The City Attorney’s Office is the legal advisor and attorney for the City Commission and all City departments and boards. The attorneys represent the city governmental entity as a whole, not individual City officials or employees. These attorneys are ethically obligated to represent and seek the best interests of the municipal organization, as directed by the duly-elected officials and appointed senior officials of the organization.
The Office also provides general counsel services to both the Amarillo Hospital District and the Amarillo-Potter Events Venue District, which are separate legal entities but closely related to the City.
This Office does not provide legal services or advice to individual citizens for personal legal problems (such as divorce, child support, real estate, probate, etc.) When appropriate, the attorneys may refer a citizen to the City department that may be able to assist in addressing a citizen’s issue with a City service or program. Any statement about or discussion with a citizen about an issue or question he or she has with City government is only an effort to extend City services and is not legal advice to the citizen. Statements by attorneys will reflect the viewpoint of the City organization, not the citizen. The attorneys cannot provide information about how to sue the City.
The City Attorney’s Office is organized in two sections, a Civil Division and a Criminal Division.
The Civil Division prepares or approves all proposed ordinances and resolutions, as well as passing upon all contracts, papers, and documents in which the City is a party or has an interest. This division also represents the City in all civil litigation and proceedings with state and federal agencies.
The Criminal Division primarily conducts all municipal court prosecutions and appeals from such cases. All cases handled in the municipal court are class ‘C’ misdemeanors, which include traffic citations, petty theft, animal-related charges, red-light camera appeals, and violations of the building codes or zoning ordinance. This Division also provides general legal services and advice to the police, fire marshal, airport police, animal control, building safety departments.
The prosecutors are very willing to discuss available alternative dispositions of citations or charges, but they cannot give legal advice about what may be the best choice for an individual defendant. A defendant must make his/her own decision or consult with an attorney or knowledgeable friend. For more information about municipal court matters, see the Legal FAQ section below, or go to the Municipal Court page on the City of Amarillo website.
The City Attorney’s Office cannot refer you to or endorse any private practice attorney. If you need an attorney, here are three suggestions for finding one:
Ask your friends for the names of attorneys they like, and schedule introductory meetings to find one with whom you are comfortable; *Call an attorney referral service such as the:
Amarillo Area Bar Association, referral service at (806) 371-7226 *State Bar of Texas Lawyer Referral Service at 1-800-252-9690 •Contact Legal Aid of Northwest Texas at (806) 373-6808, which offers low-cost legal services based on your ability to pay.