law firms that do not regularly practice in this area.

Authorities and Other Entities

Clark Hill serves as general counsel of numerous other governmental and inter-governmental entities including brownfield redevelopment authorities, downtown development authorities, economic development corporations, fire and other emergency services boards and authorities, libraries, local development finance authorities, sanitary sewer authorities, tax increment financing authorities, utility authorities, water authorities, etc. It also provides specific legal services to a number of such entities.


Served as Assistant Allegheny County solicitor (1982-86).
Solicitor to The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (2008-present).
Co-Solicitor to the Allegheny County Airport Authority (May 2012-present).
Co-Solicitor to the Allegheny County Industrial Development Authority, the Allegheny County Hospital Development Authority, the Allegheny County Higher Education Building Authority and the Allegheny County Residential Finance Authority.
Represented a county in connection with the sale and transfer of delinquent real estate tax receivables
Reviewed tax-exempt equipment leases on behalf of municipal entity-lessees
Served as solicitor to an industrial development authority and a water authority, rendering advice thereto on all matters including general contracts and procurement issues, rate matters, Sunshine and Ethics Acts, investment powers, project financing, and employee benefit matters
Lead counsel in three-year defense of municipality and its officers and employees in an unprecedented lawsuit filed by a scorned real estate developer seeking recovery in excess of $80 million based on an alleged conspiracy between elected officials, municipal staff and solicitor, and community members to deny land use approval for proposed construction
Authored the winning brief in the unanimously decided Pennsylvania Supreme Court case of Sphere Drake v. PGW, 782 A.2d 510 (Pa. 2001)
Devised and executed successful legal, lobbying, and media strategy to defeat powerful and vocal institutional and community support for grant of multi-million dollar government subsidy to client's direct competitor
Represented state agency in lawsuit involving application of public bidding laws
Special Counsel to a Pennsylvania County in connection with the renovation of the former County Jail, a national historic landmark, which was converted for use as a family court building
Represented various counties in connection with the sale of county nursing homes
Newsletter Alerts
Rescission of Conditional At-Will Employment Offers are not Penalties under the MMMAFailure to Train Managers and Supervisors Cost Company $284,000 for Violation of the Family Medical Leave ActTax Reform Takes Aim at the Municipal Securities MarketSixth Circuit Upholds City's Retiree Health CutsDepartment of Labor Releases a Request for Information Seeking Public Comment on Overtime RegulationsNew Year, New President - How Will Employers Be Affected?IRS Publishes Final Issue Price Rules for Tax-Exempt Municipal Bond OfferingsThe Federal Securities Pay-to-Play Regulatory Framework is Complete - A Primer for Financial Services FirmsNew Laws Provide Clarification for Medical Marijuana Patients, Caregivers and Provisioning CentersOpen Meetings Act Update: "Informal Meetings;" Remote Participation 6th Circuit Upholds City's Right to Enforce Grass Ordinance Within Public Right-of-WayDecision by Supreme Court May Impact Local Sign RegulationsMichigan Public Bodies Must Post Their Revised FOIA Procedures on Their WebsiteIRS Issues Transitional Relief for Certain Employers Sponsoring Employer Payment PlansNew Amendment Presents Challenges to FOIA AdministrationMichigan Municipal Corporations Lose Statutory Protection in Adverse Possession and Acquiescence Actions Brought by Private PartiesFinal Regulations Issued on Excepted BenefitsPolice Officers and Firefighters Now Exempt From Public Act 54Sixth Circuit Upholds Michigan's Ban on Project Labor Agreements on Public Construction
Clark Hill PLC Receives National and Regional Tier 1 Rankings in the 2019 Edition of Best Lawyers, “Best Law Firms” Sixty-Six Clark Hill Attorneys Named 2018 Michigan Super Lawyers & Rising Stars143 Clark Hill Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in the 2019 Edition of Best Lawyers in AmericaClark Hill Attorney Kenneth P. Lane to Present at the Michigan Municipal League’s 2018 League Event Series, February 1, 2018Clark Hill Attorneys Sandra S. Hamilton and Kenneth P. Lane to Present at the Michigan Municipal Treasurers Association Winter Workshop, January 18, 2018Sixty-Seven Clark Hill Attorneys Named 2018 Leading LawyersClark Hill Attorney Ken Lane to Present at the Michigan Municipal League's 2017 League Convention, September 13-15, 2017Sixty-Six Clark Hill Attorneys Named 2017 Michigan Super Lawyers & Rising StarsSeventy-Four Clark Hill Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in the 2018 Edition of Best Lawyers in AmericaClark Hill Attorney Kenneth P. Lane to Present at the International Association of Electrical Inspectors Michigan Chapter 2017 Summer Educational Meeting June 15-16, 2017. Clark Hill Attorney Kenneth P. Lane Published in Michigan Municipal League “The Review” Magazine Clark Hill Announces Attorneys Elected to Membership, Promotions to Senior AttorneyAxe & Ecklund Joins Clark HillClark Hill PLC Receives National Tier 1 Ranking for Litigation – Construction in the 2016 Edition of U.S. News-Best Lawyers, “Best Law Firms”Sixty-Five Clark Hill Attorneys Named to Michigan Super Lawyers 2015 ListClark Hill PLC Receives National and Metropolitan Tier 1 Rankings in the 2016 Edition of Best Lawyers in America's “Best Law Firms”Sixty-Two Clark Hill Attorneys Selected for Inclusion in the 2016 Edition of Best Lawyers in AmericaExperienced Municipal Law Attorney Joseph W. Colaianne Joins Clark Hill’s Lansing Office Clark Hill Attorney Jenice Mitchell Ford to Present at the 29th Annual Advanced Institute March 24, 2015Clark Hill Attorney Jonathan Hugg Comments on New Police Contract in The Scranton Times-TribuneClark Hill attorney Jonathan Hugg quoted in The Scranton Times-Tribune article on city’s revised contract with police unionClark Hill PLC Attorney Jeremy S. Motz to Present on the “Fundamentals of School Purchasing” for the Michigan Institute for Educational Management on December 4 Clark Hill PLC Attorney Jeremy S. Motz Recently Presented “Development & Managing RFPs for School Purchasing” for the Michigan Institute for Educational Management on November 13Clark Hill Attorneys John L. Gierak and Daniel L. Eyer to Present to Macomb Human Resource Professionals on November 13, 2014 Channel 7/WXYZ Features Clark Hill Attorney Jenice Mitchell Ford on the Primary Election