Practice Areas



At Central Valley Legal Services, we search for and find innovative and practical solutions to highly complex legal problems involving local government agencies in virtually all aspects of municipal operations. We assist both public agencies and private clients with a broad range of legal challenges.

MUNICIPAL LAW

We offer comprehensive and cost-effective legal advice and related services to local public agencies, including cities, counties, special districts and joint powers authorities. We have experience as general counsel for public bodies, such as city councils and planning commissions, and have assisted and advised local public agencies and officials on nearly all facets of public entity operations, including public finance, grant compliance, public works agreements and projects, zoning/land-use law, conditional-use permits, cannabis taxation and regulation under Propositions 64 and 215, general plan amendments and zoning changes, preparation of zoning ordinances, preparation of governing body resolutions, preparation and review of all written agreements (including development agreements, employment agreements and professional services agreements), labor law and negotiations, employee discipline, litigation, conflicts of interest, risk management, LAFCo proceedings and many other day-to-day operational issues which arise. We advise governing bodies on the Brown Act, Public Records Act and other regulations pertaining to open government, as well as exemptions.

We can assist you with finding and evaluating all of the primary options available to resolve your complex legal issue in a manner which you believe will best suit your community and public agency. Public agencies can qualify for a special discounted billing rate when our office is appointed as chief legal counsel for your public agency, including coordinator of all specialized outside legal services which may be necessary.

LAND-USE LAW

We have assisted local governments with drafting, enacting and later amending local land-use regulations including zoning ordinances and general plans. We have experience with code enforcement cases, including receiverships. We also advised local governments on land-use decisions including conditional-use permits, variances, parcel and tentative maps and encroachment permits. We prepare, negotiate and provide advice in connection with development agreements. We also have extensive experience with CEQA and NEPA compliance.

CONSTRUCTION AND
PUBLIC WORKS

We have extensive experience in preparing and reviewing public works agreements for capital improvement projects, public bidding documentation and procedures and provided assistance with due diligence in connection with State and federal funding for public works projects. We have also assisted public agencies with bid protests, change orders and resolving disputes between public agencies and project contractors, bonding sureties, subcontractors and construction managers. We also can assist with public right-of-way and temporary construction easement acquisitions and abandonments, as well as eminent domain.

PUBLIC FINANCE AND
LOCAL TAXATION

We understand how enterprise funds operate and provide advice and assistance with Proposition 218 proceedings, formation of public entities to assist with bond financings, enactment of various forms of local taxes, including transactions and use taxes, as well as cannabis and other business taxes. We have experience and can assist you with special assessments on real property.

ESTATE PLANNING

We offer full service estate planning, including assistance with preparing and processing the legal instruments necessary to actually transfer your estate assets into a living trust of your choice, as well as the use of a pour-over will, so that your heirs can avoid costly probate proceedings, to the extent possible under your circumstances. We can assist you with any required probate proceedings and probate litigation. We can also assist in preparation of advance healthcare directives to give medical decision-making authority to a trusted person or to ensure your desired medical wishes will be honored, if you are ever incapable of directly communicating with medical providers.

LITIGATION

We provide representation in civil, administrative and other legal proceedings involving virtually all of the subject matters in which we offer legal advice or assistance, as well as in complex business, real property and civil rights disputes. This includes both affirmative litigation and legal defense, through all phases of litigation from initial pleadings through appeals and writs to the State and federal Supreme Courts.