Public Law

Overview

Walter | Haverfield has provided general and special legal counsel to government bodies since its founding in 1932. Today, we continue to offer a wide range of services to municipalities, townships, school boards, special taxing districts and regional agencies throughout Ohio. Areas of representation include:

  • Administrative law and procedures
  • Awarding of contracts
  • Charters and amendments
  • Defense of civil rights actions
  • Defense of public officials
  • Eminent domain
  • Environmental law
  • Equal employment practices
  • Legislation, regulations
  • Public funding, tax abatements and economic development
  • Public improvement projects
  • Real estate and construction law
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Zoning and land use

Many of our attorneys also serve as law directors or assistant law directors for northern Ohio communities. We have successfully argued precedent-setting cases at all levels of the state and federal court systems, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

Professionals

Experience

Our team's experience includes:

  • Representation of municipalities in litigation to establish the authority of a municipality, as a part of a council of governments, to lobby the state legislature on matters related to local self-government
  • Counsel elected officials, and developed municipal procedures designed to achieve the objectives of elected officials, without incurring litigation costs
  • Representation of a municipality in federal court to establish the legality of a minimum age to be a candidate for mayor
  • Representation of a municipality in a taxpayer’s action seeking to prevent the municipality from erecting a communications tower on municipally-owned property
  • Representation of school districts on matters wherein municipalities were seeking to regulate the districts’ development activities
  • Representation of a municipality in litigation related to a municipally owned golf course and development of municipally-owned property adjacent to the golf course
  • Counsel many public sector clients on the application of Ohio’s Sunshine Laws (the Public Records Act and Open Meetings Act) to difficult fact patterns
  • Negotiated easements with numerous private and public property owners to acquire rights to construct a $1 million public hike and bike trail in local village pursuant to a federal grant awarded by NOACA and administered as an LPA project through ODOT
  • Advised local village on the process to construct a new $4 million police station as a design-build project and prepared all necessary agreements, proposals, and ordinances
  • Negotiated purchase agreement and land reconfiguration with large corporate landowner for donation of land to the Cuyahoga County Public Library for the construction of new library in local village
  • Conducted multiple eminent domain proceedings in Cuyahoga and Summit County Probate Courts to acquire right-of-way for roadway projects, as well as to facilitate economic development and secure recreational green space
  • Ethics, elections, and campaign finance counsel to public entities
  • Assist municipalities with the development and administration of comprehensive Public Right of Way (PROW) management ordinances
  • Advised local government entities on the formation of a joint recreation district to preserve a 300+ acre property from development
  • Representation of public entities in zoning/land use litigation, including the defense of R.C. Chapter 2506 appeals taken from decisions of local Boards of Zoning Appeals
  • Representation of public entities in tort litigation involving the assertion of immunities and defenses under R.C. Chapter 2744
  • Amend codified ordinances for municipal clients to comply with U.S. EPA and Ohio EPA storm water management requirements
  • Representation of municipal clients in R.C. 2506 administrative appeals regarding land use and planning decisions rendered by planning commissions, boards of zoning appeals and councils at all levels – trial court, court of appeals and Ohio Supreme Court
  • Defended a mayor, council president and council members at trial before the Ohio Elections Commission on the issue of a campaign violation
  • Advise Joint Economic Development District (“JEDD”) on creation and expansion issues
  • Draft Tax Increment Financing (“TIF”) and Development Agreements with developers for construction of public infrastructure

Recent Articles

Recognition

U.S. NEWS – BEST LAWYERS® 2018 “BEST LAW FIRMS” RANKINGS
  • National Tier 3: Land Use & Zoning Law
  • Metropolitan Tier 1 (Cleveland): Litigation – Land Use & Zoning; Litigation – Municipal; Municipal Law
  • Metropolitan Tier 2 (Cleveland): Land Use & Zoning Law
2017 RANKINGS
  • National Tier 2: Land Use & Zoning Law
  • Metropolitan Tier 1 (Cleveland): Litigation – Land Use & Zoning; Litigation – Municipal; Municipal Law
  • Metropolitan Tier 2 (Cleveland): Land Use & Zoning Law
2016 RANKINGS
  • Metropolitan Tier 1 (Cleveland): Litigation – Land Use & Zoning; Litigation – Municipal; Municipal Law
  • Metropolitan Tier 2 (Cleveland): Land Use & Zoning Law
2015 RANKINGS
  • Metropolitan Tier 1 (Cleveland): Litigation – Land Use & Zoning; Litigation – Municipal; Municipal Law
  • Metropolitan Tier 2 (Cleveland): Land Use & Zoning Law
2014 RANKINGS
  • Metropolitan Tier 1: Municipal Law; Municipal Litigation; Land Use & Zoning Litigation
2013 RANKINGS
  • Metropolitan Tier 1: Municipal Law; Land Use & Zoning Litigation
2012 RANKINGS
  • Metropolitan Tier 1: Municipal Law
  • Metropolitan Tier 2: Land Use & Zoning Litigation