Governmental Law

For more than 45 years, the Sterling Heights law firm of O'Reilly Rancilio has advised and represented municipalities and school districts in the tri-county area of southeast Michigan and beyond. We advise on day-to-day municipal and school law matters as general counsel, serve as consultants on special legal issues, provide defense counsel when the public body or its officials are sued, draft and prosecute local ordinance violations, and provide expertise in the areas of planning and zoning.

Our lawyers serve as general counsel to the city of Sterling Heights, the village of Armada, the Warren Consolidated Schools, Macomb Township, Grosse Ile and the Macomb County Executive, and we are the local ordinance prosecutors for Grosse Pointe Shores. We welcome inquiries from all other local governments and school districts in Macomb County, Oakland County, Wayne County, St. Clair County, Washtenaw County and surrounding counties.

We handle cases involving:

  • Municipal law — Our municipal practice group serves cities, townships, villages, counties, and all of their various boards and commissions (zoning, planning, Act 78, etc.). We routinely provide legal opinions, prepare ordinances, and provide counsel regarding ordinances and regulations, property owner assessments, planning and zoning matters, economic development, open meeting compliance, Freedom of Information Act requests, internal issues such as employment contracts and employee policies, nuisance abatements, and governance of police and fire departments.
  • School law — Our firm advises and represents Michigan school districts in all aspects of education law and school administration, including school board policies, meetings and minutes, bonding and construction, referendums and elections, union contracts and employee matters, student discipline and privacy rights, special education lawsuits, and all other day-to-day matters addressed by superintendents, administrators and school boards.
  • Municipal defense — We have extensive experience in municipal litigation defense, and protecting governmental entities against lawsuits, including personal injury and premises liability claims, tax tribunal matters and employment litigation such as discrimination, disability accommodations and wrongful termination.
  • Police defense – Our firm specializes in police training, education and litigation defense. We have successfully defended against claims involving the use of force, open carry, constitutional rights violations, false arrest and all other police-related litigation claims.
  • Ordinance prosecution – Our attorneys set the standard for ordinance drafting and prosecution, having researched and drafted hundreds of unique and important ordinances, and having prosecuted thousands of local ordinance violations in more than eight local communities over the course of 45 years. In addition to understanding and knowing the nuances of all criminal and traffic laws, we have incorporated thorough release language based on appellate case law into our plea agreement forms, saving our municipal clients untold costs for defending against civil claims that are never filed because of our release (or are dismissed immediately because of it). We have successfully handled thousands of jury trials, bench trials, evidentiary hearings, motion hearings and formal hearings. We are engaged with our police officers, ensuring they are trained and prepared for court testimony.
  • Planning and zoning – Our attorneys also have unique expertise in planning and zoning matters, having represented local government planning commissions and zoning boards for more than 45 years, having attended thousands of their meetings, and having successfully defended lawsuits and appeals based on their decisions. We have also counseled and helped guide local planners with the development of master plans, zoning maps and zoning text amendments.
  • Collective bargaining and employment law – Our firm has assisted local governments for over 45 years with the negotiation of collective bargaining agreements, preparation of employee benefits ordinances, and the handling of grievances, arbitrations, and employment law issues and disputes.
  • Specialized municipal and school concerns — Our attorneys also have unique expertise representing the Macomb County Charter Commission, downtown development authorities, tax increment financing districts, corridor improvement authorities, cable commissions and civil service commissions. We have successfully represented school districts against consolidation petitions filed by residents who want to leave the district. We are at the forefront of open carry issues and medical marijuana regulations. We have developed innovative ordinances to license and govern massage establishments, body art facilities, pawn establishments, hotels and motels, and secondhand merchants. We developed fireworks regulations to supplement the recent state laws. We have also developed the only dangerous dog ordinance of its kind, with an emphasis on owner responsibility and conditions for keeping potentially dangerous dogs after an incident occurs.

Our municipal law and school law attorneys are uniquely qualified and have the unparalleled experience to represent all local governments and school districts in the tri-county area and beyond.

Our governmental law attorneys include: