The Civil Department is the law firm representing Jefferson County, and provides legal advice to all elected officials, county offices and departments, and independent boards and commissions. Elected officials include the Assessor, Auditor, Clerk, Commissioners, District Court Judges, Prosecutor, Sheriff, Superior Court Judges, and Treasurer. The department also protects the County in civil proceedings and from claims against the County.
Protecting the County in Civil Proceedings and from Claims Against the County
The department’s representation of the County includes:
î Planning for a positive litigation outcome, including developing a litigation plan and hiring experts.
î Preparation of pleadings and discovery materials such as interrogatories, requests for admissions and requests for production.
î Presenting County witnesses in depositions, hearings and trial.
î Presenting the County’s position in hearings, trials and appeals whether at state or federal agencies or in state or federal court.
î Achieving settlement settlements in the best interests of the County through negotiation, mediation or arbitration.
î Supervising outside counsel hired to represent the County on matters beyond the expertise or capacity of the department.
Providing Wide-Ranging Legal Advice
The department provides the County with informal or formal legal opinions about:
î Adopting or changing County ordinances.
î Changes in the law, whether statutory or in caselaw.
î Civil enforcement of violations of County Code.
î Contracting and procurement.
î Compliance with federal, state and local laws and regulations.
î Environmental and public health, including clean water, indoor clean air, solid waste and on-site septic systems.
î Ethics for County officials or employees.
î Human resources and labor negotiations.
î Land use and real estate, including issues under the State Environmental Policy Act, the Shoreline Management Act, the Growth Management Act, the Forrest Practices Act and the County’s Unified Development Code.
î Risk management and insurance.
î Open government, including the Public Records Act or the Open Public Meetings Act.
î Public safety, including alarm systems, firearms safety, fireworks safety, illegal drug manufacturing or storage, and noise.
Washington State Law and the Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit the Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office from providing legal advice to members of the general public. If you have a matter that requires legal assistance, you may wish to contact Jefferson Associated Counsel, the public defender for Jefferson County, Northwest Justice Project, Columbia Legal Services, Washington Legal Help, a county bar association or a lawyer listed at the Legal Information Institute.