Burr & Forman’s counseling of governmental entities is a seamless web of experience and capabilities. Just as we understand how state and local governments work at the administrative and legislative levels, our professional credibility with these decision-makers enhances our ability to counsel counties, municipalities and special purpose entities throughout the state.
Our firm has a long history representing county governments, school districts, and dozens of municipalities across the Southeast. We not only serve as general counsel to some of these clients – our team often serve as special counsel on administrative, environmental, financing, immigration, land use and other matters. At the intersection of multiple local government and business interests, Burr attorneys direct the administrative and legal traffic so that public purposes and private needs are integrated for the common good.
“General Counsel” Representation
Our attorneys advise members of all types of governmental bodies, including municipalities, counties, school districts and special purpose districts, as well as their elected officials and directors, as general and special counsel. Economic development is a particular focus of our firm, and we understand zoning, land use, eminent domain and valuation as they apply to commercial and industrial properties and projects. We have also drafted local laws and regulations with significant statewide impact, and are well versed in governmental process and procedure. Our clients turn to us daily for guidance on such concerns as open meeting and election laws, referendum petitions, conflicts of interest and civil rights matters. We maintain an active litigation practice representing governmental clients in state and federal courts at both the trial and appellate levels concerning contract, tort, land use, utility and many other disputes.
Burr’s knowledge of how government works means we have the resources to craft governmental structures that are effective. We understand how state government works at the executive and legislative levels, and our working relationships with the various governmental bodies means we are often successful at partnering with them to design solutions that reshape the administrative landscape. Our professional credibility with legislators and governmental agency heads position us to help lead organizational innovation that resolves even the most complex public policy challenges. We are equally effective at structuring administrative law and handling the bond issues of new financing agencies. Our goal is to ensure that any administrative agency we help create adds value for government and has full public acceptance.
Governmental Ethics and Campaign Law
Your company or organization has a right to make your views and needs known through lobbying advocacy and contributions in support of the electoral process. The team at Burr believes that the wisest approach to dealing with government is to be proactive, with a constant presence among officials authorized to affect your interests. That’s why we help many clients form political action committees and other advocacy groups and coalitions. But we also understand all the complex laws and procedures for lobbying, disclosure and registration, and make certain you are in full compliance. If questions arise on any advocacy efforts, we will appear on your behalf before the State Ethics Commission to answer questions and defend your interests.
In counseling the governing bodies of many county governments and state municipalities, Burr & Forman has served as bond counsel on a wide range of economic development, water, sewer and general obligation financings. We have also advised on financing for some of the region’s major airports. We also have been effective at developing incentive vehicles that combine financing from multiple public and private sources.
Land Use and Zoning
Burr’s knowledge of and representation of local governments is central to our land use and zoning practice. Zoning regulations ultimately reflect a political process as well as a commercial one, and our team is skilled at advising upon and resolving crucial issues to secure the timely approval of permits and zoning applications.
As more municipalities and country governments enact legislation regarding the employment of illegal immigrants, we increasingly are advising these public clients on appropriate language for ordinances to ensure that they are constitutionally correct. We also counsel local government clients on dealing with a full range of civil rights issues, from allegations of sexual harassment and racial discrimination. And we advise on compliance with laws that regulate open meetings, campaign finance, conflicts of interest and many other constitutional issues