Madrona Law Group represents cities, towns, and other government agencies in a wide variety of practice areas. Select one of the practice areas from the list or scroll down on this page to learn more about our experience and how Madrona Law Group might be able to assist you.
As city attorneys and special counsel, we provide legal advice and counsel to all levels of government—staff, administration, councils, and commissions—as another member of the city’s team. This includes daily tasks such as drafting ordinances and resolutions, researching and preparing memoranda on municipal issues, preparing and reviewing contracts, attending meetings with city staff and developers concerning development projects, advising on governance issues, and attending city council meetings.
A substantial portion of our practice involves land use matters, including drafting and reviewing development codes and regulations, permit processing, administrative hearings, development agreement drafting and negotiations, and litigation. We regularly provide advice and guidance to city councils, planning agencies, and city staff. We have significant knowledge and experience working with the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), the Growth Management Act (GMA), the Shoreline Management Act, zoning codes, and other key statutes and regulations.
At Madrona Law Group, we find personnel matters are best addressed at the outset of the employee-employer relationship. To that end, we frequently provide employment trainings, develop employment and severance agreements, draft personnel policies, negotiate union contracts and advise City executives and councilmembers on compliance with personnel laws. Madrona Law Group also conducts employment investigations and represents public agencies in employment litigation, grievances and disciplinary issues, PERC hearings, and Civil Service Commission matters.
We advise public agencies on Public Records Act compliance and assist agencies with public records request processing. Our services include: reviewing records for exemptions, redacting records, and preparing exemption logs. In addition, we routinely advise our clients on Open Public Meetings Act issues and provide trainings for all levels of government on the PRA and OPMA. Our team also has experience in defending legal challenges arising from alleged violations of the PRA and OPMA.
Public Records & Open Government
Public agencies often require land in order to complete public projects. The attorneys at Madrona Law Group have extensive experience dealing with property acquisitions by negotiation and eminent domain, including acquisitions such as easements and full and partial acquisitions. In every matter, we have been able to expeditiously secure the properties without the need for a trial.
Our firm routinely advises cities on telecommunications, cable, and utilities issues and related right-of-way management matters. We draft and negotiate franchise agreements, wholesale utility supply agreements, and site lease agreements. We also have experience in drafting land use regulations regarding small wireless facilities. In addition, we assist cities with auditing and enforcing the utility tax liabilities of wireless companies, cable companies, and wire-line telecom providers.
City purchasing and contracting makes up a large portion of our work. This includes contracts for services, purchases, and public works. We work with clients at all stages of public works projects, from predesign, design, bidding, construction, and maintenance. We have worked with cities on public works projects of all sizes, from road projects to city halls.
Position vacancies and extended absences can be stressful, but they don't have to be. At Madrona Law Group, we are often called upon to fill in for in-house city attorneys and assistant city attorneys as needed. Whether you simply need coverage for a single council meeting when the city attorney is out on vacation or when you need someone to fill in during an extended medical leave or for vacancies created by a retirement, the attorneys at Madrona Law Group are well-equipped to step in.
Litigation is never desired, but sometimes it is unavoidable. The attorneys at Madrona Law Group all have ample experience in the courtroom and at administrative hearings, from appeals before administrative hearing examiners to all levels of state and federal court. We are also skillful negotiators and pride ourselves on our ability to work out resolutions in even the most challenging matters.
Madrona Law Group works closely with code enforcement staff to help cities draft regulations and procedures to secure compliance with municipal codes. We assist in drafting code enforcement notices and voluntary correction agreements. In the event that voluntary compliance is unsuccessful, we have significant experience representing cities in administrative hearings and litigation.
Local governments must be mindful of the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment, including freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and religious liberties. We understand how these constitutional principles apply to the words and actions of citizens, civic groups, elected officials, government agencies and their employees. From social media posts, to public gatherings, to sign regulations, to holiday decorations, and everything in between, Madrona Law Group can expertly advise your agency on all manner of complex First Amendment issues.
Our firm offers expertise in copyright and trademark law as it applies to local governments. We are here to answer your questions and respond to claims concerning the use and licensing of photographs, videos, artwork, and music in city publications and for city events. We can also review your website and help you address improper use of city logos and other municipal branding assets by third parties.
Our firm has advised many cities in local utility tax audit and enforcement actions, successfully defended against tax refund claims seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars, and negotiated with the state Department of Revenue concerning the proper treatment of brokered natural gas use tax and various classifications of B&O tax and retail sales tax.