Working Groups

What are IMLA Working Groups?

IMLA’s Working Groups bring local government IMLA member attorneys who share common problems together on conference calls and listservs, to share experiences and facilitate problem solving in these areas of common interest with other local government attorneys from across the country. This is a FREE SERVICE for IMLA members.  IMLA reserves any and all rights to the listserv.

I was a county attorney in Maryland for about 30 years and wished I had this tool then.
-Chuck Thompson, IMLA Executive Director
Click Here to Sign Up Online

Working Group Descriptions

Affirmative Litigation

This working group/listserv is only availble to IMLA’s Municipal Members. Please email eeiselt@imla.org with any questions.

Our intent is to create a means for members to share information about ongoing and possible future municipal affirmative litigation activity, including but not limited to:

  • energy industry responsibility for climate change impacts
  • vaping industry responsibility for injury and addiction
  • pharmaceutical industry anticompetitive and “patent thicket” activity restricting generics
  • financial industry collusion and manipulation of interest rates
  • chemical industry responsibility for PFAS, PFOA and other environmental injury
  • false claims actions

Our plan is to host calls focusing on litigation areas of greatest interest to participants and to redistribute documents and filings useful in a local government’s assessment of given actions.

Airport Law

This list is intended to act as a vehicle for discussion of legal and policy issues associated with the legal representation of airports.

Canadian Municipal

This group is intended to Canadian municipal lawyers with a forum to raise issues and dialogue, covering everything from law office/benchmarking, to ethical dilemmas faced, to legal issues.  Members are encouraged to raise questions and share ideas in an environment that promotes sharing amongst those who have practical similarities in their roles.

City Attorneys

This list is designed to give City Attorneys a place to discuss issues and network.

Civility

 The discussion will focus on legal and practical issues for local government attorneys associated with promoting civility in local government.

By way of background, there is a feeling, if not a reality, that civility, public discourse, and interactions we all have with one another are becoming more negative by the day. This, we find, is true in local government as well. NLC released a report in 2021 highlighting the existence of the issue on a national scale (https://www.nlc.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/On-the-Frontlines-of-Todays-Cities-1.pdf).

Engagement with the people is essential to our form of government. This is especially true when it comes to local governments. The discussion between a local entity and the public is not like Twitter, an uncivil individual can’t just be removed from the platform. Local governments are tasked with finding ways to operate that maximize public engagement and free speech while maintaining order and civility in public meetings, amongst local officials, between local officials and the public, and on social media.

Join Robert Palmer, the General Counsel and Director of Government Affairs for the Iowa League of Cities and Amanda Karras, IMLA’s Executive Director/General Counsel, to discuss the role of the local government attorney in assisting the government in promoting civility, including a discussion of legal considerations in doing so.

Clean Energy

This list is designed to help advance laws, policies and legal tools that cities and municipalities can use to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions and achieve carbon reduction goals. It is intended as an opportunity for colleagues to share information, ideas and solutions on challenging legal questions associated with climate mitigation policies.

Code Enforcement

The workgroup has regular monthly calls designed for code enforcement or the development of laws and practices intended to resolve problems within a community.

Construction Law

Members are expected to come primarily from law offices where their principal area of practice involves construction law.

Counties

This group is intended for discussion of those issues unique to country governance.

Child Protective Services

This list seeks to provide a networking opportunity for attorneys who represent government agencies and workers in child dependency or protection cases and who provide defense to those workers and agencies when sued for acting or failing to act in protecting children.

Disaster Relief

This listserv is utilized to provide resources to it’s members in the wake of a disaster. We keep a comprehensive database of disaster resources from municipality all around the country. We have used the list in response to fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, COVID-19 and more.

Diversity

This listserv is intended to act as a vehicle for discussion of legal and policy issues associated with diversity.

DSS Advisors

This listserv seeks to bring together those attorneys who represent departments of social services, including those that handle child protective services.  Using the listserv to share legal concerns and issues that affect representation of these agencies and interests intends to create a forum and avenue to share solutions to many of the complex problems associated with this practice area.

E-Discovery - Legal Hold

This group deals with the ever-evolving legal world of evidence, litigation holds, spoliation, privacy, data protection, and more. Join this group to see how to best protect and preserve your office’s data.

Employment Law

Members are expected to come primarily from law offices where their principal area of practice is employment law.

Environmental

Public health, building codes and enforcement, municipal water problems and environmental protection, solid and hazardous waste management.

Ethics

The Ethics Section and listserv are intended to provide members with an opportunity to share questions and issues involving the Rules of Professional Conduct or the development and application of state and local ethics laws.  Members are encouraged to share ideas for improving state and local regulations of ethical conduct and to discuss concerns about the Rules of Professional Conduct and interpretations of those Rules to governmental lawyers and their practices whether in-house or outside counsel. The Section has regularly scheduled teleconferences to discuss and share issues involving these ethical issues.

Federal

The Federal listserv provides the Litigation Section with a vehicle to share ideas about civil rights and other litigation, experts, causes of action and defenses.  The Section offers an opportunity through regular teleconferences to discuss emerging trends in litigation, new cases and ways in which to best defend the local government client and its officers.

Fire Department Advisors

This list is intended as a vehicle for attorneys who advise Local Government Fire Services to communicate and share ideas and solutions to issues that arise in representing those agencies.

Homelessness

This listserv seeks offer an opportunity for local government attorneys to discuss issues involving homelessness and solutions to the problems communities face in addressing those issues.

