Government Law

Proven Experience

Stafford Rosenbaum’s Government Law team has extensive experience solving the legal problems facing both governmental entities and the private organizations that deal with them. Several of our team members each have over 25 years of experience, and our attorneys have written the chapter on municipal law for the State Bar’s Annual Survey of Wisconsin Law since the book’s inception.

We combine this experience with a common-sense, problem-solving approach—exactly why governmental entities and private organizations alike turn to us for their legal needs. Our Government Law attorneys provide a broad range of services, including:

  • Formulation and implementation of strategies to help governmental entities (counties, towns, villages, cities, school districts, and utility districts) address growth and economic development in a fiscally-sound manner
  • Representation and counsel on all aspects of major construction projects (contracts and disputes with architects, engineers and contractors, claims by subcontractors and suppliers, and claims against sureties)
  • Services related to property acquisition proceedings by governmental entities and utilities, including condemnation (eminent domain) and relocation benefits
  • Negotiation of multi-party agreements in complex matters (boundary disputes, incorporations, joint use of utility facilities, telecommunication tower sitings, cooperative services agreements, real estate matters, transportation projects, wastewater treatment, and permitting matters)
  • Representation in intergovernmental disputes over matters such as annexation, incorporation, or locating utility facilities
  • Handling property tax exemption and assessment disputes
  • Defending governmental entities against personal injury, property damage, environmental, constitutional (e.g., takings, First Amendment, due process), employment, and other liability claims, and in challenges to variance, licensing, assessment, permit and other decisions
  • Preparing stormwater management, erosion control, and groundwater protection ordinances
  • Advice and representation in employment matters, including employment-practices audits, advice on day-to-day personnel matters (employee discipline, employee discharge), and the creation and review of employee handbooks and personnel policies
  • Conducting ethics investigations and advising on ethics, open meeting and public records, election law, and public bidding and construction law
  • Advice and representation in labor matters, including union negotiations and grievances
  • Resolving environmental permit compliance, wastewater treatment, and utility charge disputes
  • Litigating numerous contract and related liability claims, resulting in millions of dollars recovered or saved by local government clients
  • Forming and representing municipal utilities
  • General counsel services for local governmental entities.

Trusted Counsel

Stafford Rosenbaum works regularly with governmental entities, including counties, cities, villages, towns, special-purpose districts, and the State of Wisconsin. We also provide legal services to organizations that serve local governments.

We have represented over 100 local governments and special-purpose governmental districts as special counsel (assisting local governmental entities and their general legal counsel in complex transactional and litigation matters) and as general counsel (providing a full range of legal services and routinely advising municipal officials and administrators on a broad range of issues). Stafford Rosenbaum currently serves as general counsel to many communities in southern Wisconsin.

Measurable Results

Our experience has produced results for our clients seeking government-related legal services, including:

  • Winning some of the most important Wisconsin property tax cases decided in recent years, including Wisconsin Supreme Court decisions about:
    • assessment of unbuilt condominium units;
    • tax exemptions for mobile homes;
    • owners’ rights to sue for refunds on exempt property; and
    • assessments based on income from managing adjacent properties
  • Negotiation of a favorable annexation and tax increment financing agreement for a Wisconsin municipality
  • Securing the right to incorporate as a city for the Town of Fitchburg in a complex lawsuit that made three trips to the Wisconsin Supreme Court
  • Preventing a municipality from removing a building by finding a defect in the adoption of a zoning ordinance