Office of City Attorney
The City Attorney is the chief legal advisor for the City of Atlanta and is the director of the Department of Law. As chief legal advisor for the City of Atlanta, the City Attorney is responsible for providing legal counsel to the Mayor and to the Atlanta City Council. The Department of Law is vested with exclusive authority and jurisdiction in all matters of law relating to the executive branch of the city government and every department, bureau, office, institution, commission, committee, board and other agency thereof. The Department of Law litigates all civil matters on behalf of the City of Atlanta; provides for the defense of city officers and employees in certain situations involving civil litigation arising out of the performance of official duties of the officer or employee; provides written legal opinions on questions of law connected with the interest of the City of Atlanta to the Mayor, any department head, and president or member of the Atlanta City Council; attends all meetings of the Atlanta City Council and meetings of the committees of the council as requested; supervises, administers and performs all claims work under O.C.G.A. § 34-9-1, et seq., and performs any other services as are consistent with the usual and customary duties of municipal corporation counsel.
The Department of Law does not provide legal advice to members of the public. The Department of Law is limited to providing legal advice, counsel and representation to the Mayor, City Council members, City officials and departments in all civil matters regarding the City of Atlanta, Georgia.
Marc Goncher, Deputy City Attorney
The Finance Practice Group provides legal counsel and litigation services to the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs; Department of Planning and Economic Development; Bureau of Planning; Bureau of Buildings; Bureau of Code Enforcement; Bureau of Housing; Department of Finance, including all of its Offices; Department of Enterprise Assets Management; Department of Information Technology; Department of Procurement on general fund matters; Mayor’s Office; City Council and related boards and authorities including the Board of Zoning Adjustment, the Urban Design Commission, the In-Rem Board and the Pension Boards on behalf of the City. This group also provides in house legal counsel and litigation services on all commercial transactions including bond deals, municipal financing and tax matters.
Karen Thomas, Deputy City Attorney
The Infrastructure Practice group provides legal counsel and representation to the Department of Public Works; Bureau of Transportation; the License Review Board; Office of Contract Compliance and other boards and authorities. This group also serves as the legal liaison with the City of Atlanta’s three Community Improvement Districts as well as the Atlanta Development Authority and the Atlanta Beltline. In addition, this group provides legal advice and litigation support on telecommunication and real estate matters.
Litigation and Employment
Laura Burton, Deputy City Attorney
The Litigation and Employment Practice Group handles all lawsuits in which the City, any of its employees, elected officials or its agents are named as defendants, and that have not been assigned to outside counsel. This includes all tort litigation and constitutional claims, whether filed in federal or state court. In addition to handling lawsuits, Litigation and Employment provides substantive legal advice on employment matters, workers compensation, and to the public safety entities which include Police, Fire, Corrections and Courts.
Litigation and Employment also includes the Claims Department which facilitates the handling of claims which are filed against the City as required by state law.
Roger Bhandari, Deputy City Attorney
This group provides legal counsel to the Office of the Mayor, City Council, Departments of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs; Planning and Community Development; Public Works; Watershed Management, Information Technology, and related authorities, boards and commissions in the areas of economic development, public infrastructure and general municipal legal matters.
Kimberly Patrick, Deputy City Attorney
The Aviation Practice Group acts as Counsel to the City of Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The Members of the Practice Group represent the City in a wide variety of transactions concerning the Airport including transactions with airlines, vendors and contractors doing business with the Airport.
Currently, the members of the Aviation Practice Group are working on legal matters related to the $5.4 billion expansion of the Airport. The Hartsfield Jackson Development Program is a 10-year project that includes the construction of a 5th Runway, a new International terminal, enhanced road & rail access, additional packaging facilities and a new Consolidated Rental Car Facility.
Jeffrey B. Norman, Compliance Officer
The Compliance Unit is responsible for proactively evaluating, reviewing, and enhancing compliance standards and processes within the City of Atlanta, with a centralized focus on preventing and reducing the potential for municipal liability with regard to the City of Atlanta’s compliance with federal, state, and local laws and regulations. The Compliance Unit is also responsible for conducting thorough and impartial investigations into the affairs of any city department, board, bureau, commission, institution, authority, retirement system, or any other instrumentality or agency of the city. These investigations may also include any city official, employee or any person or organization to the extent that the person or organization shall have had any dealings with the City of Atlanta or any department, board, bureau, commission, institution, authority, retirement system, or other instrumentality or agency of the city.
Mishelle Braithwaite, Business Manager
The Administrative unit is responsible for assisting the City Attorney in managing the day-to-day administrative functions of the Law Department. This includes management and oversight of the department's Financial and Budget processes, Human Resources, Technology and Office operations.