Corporation Counsel

City Hall - 25 Cottage Road
767-7605 - Telephone 767-7620 - Fax
Monday-Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

For questions and public record requests under the Freedom of Access Act ("Right to Know" law), please submit to Shara Drew, Communications / Public Access Officer.

The South Portland City Council appoints the City’s legal counsel, also known as Corporation Counsel. Since 2008, the City Council has retained the law firm of Jensen Baird to serve in this capacity, with Sally Daggett in specific as Corporation Counsel. The City will occasionally use other legal counsel in circumstances where particular expertise is required or Corporation Counsel has a conflict of time or interest.

One of the great challenges in municipal law is the variety of legal subjects, especially given the limited time in which answers and solutions are needed. Corporation Counsel handles questions ranging from taxation to insurance, personal injury to civil rights, constitutional law to administrative law, property rights to environmental law, and contracts to personnel matters. Local, State and Federal law must be observed.

Corporation Counsel’s work can be divided into three approximately equal parts: litigation, City Council issues (for example, advising the Council at meetings and drafting ordinances), and advising the other City departments when questions arise. Corporation Counsel does not deal directly with members of the public.

Litigation in the City is varied. Many types of cases, not involving money damages (which are often handled by attorneys appointed by the City’s insurance carrier), are handled by Corporation Counsel. All governmental action (for example, a Planning Board decision or challenge to the validity of ordinance), and enforcement of ordinances are handled by Corporation Counsel. Additionally, Corporation Counsel monitors all litigation to determine if any preventive measures can be taken to minimize future lawsuits.

Since the day-to-day functioning of City business frequently requires fast decision-making on any number of subjects--often of great delicacy--good relations and communications are necessary between Corporation Counsel and other departments. Corporation Counsel offers advice and counsel when requested by the City’s numerous departments and boards/committees.