Legal Services Inquiry Policy

Originally adopted by the MMA Executive Committee, November, 1987, revised June 1999. 
 
The MMA Legal Services Program provides written and telephone legal advisory opinions regarding legal issues facing member municipalities.

Excluded from the advisory legal service are such matters as: 
 

  • The drafting or comprehensive review of legal documents such as of ordinances, contracts and proposed charters;
  • Comprehensive review of specific applications before local administrative bodies; 
  • On site training and advice; and 
  • Litigation, direct representation, or negotiation on a municipality’s behalf with third parties. 
  • These services may be provided with the express permission of the Director of Legal Services where it is determined that they are necessary to provide equity of service among members or where they will benefit the membership as a whole. 

Generally, advisory services will be provided to communities on a first come, first served basis. However, if it appears that a member municipality is using the service excessively in relation to other communities, inquiries from that community may have to be given a lower priority. If this is the case, the municipality in question shall be notified of the fact that its inquiries will be given a lower priority so that it may retain local counsel if necessary. Also, at times of heavy workload (for example, town meeting time), more time consuming projects may have to be deferred to a later date. Again, the legal staff will notify the community affected of the expected delay.

The MMA Executive Committee and Administration recognizes that although they may establish general guidelines for the operation of the Legal Services Program, there will be no interference with the employed attorneys’ exercise of independent professional judgment in advising or representing a member municipality. It is specifically recognized that this may, at times, result in the decision not to provide a requested service to a municipality where the Director of Legal Services determines that it would not be proper. Examples of where this may occur are where a conflict of interest exists with another municipality or the association itself; where the legal staff lacks the expertise to competently provide the assistance; or where current work load will not allow the assistance to be provided in a competent, professional manner. 
 
 
 
Updated 11/26/07 

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