The Office of the Richmond City Attorney endeavors to render timely legal services of only the highest quality to the City Council and the City Administration, consistent with its commitment to professionalism. The Office functions as both advisor and advocate as it pursues the City's goals while remaining dedicated to principles of ethical behavior, efficiency and accountability.
Haskell C. Brown, III
Interim City Attorney
The City Attorney is appointed by the City Council pursuant to section 4.17 of the City Charter to be the chief legal advisor of the Council, the Mayor, the Chief Administrative Officer and all departments, boards, commissions and agencies of the City in all matters affecting the interests of the City.
The Civil Litigation Division provides legal representation to the City or its employees in the defense of claims, i.e. general civil litigation, and represents the City in workers' compensation claims and disciplinary proceedings. It also provides general counsel services to the Department of Human Resources and the Fire Department, plus the Retirement Board and the Library Board.
The Governance and Finance Division prepares Council legislation whether its patron is a member of the Council or the Mayor, and monitors actions of the General Assembly that may require or permit changes to the City Code. It provides direct representation to legislative branch agencies (City Assessor, City Clerk and Council Chief of Staff), to most of the City’s internal services departments (Budget and Strategic Planning, Finance, Information Technology and Procurement Services), and to the Registrar. It is also assigned primary responsibility for Conflict of Interests Act issues.
The Human Services Division provides legal representation to the Department of Social Services, primarily in the litigation of cases involving child abuse and neglect and adult protective services but also by acting as the Department’s general counsel. The group also acts as general counsel to the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities and the Department of Justice Services.
The Operations and Development Division provides direct representation to several executive branch, “line” agencies (Economic Development, Housing & Community Development, Planning & Development Review, Public Utilities and Public Works) plus, pursuant to Council’s authorization in section 2-112 of the City Code (2015), the Economic Development Authority and Greater Richmond Transit Company. Substantively, this division has responsibility in such diverse subject matter areas as real estate transactions and the preparation and review of the various types of grant agreements (e.g., agreements governing non-departmental appropriations pursuant to section 12-13 of the City Code (2015); Affordable Housing Trust Fund, CDBG, and HOME loans and grants; and still others administered by the Office of the DCAO for Human Services). It also has primary responsibility for assisting with public records requests under the Freedom of Information Act and for environmental law issues.
The chief focus of the Special Litigation and Public Safety Division is to assist City Departments in their immediate efforts to address blight in the City of Richmond. As such it provides prosecutorial support and training to all City Departments in their enforcement of Building Code, Fire Code, Zoning and other City ordinances. It is also responsible for managing the City’s delinquent real estate tax program, and providing legal support to the Department of Finance in collection of delinquent taxes.
STATE AND LOCAL LAW DOES NOT PERMIT THE OFFICE OF THE RICHMOND CITY ATTORNEY TO PROVIDE LEGAL SERVICES TO CITIZENS