Government & Regulatory

AlvaradoSmith’s Government & Regulatory attorneys provide their public entity clients – municipalities, local government agencies, community college districts, utilities and water districts, proprietary departments of larger cities, and other public bodies – with pragmatic, reasoned advice to ensure transparency and achieve successful results.

Our lawyers understand the requirements and operating limitations – including first and foremost the time constraints placed on public employees – facing public entities and the companies and individuals that do business with them. We work hand-in-hand with our clients to meet those unique challenges with innovative solutions delivered on quick turnarounds, from structuring and executing complex transactions to defending and prosecuting sensitive litigation and everything in-between.

And we are committed in our role as legal counsel to share in the responsibility of delivering quality services in a cost-effective manner. Our lawyers have significant experience serving as City Attorney, General Counsel and Special Counsel to various municipalities and other public agencies. We are well-versed in streamlining legal services and are adept in developing budgets to manage outside counsel spend, using technology to improve efficiency, collaboration, and timeliness.

To that end, we begin every representation with an in-depth review that allows our client to understand options and identify obstacles, to set objectives and expectations, and to establishing communication strategies for the effective case and transaction management that leads to well informed business and policy decisions.

Our work for public entities is broad, encompassing both transactional work and dispute resolution matters, including employment, construction, contract, environmental, financial, administrative, public finance, and conflict of interest and public records. We assist clients with a diverse range of issues, including such matters as marijuana cultivation and distribution issues, street vendor ordinances, density bonuses, accessory dwelling unit regulations, police personnel record disclosures under the Public Records Act, conflict of interest challenges for public officials, and the proper use of independent contractors, economic development, and public contracting.

Our attorneys have particular strengths guiding public and private sector entities and commercial and residential developers through a broad range of land-use issues and the acquisition, disposition, financing, development, and leasing of a broad array of real estate projects, including unentitled land, residential tracts, and office buildings, medical facilities, industrial and residential projects, and shopping center sites. We work closely with our real estate colleagues to help clients acquire, develop, manage, and dispose of real properties, and navigate the negotiation, preparation, and implementation of land-use entitlements, agreements, and leases.

Representative work includes:

  • Representation of a California municipality with respect to a wide range of matters, including drafting ordinances and amendments to the city’s municipal code, defending various personal injury claims against the city, and prosecuting breach of contract claims on behalf of the city.
  • Redrafting a client’s municipal code chapter containing ordinances that governed its public purchase and bidding system. We have also supervised the process of overhauling and rewriting the public-bidding documents and construction contracts for one of the largest unified school districts in California.
  • AlvaradoSmith conducted a construction law claim for a large U.S. metropolitan city against a contractor, resulting in a $1.1 million recovery under favorable terms for our client. The suit involved a Catalyst Supply and Engineering Services Contract for the project, and assessed a litany of charges, including breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, breach of express and implied warranty of fitness, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and unfair and misleading business practices.
  • Successfully mediated several multi-million dollar disputes involving a construction defect claim for a public sector transportation planning body and a high-rise building lease conflict for a Southern California metropolitan city.
  • Representation of a California municipality in various investigations and lawsuits under Government Code Section 1090. On behalf of our client, our lawyers successfully litigated and recovered in excess of $16 million in cash, and more than $20 million in real property by unravelling numerous property transactions where a government employee had a competing financial interest.
  • Defending a city when an ADA plaintiff alleged that the city deterred and prevented him from using a bike path due to barriers and inaccessible conditions at various points of entry.
  • Successful representation of a large U.S. metropolitan city against charges of wrongful termination and violation of First Amendment rights, arising from the discharge of a city employee who ran for public office.
  • Advising a municipality in negotiations with the developer of the largest revitalization project in the city’s history and a highly successful regional shopping center, valued in excess of $100 million. Our role in the project – to usher two simultaneous property sales through execution, examine conditions for development, clear transportation congestion obstacles, and develop the legal parameters of a highly creative excess-profit-sharing agreement between the developer and the city – generated a $5+ million payout to the city from the developer, as well as an increase in annual sales tax revenues that exceeds $3 million per year