For City Attorneys

The principal attorney, Karen E. Marty, has over 25 years' experience in land use and local government law. She served as a full-time in-house city attorney for 15 years, first in Springfield, Missouri, and then in Shakopee, Minnesota. Both communities were growing rapidly, with the usual growth pains: annexations, zoning issues, new subdivisions, development agreements, cross-access easements, shared parking, and construction in flood plains. She oversaw the drafting of completely new zoning ordinances for both cities, as well as many detailed ordinances for sign regulation, construction in a floodplain, and "nuisance" businesses.

Since opening her practice, Ms. Marty has been hired by more than a dozen different cities and city agencies to serve as an independent hearing examiner/administrative law judge. Of the 80+ hearings she has conducted, not one has resulted in an appeal. She takes the time to make sure that each side in a hearing "feels heard", and has had a full and fair opportunity to explain their position. She then prepares detailed findings of fact, conclusions of law, and either an order or recommendation (depending on the matter). While this takes a little more time, it results in more satisfied parties and costs far less than an appeal would.

In addition, Ms. Marty has been hired by two communities to represent the city council and advise it on matters where the city attorney faced a conflict of interest (e.g., when a department head was being investigated). Similarly, three cities have hired her to conduct an independent investigation into allegations of wrongdoing by a city official. Ms. Marty's firm, professional -- yet personable -- approach resulted in satisfactory resolutions of difficult circumstances.

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