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County Counsel Department

Mission and Department Overview

Mission Statement

The Sonoma County Counsel's Office is committed to providing the highest quality legal representation and advice, in a timely and responsive manner, to assist the County, its governing Board of Supervisors and other clients to promote the public interest, achieve programmatic and strategic goals and protect financial resources.

Department Overview

The County of Sonoma County Counsel is the primary provider of legal services to County departments, over 25 special districts, as well as to the Board of Supervisors, the Grand Jury, Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit District (SMART), Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA), Sonoma County Retirement Association (SCERA), Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO), and the Sonoma County Transportation Authority (SCTA). The County Counsel's Office provides legal staff to many County commissions, and its attorneys regularly provide counsel to the Board of Supervisors, Planning Commission, Civil Service Commission, and Board of Zoning Adjustments at public meetings and hearings. In addition to providing daily advice on issues such as contract compliance, employment conditions, and land use planning, County Counsel attorneys regularly appear in court on behalf of County departments on such matters as juvenile dependency cases, code enforcement actions, bail recovery, and mental health competency hearings. County Counsel either directly handles or coordinates outside counsel in the defense of all claims filed against the County, and proactively works with departments to minimize risk and assist in policy development and implementation.

The Office of approximately 30 attorneys and 10 support staff places a high value on its collegial atmosphere and on its commitment to providing excellent legal work. The Office is structured into five practice groups: Land Use; Human Services; Litigation, Labor, Law and Justice; Infrastructure and Public Resources; and Natural Resources and Resiliency. Each Group is supervised by a Chief Deputy County Counsel and overall office supervision functions through the Assistant County Counsel and County Counsel. All staff is relied upon to work independently, meet client needs, and exercise sound judgment.