Defending home rule in state and federal courts. The LOC is your city's advocate.

Learn more about home rule in Oregon

Legal Advocacy

The LOC regularly acts as a legal advocate for member cities, defending the principle of local control in the state and federal appellate courts.  Typically, when the LOC acts as a legal advocate, we participate as a friend of the court, or amicus curiae, in any proceeding affecting the rights, liabilities, or interest of all member cities.  In exceptional circumstances, and where LOC has standing, it may initiate or intervene in special litigation affecting the organization, operation, powers, duties, or financing of cities. 

Legal Advocacy Committee

To support our legal advocacy efforts the LOC Board of Directors has created a Legal Advocacy Committee comprised of not more than 10 attorneys representing member cities, of which no more than two may be retired attorneys who previously represented member cities.  The purpose of the Legal Advocacy Committee is to review requests for the LOC to participate as amicus curiae, identify opportunities for the LOC to participate as amicus curiae, and identify opportunities for the LOC to initiate or otherwise participate in litigation in the interests of Oregon cities.  The committee is advisory to the executive director, who makes the final decision on whether the LOC will participate as amicus curiae, initiate or otherwise participate in litigation.  Decisions to initiate or intervene in special litigation are made by the LOC Board of Directors, upon the advice of the executive director and general counsel.

When evaluating requests or identifying opportunities for the LOC to participate as amicus curiae, or identifying opportunities for the LOC to initiate or otherwise participate in litigation, the Legal Advocacy Committee, the executive director and the LOC Board of Directors ask themselves the following questions:

  1. Whether the legal issue is of statewide significance;
  2. Whether the case clearly presents an issue of interest to cities;
  3. Whether the interest of cities is generally similar and not divergent in any substantial way or number;
  4. Whether participation is consistent with the League’s principles, policies, or interests such as local control and judicial deference to local government determinations;
  5. Whether the LOC’s participation will be meaningful to the court’s resolution of the matter, such as whether there are identifiable gaps in the case or issues that would otherwise go unaddressed by the parties to the litigation;
  6. The timeliness of the request; and
  7. The availability of resources to prepare or assist in the preparation of the amicus brief. 

Each month LOC staff provide the board of directors a report on the status of any outstanding legal advocacy efforts in which the LOC has participated.  The report is typically located in the consent agenda of each packet related to a regularly scheduled meeting of the board of directors.

If your city believes the LOC can or should provide legal advocacy support in a matter before a state or federal appellate court, please contact LOC's general counsel at pmulvihill@orcities.org for information on how to submit an application for consideration with the Legal Advocacy Committee.