The City Attorneys Department is comprised of the attorneys that represent Cal Cities’ member cities. The department president is generally responsible for the department’s work, assisted by the first vice president, second vice president, and department representative on the Cal Cities Board of Directors.  

 

Department Goals and Activities

The Cal Cities' Legal Department staff, including the general counsel, the assistant general counsel, the deputy general counsel, and the legal services manager, assists the officers in implementing the department’s goals:  

  • Advance the purposes and goals of Cal Cities;
  • Support and encourage high-quality legal advice to and representation of California cities by producing conferences, continuing education programs, and other works of interest in the field of municipal law;
  • Foster the professional development and enrichment of Department members by providing the opportunity to exchange ideas, consult with one another and meet with persons in or associated with municipal law;
  • Encourage the continued advancement of city attorneys by supporting professional accomplishment and adherence to high ethical standards;
  • Serve as a technical and advisory department to Cal Cities, including analysis of pending legislation and litigation; and
  • Advance the interest of cities by helping to improve, shape and develop municipal law through Cal Cities' Legal Advocacy Program and legislative advocacy efforts.
 
Department Officers
President - Dave Fleishman, City Attorney, Pismo Beach and Solvang
First Vice President - Eric Danly, City Attorney, Petaluma
Second Vice President - Joseph Montes, City Attorney, Alhambra, San Marino, and Santa Clarita
Department Director - Michael Colantuono, City Attorney, Grass Valley


Policy Committee Representatives

Appointed by the department president, the City Attorneys Department has at least one representative on each of Cal Cities' policy committees. Representatives provide technical information to the committee, ensure that the department has a voice in the decision-making process, and help make recommendations to the board of directors on legislative and policy issues. 

  • Community Services - David Ruderman (City Attorney, Lakeport) 
  • Environmental Quality - Gillian van Muyden (Chief Assistant City Attorney, Glendale) 
  • Governance, Transparency, and Labor Relations - Erica Vega (City Attorney, Eastvale)
  • Housing, Community, and Economic Development - Susan Cola (Senior Special Projects Deputy City Attorney, Santa Monica) 
  • Public Safety - Timothy Davis (Partner, Burke, Williams & Sorensen LLP) 
  • Revenue and Taxation - Holly Whatley (Assistant City Attorney, South Pasadena, Ojai and Sierra Madre, Colantuono, Highsmith & Whatley)  
  • Transportation, Communication, and Public Works - Robert Schultz (Town Attorney, Los Gatos)
City Attorney Forum
Be sure to read the City Forum User Agreement before registering! Once you have finished signing up, a box will appear confirming your request. Moderators will try to review and confirm your registration as quickly as possible. However, with over 1,300 subscribers, we can’t estimate exactly how long the confirmation process will take. 

You will receive an email from Cal Cities staff once your registration has been accepted. Make sure to record your username and password so that you can log in. At that point, you will have full access to the Forum. To ensure there is no delay in receiving email notifications from the Forum, please whitelist noreply@innovativeassociations.com. If you have problems or questions during the registration process, send an email to forum@calcities.org. Please include “Forum Question” in the subject line so we can minimize delays. 

Once you first log into the Forum, click on the My Portal page link in the navigation bar. The My Portal page is your control center for accessing all the Forum tools. 

If you have questions about the Forum after your registration is confirmed, please consult the FAQ or review the various tutorials under the “How do I….” forum. (You may also post questions to the “How do I….” forum.) If you encounter a problem using the Forum, you should contact your IT department and confirm that the problem is not the result of internet restrictions from your organization. If you continue to have problems, please email forum@calcities.org and include “Forum Question” in the subject line. 

Legal Advocacy

Laws affecting cities are made in the courts, as well as in the Legislature. Consequently, Cal Cities advocacy efforts extend to the appellate courts. The organization weighs in on legal issues where its participation is likely to help advance the legal interests of all California cities. Learn more about our Legal Advocacy efforts and committee or request amicus support.

Upcoming Department Meetings

September 22, 2021
Legal advocacy committee meeting 

City Attorneys Spring Conference

May 4 — 6, 2022

Carlsbad, CA

Save the Date!

The City Attorneys Conference provides city attorneys with in-depth information about the latest municipal law issues, along with opportunities to connect with colleagues from across the state. Previous topics included emerging issues related to revenue measures, police reform and qualified immunity, housing legislation, and more.

Please see our event and meeting policies.

Explore Previous Conferences

2021 Conference Session Descriptions

Friday, April 29

Virtual Fun Run - Sponsored by Best Best & Krieger

7:30 a.m.

A time-honored tradition, the Spring Conference Fun Run will commence virtually for the 2021 conference. Join your colleagues in a virtual 5K that you can take part in at your convenience between April 29 and May 21. Sign up for the Fun Run, download a virtual race bib to wear during your run, then upload your results once completed. Bonus if you can share a photo once completed on the Fun Run website.

 

Meet & Greet for Under 10 (less than 10 years of municipal practice)

8:30-9:15 a.m.

 

Department Business Meeting

9:30-11:30 a.m.

Friday, April 30

Coffee with Colleagues

8:15-8:45 a.m.

Join members of the City Attorneys' Department for informal networking over your morning coffee. Registered conference attendees are invited to attend. Refer to your welcome email for login information.

