Municipal/Local Government



Wilson Elser offers municipalities, quasi-public agencies and other government entities the services of a significant Municipal practice that enjoys an enviable track record. Acknowledging that our Municipal clients’ first priority is to advance the objectives of their communities or organizations, we bring to bear the relevant experience required to thoroughly and sensibly analyze their most complex issues and to identify appropriate, cost-effective solutions. We frequently assist clients through early assessment and negotiations, alternative dispute resolution methods or summary judgment motions. When early resolutions are not practical, we do not hesitate to resolve cases in court. In fact, we have earned our reputation as one of the largest and most successful trial firms in the country.

Our practice team model ensures that the firm’s vast municipal experience is concentrated within one manageably sized group that is responsive to one client.

As clients increasingly express interest in working with an integrated legal team, Wilson Elser has been quick to accommodate them. Our practice team model ensures that the firm’s vast municipal experience is concentrated within one manageably sized group that is responsive to one client.

Behind our Municipal practice is a full-service firm, any part of which can be leveraged on our clients’ behalf. Collaboration among Wilson Elser attorneys from various disciplines is frequent and spawns innovative solutions to complex legal challenges. Whether mounting a defense at trial, filing a motion for appeal or leveraging our experience in related practice areas, we are committed to providing our clients with capable assistance in all matters of municipal law.

  • Assisting Public Entities with Operating Efficiencies

    Our attorneys are frequently sought after by municipal and other government officials to advise them with respect to a broad range of operational and compliance issues. Matters include contracts and bidding, budget and finance, creation of special districts, public/private partnerships, inter-municipal agreements, consolidation, annexation, referenda, sewer and water systems, environmental compliance, home rule, drafting local laws as well as ordinances and resolutions, board practices and procedures, freedom of information, ethics compliance, investigations, utility franchises and self-insurance.

  • Defending Public Safety Providers

    We regularly defend police officers, firefighters, social services personnel and other first responders, as well as the government agencies for which they work. Cases involve civil rights claims under 42 USC § 1983 and other claims alleging wrongful arrest, Fourth Amendment search and seizure violations, excessive force, Eighth Amendment violations, failure to protect and negligence in the performance of their duty.

  • Representing Governmental Interests

    Our attorneys routinely advise public bodies and their officials with respect to matters that are, or are likely to be, litigated. We appear on their behalf in courts and other tribunals to defend them in matters such as employment discrimination cases, article 78 proceedings, First Amendment and other constitutional claims, land use litigation, punitive damage claims, assessment and tax-exemption litigation, eminent domain proceedings, GML 207-a and 207-c issues, general municipal liability defense, and asbestos and lead paint claims.

  • Advocating for Public Entities on Appeal

    When litigated controversies result in appeals, our active and accomplished team of appellate attorneys is prepared to assist our government clients by navigating the unique procedural aspects of appellate practice. They prepare and deliver arguments that present the most likely chance of success on appeal, as they guide the development of the law in ways that are favorable to clients’ interests.

  • Advancing Relationships Among Government Entities

    Some issues that public entities face are more efficiently and effectively resolved by working with state legislators and regulators to develop mutually beneficial solutions. Our government relations team is especially skilled at identifying those issues and navigating the intricacies of government at all levels to address and resolve them.

  • Supporting Municipalities in the Exercise of Their Regulatory Authority

    We understand the municipality's perspective on land use and other regulatory issues. We regularly advise and represent governing boards, planning boards, zoning boards of appeals and government regulators in matters involving subdivision and site-plan review, comprehensive plans, SEQRA compliance, variances, special-use permits, rezoning, architectural review, historic preservation, development agreements, impact fees, RLUIPA, wireless telecommunications and zoning enforcement.