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Legal Blue Arrows

Legal Affairs

The Legal Affairs Division of the Michigan Municipal League is staffed by William C. Mathewson, General Counsel. In addition to acting as legal counsel for the League as an organization, the Legal Affairs Division also provides services to the League’s members in the following respects:

Assistance to Municipal Attorneys – The Legal Affairs Division works collaboratively with the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys (MAMA), the only chartered section of the League. Training institutes and seminars are provided to member municipal attorneys.

Legal Defense Fund – The Legal Defense Fund is used to assist in litigation and other legal matters involving a city, village or township, the outcome of which could have statewide significance. Membership in the Defense Fund is open to League members which pay a modest annual fee. Resources of the Fund are extended in cases which would have a considerable impact on Michigan municipal law and would affect the organization, operation, powers, duties or financing of Michigan’s communities. The typical form of assistance is the filing of an amicus brief to support the legal position of the community, most often in the Michigan Supreme Court or Michigan Court of Appeals . William Mathewson serves as Fund Administrator.

Assistance with Municipal Inquiries – The League’s general counsel and associate general counsel are available to offer guidance and other assistance to the municipal attorneys of its members. League legal staff does not, however, provide formal legal advice or opinions for member communities.

Tax Tribunal - (PDF)
Bankruptcy (PDF)
Municipal Prosecution - Distribution of Fines and Costs Manual (PDF)

Michigan Legal BriefsMichigan Legal Briefs is a publication for city and village attorneys who are members of the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys. The Briefs summarizes recent Michigan court decisions, attorney general opinions, and selected federal cases.

Additional Resources
Guidelines and Checklists

The Review Legal Spotlight Columns–

The Impact of a City Snowmobile Ordinance on Snowmobiler’s Claim for No-Fault Benefits (January/February)
May Local Units of Government Now Adopt an Ordinance to Conduct Safety Inspections of Rental Mobile Homes? (March/April )
Are Personal Emails Captured on a Public Body’s Computer System Subject to FOIA? (July August)
Backing into Federalism: Medical Marihuana’s Commercial Uses by Michael G. Woodworth and Eric W. Misterovich (September/October Guest Column)
Equal Protection Challenge by Parochial School (November/December)

What is the Legal Effect of a Michigan Attorney General Opinion? (January/February)
Is a Contract Formed When a Municipality Accepts a Bid? (May June)
Who Owns the Riparian Rights to an Inland Lake if a Road Separates the Lots Fronting the Lake From the Water? (July/August)
What Water Rates Can Be Charged to Extraterritorial Customers? (November/December)

What are the requirements for minutes of an open meeting? What conditions must be met for posting a notice of a special meeting? (January/February)
Is a utility tractor used as a festival shuttle a motor vehicle? (March/April)
Are a city and its employees liable for the death of a person killed by guy wire strung across the sidewalk? (May/June)
When is a person in “actual physical control” of a vehicle? (July/August)
Municipal liability for sewage discharge into state waters (September/October)
Does the lowest bidder have a business expectancy? (November/December)

Powers of Boards of Review and Tax Tribunal (January/February)
Jurisdiction of appeal from drain code assessment (March/April)
Open Meetings Act violation and attorney fees (May/June)
Factors resulting in legal warrantless entry and search of home (July/August)
Motivation not relevant in Whistleblowers’ Protection Act claim (September/October)
Does a nativity scene in a city’s holiday display violate the Establishment Clause of the Federal Constitution? (November/December)

For further information about Legal Services
Phone: 734.662.3246 or E-mail:




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