The Denver City Attorney's Office (CAO) is searching for an Assistant City Attorney-Specialist (Legislative Counsel) to serve as legal counsel for the Denver City Council and to manage the CAO's legislative matters. This position is a valued member of the CAO's executive management team and reports to the Mayor-appointed City Attorney. The Legislative Counsel serves as a trusted legal adviser to the City Council, City Attorney, Deputy City Attorney and CAO executive management team. The Legislative Counsel advises clients on highly complex issues of municipal law and must demonstrate respect for the attorney client relationship that exists between the Legislative Counsel and City Council.The Legislative Counsel has three main roles: (1) Advising City Council; (2) Completing Special Projects; and (3) Municipal Law Specialist & Ethics Counsel. Advising City Council. The Denver City Charter requires the CAO to provide legal representation to all city officers and employees acting within the scope of their employment, all departments and agencies, all boards and commissions, and to the other "independent branches" of government such as the City Council and the auditor's office. This position represents all elected members of the City Council. The Legislative Counsel attends City Council meetings and advises City Council on all aspects of municipal law, including home rule authority, constitutional questions, separation of powers and charter provisions. It is critical that the Legislative Counsel maintain an attorney client relationship with City Council while assisting the executive branch with special projects. The successful candidate will have to identify when conflicts exist and address them appropriately. The Legislative Counsel will also have primary responsibility for conducting legal research and drafting legal memoranda, ordinances, charter amendments or other legislative action requested by City Council. Additionally, City Council maintains an active and engaged committee process. The Legislative Counsel must attend committee meetings when requested and advise committees on procedural and substantive legal matters. The Legislative Counsel also works closely with the Mayor's Legislative Director and the other members of the Mayor's Legislative Affairs team. Special Projects. The Legislative Counsel may be assigned special projects by the City Attorney or Deputy City Attorney on a wide variety of topics. It is expected that the Legislative Counsel will collaborate with relevant subject matter experts within the CAO and complete these projects in a timely and professional manner with little guidance and supervision. Special projects have included, for instance, home rule analysis, 1st amendment issues, interpretation of charter provisions and high-profile matters involving the city. Additionally, the Legislative Counsel will be responsible for assisting with media relations and press releases. Frequently, the Legislative Counsel will be asked to assist with special projects assigned to CAO division directors involving complex areas of municipal law. When feasible, the Legislative Counsel should prioritize teaming with less experienced attorneys so the project can also be leveraged as a training opportunity. Municipal Law Specialist & Ethics Counsel. The world of municipal law is everchanging and it is the responsibility of the Legislative Counsel to update key members of the city and the CAO on the changes. It is imperative that the Legislative Counsel stay abreast of all changes in the law at the local, state and federal level that may impact the city and report out the changes in a timely and efficient manner. Annually from January to May, the Legislative Counsel assists the Mayor and the City Council to formulate positions on state legislation introduced in the Colorado General Assembly. As part of this process the Legislative Counsel (a) works closely with the Mayor's Legislative Director to analyze and advise the potential impact on the city, (b) coordinates with the CAO's executive management team to gather information and determine potential impact of such proposed legislation and (c) helps develop a strategy for the city's response. The Legislative Counsel must also monitor trends and best practices around legal ethics and advise the City Attorney, Deputy City Attorney and Director of Administration of any recommended changes to the CAO's existing policies or practices. In the event of an ethics complaint against the CAO, City Attorney or Deputy City Attorney, the Legislative Counsel may be asked to oversee the CAO's response to such inquiry. From time to time, the Legislative Counsel may also be asked to oversee and advise on legal conflicts.
JOB RESPONSIBILITIES Advise the City Council on all legal matters and maintain confidence in the representation. Advise city officials on all areas of municipal law including home rule and charter analysis. Demonstrate expertise in 1st amendment issues and state and federal preemption. Draft legislative documents including ordinances, ordinance amendments and executive orders. Troubleshoot and help resolve problems and critical incidents, and communicate timely issues directly to the City Attorney and Deputy City Attorney. Monitor & brief city and CAO leadership on local, state and federal legislation that may impact Denver, including proposed legislation. Organize and present CLE's on key municipal law changes to CAO. Work with the city's communications team to draft and edit media materials or press releases, as needed. Mentor and help train less experienced attorneys. Demonstrate flexibility to learn and become proficient in new areas of the law as they emerge. Form strategic partnerships and coordinate outreach efforts with other public law offices and municipal law partners. Balance internal and external pressures in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment. Manage issues that arise during both regular business hours and off hours, including weekends and holidays, in a calm, thoughtful manner and ensure lines of communications are open and transparent. Resolve issues and make decisions that include multiple perspectives and solve underlying problems. Remain abreast of news and current affairs.
We are looking for a skilled local government practitioner who is passionate about municipal law, exhibits good common sense and sound judgment and understands the city's unique and diverse demographics. The Legislative Counsel operates at the intersection of law and policy and must be able to balance political considerations when providing legal advice. The Legislative Counsel should have extensive experience working with people at all levels of an organization and excel at developing relationships with varying client personalities. The successful candidate must be able to work on and manage complex and varied issues, be accessible and responsive, quickly articulate complex issues in a simple manner in a public forum to a diverse audience, and have a proven track record of providing strategic advice and managing complex sensitive issues. The Legislative Counsel must also demonstrate a global understanding of issues that impact the city. Competitive candidates will also have: Significant local government experience and demonstrated expertise in constitutional law and municipal law Excellent communication skills Substantial experience advising legislative bodies and working in a political environment Demonstrated track record of collaborating with a senior management team Significant experience resolving issues in a fast paced and complex legal environment Extensive knowledge of the local, state and federal legislative process Strong legal editing, writing and analytical skills Mastered the art of delegation and collaboration Experience handling press and media inquiries, including educating the press on difficult legal matters Education Requirement: Graduation from an accredited college of law with attainment of a J.D. degree with 10 or more years of relevant experience. Experience Requirement: The Legislative Counsel should have extensive experience working with individuals at all levels of government and a demonstrated ability to develop and manage projects and advise legislative bodies. This position requires at least 2 years of experience advising legislative bodies or other elected officials. Licensure and Certification: Admission by the Colorado Supreme Court to practice law in Colorado at time of application or ability to meet reciprocity requirements of the Colorado Supreme Court Rules Governing Admission, C.R.C.P. 121 License must be kept current as a condition of continued employment in this position. Completion of the Career Service supervisory training program prior to completion of the probationary period.
Preferred Qualifications: At least 10 years of increasingly responsible professional experience in a government legal setting, including at least 5 years advising legislative bodies. Experience in a similarly situated city to Denver with similar demographics is a plus.
The CAO is one of the largest public law offices in Colorado, with over 100 attorneys and approximately 100 staff members, including paralegals, victim advocates, and other support staff members. The CAO serves as chief legal counsel to all city agencies, departments, offices, boards, commissions and authorities, including the Mayor, the Auditor, the Clerk and Recorder and City Council. The CAO pr...ovides an inclusive and diverse work environment in which every person has the opportunity to achieve the highest professional and personal development and is accorded the highest degree of dignity and respect.