City Attorney

Who we are and what we do

Top Priorities & Goals

The top priorities of the Oakland City Attorney's Office are to:


  • Continue to provide the highest quality of legal services to City officials, departments, boards, and commissions by negotiating, drafting, and reviewing agreements, legislation, regulations, policies, and procedures and helping to shape viable, legally sound policies, programs, and services for the City.

  • Defend Oakland’s interests and resources in court and in administrative proceedings and initiate legal action and other initiatives to protect and enhance the rights, interests, and quality of life of our community, and to ensure justice and equity.

  • Continue supporting the City’s pursuit of social justice and racial equity through ongoing support for the Police Commission, by working to increase the public’s oversight of its Police Department, and by helping to altogether reimagine and retool the City’s delivery of public safety services.

  • Uphold transparent, honest, and fair government by enforcing the Public Records Act, Sunshine Ordinance, and other open government laws, and by ensuring that all City officials and employees know and play by the rules.

  • Advocate for equal opportunity, diversity, justice, equity, and a level playing field for all Oaklanders.

  • Explore and identify ways to continue to enhance and provide expert and professional legal services in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible.

  • Maintain a staff of highly qualified and dedicated attorneys and support staff with extensive knowledge of the City of Oakland and municipal law to provide services and advice more efficiently and effectively.

BUREAUS/DIVISIONS

City Attorney Administration

Advisory

Advisory provides legal services that address the full spectrum of municipal affairs. Examples include drafting legislation and contracts, providing advice on housing and economic development projects, land use, negotiating real estate transactions and providing advice regarding finance, municipal bonds, retirement, benefits, elections, tax, constitutional law, ethics and conflicts of interest.


Litigation

Litigation includes the General and Complex Unit, Law and Motion Unit and the Neighborhood Law Corps (NLC). The Neighborhood Law Corps is an award-winning program that in recent years has focused on preventing illegal dumping, suing abusive landlords who violate the rights of Oakland tenants and shutting down hotels, massage parlors and other businesses that collude in human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of minors. The Law and Motion unit provides top notch research, briefing and oral arguments regarding lawsuits when the City is a defendant or a plaintiff.


The General & Complex Litigation unit advocates for the City’s interests in claims and lawsuits that are filed against or on behalf of the City, its officers, employees and agencies. Lawsuits are litigated in the state and federal trial and appellate courts. Examples include high value personal injury cases, complex civil rights actions, personnel disputes, eminent domain actions, breach of contract, challenges to constitutionality of Oakland’s laws, policies and procedures and inverse condemnation cases. Litigators take a strategic approach to manage liability and limit the City’s financial exposure. As public servants, we advocate for a fair and just resolution of claims and lawsuits.


Labor & Employment

Labor & Employment advises the City on labor and employment matters and includes a unit that is dedicated to providing advice and counsel to the Oakland Police Department. Labor & Employment also represents that City in arbitrations to uphold discipline against City employees, including but not limited to police officers and provides advice regarding employment law and the City’s obligations.


Legal Support

Operations administers the budget, personnel and support services of the City Attorney’s Office. The group includes administrative and information technology staff, legal administrative assistants and paralegals.

ORGANIZATIONAL CHART

SERVICE INVENTORY

External Services

Affirmative Litigation, Innovation & Enforcement

The Neighborhood Law Corps (NLC) focuses on preventing illegal dumping, suing abusive landlords who violate the rights of Oakland tenants and shutting down hotels, massage parlors and other businesses that collude in human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of minors.


The Community Lawyering & Civil Rights (CLCR) unit focuses on proactive lawsuits and other actions to protect and advance the rights and interests of the people of Oakland with a goal of securing and maintaining racial, economic, environmental, and social justice and equity; to protect constitutional and civil rights; and enforce laws prohibiting discrimination based on race, class, sexual orientation, gender, and other protected classes.


General & Complex Litigation

Advocates for the City’s interests in claims and lawsuits that are filed against or on behalf of the City, its officers, employees, agencies, and/or City boards and commissions.



Internal Services

Advisory

Provides legal services that address the full spectrum of municipal affairs.


Labor & Employment

Advises the City on labor and employment matters, as well as matters relating to the oversight, accountability, and general management and includes a unit that focuses on providing advice and counsel to the Oakland Police Department.