Jails

This listserv seeks to bring together those attorneys who represent local jails and lock-ups and the unique issues that challenge those institutions.

Legal Advocacy

This listserv is a joint project of the IMLA and the State and Local Legal Center (SLLC). This listserv will report on the activities of the SLLC and IMLA. It provides members an opportunity to comment on whether IMLA should join a case as an amicus, creates a forum for discussion of cases important to local governments and to inform IMLA and SLLC in their efforts to represent the interests of local governments. It is intended for thoughtful comment and analysis.

Land Use

This listserv seeks offer an opportunity for local government attorneys to discuss issues involving Land Use and solutions to the problems communities face in addressing those issues. The group has also drafted codes and ordinances that have been provided to IMLA members.

Legal Assistants

A new Working Group focused on Legal Assistants. This group will work together to identify ways in which law offices can improve the use of legal assistants to increase productivity and reduce costs including providing training for the legal assistants. This Working Group will also advance the profession both for lawyers and legal assistants by using the listserv to share ideas, suggestions and to have regular calls to discuss thorny problems or even just to commiserate about issues where you’d like to vent.

Marijuana

As of March 2021, New York augmented legalized medical marijuana by legalizing adult possession and use of marijuana for recreational purposes, and authorizing adult-use cannabis retail dispensaries and/or on-site consumption businesses.

Local governments can opt out of allowing the adult-use dispensaries and on-site consumption businesses, but cannot prohibit adult use and possession. Localities that do not opt out can nevertheless impose time, place and manner restrictions on dispensaries and on-site consumption facilities so long as they don’t make use of the license “unreasonably impracticable:”

Except for the opt-out provision described in the section above, all municipalities including counties, are preempted from adopting any law, rule, ordinance, regulation, or prohibition pertaining to the operation or licensure of adult-use, medical or cannabinoid hemp licenses.

However, towns, cities and villages are permitted to pass local laws and regulations governing the time, place and manner of adult-use retail dispensaries and on-site consumption licenses provided that the local law and regulations do not make the operation of the license unreasonably impracticable as determined by the Cannabis Control Board. For example, cities, towns, and villages are permitted to pass laws and regulations pertaining to local zoning and the location of licensees, hours of operations and adherence to local building codes. Municipalities may not issue local licenses to cannabis licensees.

The group is interested in the types of restrictions other local governments have successfully placed on recreational cannabis facilities, and would also be interested in a more general discussion about the experiences of local government in states where recreational cannabis has been legal for some time.

Music Licensing

Headed by Erich Eiselt, IMLA Assistant General Counsel, IMLA’s Music Licensing Work Group is focused on developing reasonable terms and conditions with Performing Rights Organizations for the use of copyrighted musical works by municipalities. IMLA previously negotiated a standard form of local government PRO license agreement and, with one PRO, an IMLA member discount. As technologies have evolved and new PROs have entered the market, it is appropriate to review those agreements and relationships. Our goals is to seek appropriate license provisions and to serve as a clearing house of information and resources for IMLA members as they interact with PROs. We anticipate that the Music Licensing Group will convene for calls every two weeks.

Opioid Litigation

Headed by Erich Eiselt, IMLA Assistant General Counsel, IMLA’s Opioid Litigation Work Group is a resource for localities seeking more insight about the opioid litigation underway across the country. Convening every two weeks, typically on Tuesdays at 1 PM Eastern, the Opioid Work Group discusses the growing spectrum of actions by municipalities against the opioid manufacturers, distributors and other defendants, focusing not only on the federal Multi-District Litigation (MDL) in the Northern District of Ohio, but on numerous state court actions. Calls–which are attended by upwards of 40 jurisdictions– encourage input from participants; some calls have included legal experts from academia and leading opioid plaintiffs’ counsel to take questions from attendees. Participants have discussed such issues as the merits of AG-led actions, nuances of retainer agreements, issues to consider before filing, state court versus federal court actions, and so on.

In addition to hosting bi-weekly calls, IMLA summarizes significant orders from the MDL and and state proceedings.

Police Advisors

This list is designed for those attorneys assigned to advise police departments. It is intended as an opportunity for colleagues to share information, ideas and solutions involving those important issues that affect police agencies and the performance of their duties.

State League

This list seeks to serve counsel to state leagues and the attorneys who represent state associations of municipal or county attorneys.

Small and Rural Communities

This working group is intended to provide municipal lawyers with a forum to identify and address issues of particular interest to smaller and/or rural communities. All municipal lawyers are invited to join in and contribute to regularly scheduled teleconferences, and to attend the group’s presentations and functions at IMLA’s conferences and seminars.

Telecom and Technology

This group is a resource and action group for members seeking to get involved in telecom and technology issues impacting local government. This group is currently focusing on small cell deployment and net neutrality. As other issues arise, the group will tackle those as well.

University Cities and Counties

Deals with interactions between local governments and the universities and colleges within those jurisdictions and includes discussion of issues like housing, rental properties, alcohol abuse and rowdies; as well as other problems and solutions.

Young Lawyers

This listerv was created to allow young lawyers (in age and/or experience) to communicate with one another. Should you have any questions or issues you’d like to share with your fellow colleagues, posting it on the list will allow all the members of this listerv to view and respond. You must be under 40 years old and have been practicing law for no more than 7 years.

Click Here to Sign Up Online