 

General Session

9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Moderator: Lynn Tracy Nerland, City Attorney, San Pablo

 


Competency and Mindful Lawyering (MCLE Specialty Credit for Competency Issues)

Speaker: Mark Fingerman, Esq., LLM., ADR Services, Functional Mindfulness

 

Labor and Employment Litigation Update

Speaker: Suzanne Solomon, Partner, Liebert Cassidy Whitmore

 

Elected Officials and Employment Law: When the Rules Don't Apply


Speakers: Rebecca Green, Senior Attorney, Richards, Watson & Gershon | Jennifer Petrusis, Shareholder, Richards, Watson & Gershon

 

I Hear That Train A'comin': Municipal Legal Issues Involving Railroads

Speaker: Michael Conneran, Partner, Hanson Bridgett LLP

 

Friday, May 7

Concurrent Group Discussions

8:15-8:45 a.m.

Attend a discussion led by a subject-matter experts on topics including coastal cities, disaster preparedness, homelessness, and solo offices/small cities. Registered conference attendees are invited to attend. Refer to your welcome email for login information.

 

General Session

9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

 

General Municipal Litigation Update

Speaker: Holly O. Whatley, Assistant City Attorney, Shareholder, South Pasadena, Ojai, Sierra Madre, Colantuono Highsmith Whatley, PC


Emerging Trends in Class Action Challenges to Revenue Measures

Speaker: Ryan Dunn, Senior Counsel, Colantuono Highsmith & Whatley


TNC-User Tax: Getting Rideshare Companies to Pay Their ‘Fare’ Share

Speaker: Benjamin P. Fay, Partner, Jarvis, Fay, & Gibson, LLP

 

City Attorney Escape Room: Packaging Legal Advice for Non-Attorney Clients

Speakers: Gregg Kettles, Partner, Best Best & Krieger | Jennifer Mizrahi, City Attorney, Desert Hot Springs/ Stream Kim Hicks Wrage & Alfaro | Joseph Montes, City Attorney, BWS | Helen Peak, City Attorney, San Marcos | Joseph Petta, Partner, Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP | Deepa Sharma, Senior Associate, Burke, Williams & Sorensen | Daniel Sodergren, City Attorney, Pleasanton

 

Friday, May 14

Coffee with Colleagues

8:15-8:45 a.m.

Join members of the City Attorneys' Department for informal networking over your morning coffee. Registered conference attendees are invited to attend. Refer to your welcome email for login information.

 

General Session

9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Moderator: Amy Albano, City Attorney, Burbank

 

Municipal Tort and Civil Rights Litigation Update

Speaker: Timothy t. Coates, Partner, Greines, Martin, Stein & Richland

 

A Rising tide against Qualified Immunity?

Speakers: Scott Davenport, General Counsel, Manning & Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP | Eugene P. Ramirez, Senior Partner, Manning & Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP

 

How Cities are Addressing Police Reform

Speakers: Jamal Anderson, Senior Associate, Renne Public Law Group | Jonathan V. Holtzman, Founding Partner, Renne Public Law Group

 

Black Lives Matter as Government Speech

Speaker: Catherine Engberg, City Attorney, Half Moon Bay

 

Friday, May 21

Coffee with Colleagues

8:15-8:45 a.m. 

Join members of the City Attorneys' Department for informal networking over your morning coffee. Registered conference attendees are invited to attend. Refer to your welcome email for login information.

 

General Session

9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Moderator: Dave Fleishman, City Attorney, Pismo Beach, Solvang

 


Land Use and CEQA Litigation Update

Speaker: Bill Ihrke, City Attorney, Partner, La Quinta, Rutan & Tucker

 

How Cities Can Abate Nuisance Properties at No Cost

Speakers: Dylan Brady, Assistant City Attorney, Petaluma | Ryan Griffith, Attorney & Associate Receiver, Bay Area Receivership Group | Amanda Pope, Attorney & Director of City Receiverships, Jones & Mayer

 

New Housing Legislation: Lessons Learned from Recent Litigation

Speakers: Barbara Kautz, Partner, Goldfarb & Lipman LLP | Kevin Siegel, Partner, Burke, Williams & Sorensen LLP


Public-Private Partnerships (P3s): How to Deliver Innovative, Local-Serving Projects

Speakers: Korin Crawford, Executive Vice President, Griffin | Swinerton | John Finke, President, Public Facilities Group | Vanessa Legbandt, Esq., Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth | Seth Merewitz, Partner; Chair P3 Working Group, Best Best & Krieger LLP

 

Virtual Fun Run Finish Line

12:30 p.m.

Thank you to Best Best & Krieger for sponsoring this time-honored tradition during the 2021 Spring Conference. We would like to thank everyone for participating in the 2021 Virtual 5K Fun Run, we hope you enjoyed it!

 

Virtual Fun Run Results/Closing Remarks

12:30 p.m. 

 

2021 Conference Access for Registered Attendees

In addition to access to all live sessions, session materials, and virtual networking opportunities, registering for the conference grants you access to all session recordings for later viewing for a limited time. View the session recordings.





Call for Proposals

The City Attorneys Department of the League of California Cities solicits session proposals for two unique events throughout the year:

  • January 1 – March 31, for the City Attorneys Track at Annual Conference (current year)
  • June 1 – September 30, for City Attorneys Spring Conference (next year) 
We encourage you to take advantage of this exciting opportunity to share your ideas, knowledge and expertise with this important audience!


Contact Staff

Manning, Corrie
Corrie Manning
General Counsel
(916) 658-9267


Harveen Gill
Assistant General Counsel
(916) 658-8281

Leary, Allison
Alison Leary
Deputy General Counsel
(916) 658-8266

Leonard, Janet
Janet Leonard
Legal Services Manager
(916) 658-8276