Municipal Law

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punkyg0608
Posts: 110
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 4:38 pm

Municipal Law

Postby punkyg0608 » Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:38 pm

I'm interested in a small firm that does civil defense and municipal law. Does anyone know anything about municipal law, and what courts and trials are like? It sounds interesting and practical but I don't really know much about the kind of work I would be doing. Any insights would be appreciated!

joblawl
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:48 pm

Re: Municipal Law

Postby joblawl » Wed Oct 23, 2013 8:03 pm

There are not many trials in municipal law. There are zoning board meetings, school board meetings, employment issues, ADA compliance issues, and tax collection issues. You would deal with all kinds of weird problems, things you never expect. I think it's a cool field - a lot of people seek your advice for how the township (or whatever) should be run. If you're interested in a future in politics, it's a good way to go.

A couple downsides though - "municipal law" might simply mean local tax collection and administration. I think that would suck - but some people might be into it. That practice area is so broad that it's tough to master anything. Community relations is more important than substantive legal knowledge.

Source: clerked for a firm for 2 years that practiced exclusively in this area. Firm had about 40 attorneys (they run all the little neighborhoods in this city)

BeautifulSW
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Joined: Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:52 am

Re: Municipal Law

Postby BeautifulSW » Wed Oct 23, 2013 8:27 pm

I did this work for years. It is endlessly interesting and important to the community where you live. But you will attend meetings lasting to 3:00 am, you will be attacked personally at times by developers whose projects you have disapproved, and the money isn't usually great.

I remember when the local weekly put ME on its front page and it wasn't a compliment.

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punkyg0608
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Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 4:38 pm

Re: Municipal Law

Postby punkyg0608 » Thu Oct 24, 2013 4:00 pm

BeautifulSW wrote:I did this work for years. It is endlessly interesting and important to the community where you live. But you will attend meetings lasting to 3:00 am, you will be attacked personally at times by developers whose projects you have disapproved, and the money isn't usually great.

I remember when the local weekly put ME on its front page and it wasn't a compliment.


What were the hours and pay like? If you have to work nights, does that mean you work more hours than most firms?

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Municipal Law

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 24, 2013 4:11 pm

punkyg0608 wrote:I'm interested in a small firm that does civil defense and municipal law. Does anyone know anything about municipal law, and what courts and trials are like? It sounds interesting and practical but I don't really know much about the kind of work I would be doing. Any insights would be appreciated!


It's fun and I agree, there's so much work that you never know what can come up. There is definitely limited trial practice (it's almost entirely motion practice). Working nights is relative - most of the time (and depending on the size of the town/city), it's not excessive, but you might have some meetings/public forums and those are at night. Most municiple practice is in front of the trial court, so it's pretty standard. Additionally, you may/can split between transactional and litigation work. And when you get into the thick of an area of law beyond your expertise, you call in outside counsel (i.e. employment or engineering or something). You're effectively a civil litigant, except, you usually have special laws to protect you and most municipal lawyers are experts in that particular area of law/statute.

You also frequently see an impact from the legal work you do.

FamilyLawEsq
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Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:30 pm

Re: Municipal Law

Postby FamilyLawEsq » Thu Oct 24, 2013 4:18 pm

My spouse is a land use/zoning/real estate attorney of 30+ years, representing primarily developers. Lots of nightly meetings but always managed to get to our kids activities, missing only 2 of our son's evening wrestling matches in 4 years. Makes big bucks. Spouse's firm (25 lawyers) is looking for associate with 2-3 years of experience in this field but can not find anyone qualified to hire.




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