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City finds new legal representation

March 19, 2014

This coming May, the Fullerton-based law firm of Jones & Mayer will succeed longtime City of Bishop Attorney Peter Tracy. Jones & Mayer attorney Ryan R. Jones (l) will be appointed contract city attorney and Dean J. Pucci (r) will serve as designated contract assistant city attorney. Photos courtesy Jones & Mayer

The City of Bishop has entered into an agreement naming law firm Johns & Mayer successor to interim City Attorney Peter Tracy who will resign effective April 30.
On Feb. 19, Council reviewed the seven responses it received from interested attorneys and law firms to recruitment efforts begun in December. On March 10, “after a thorough discussion by Council, Jones & Mayer Attorneys at Law was unanimously approved,” City Administrator Keith Caldwell said. Effective this May, Ryan R. Jones of Jones & Mayer will be appointed contract city attorney of the City of Bishop. Dean J. Pucci will be the designated contract assistant city attorney to serve in Jones’ absence.
According to the Retainer Agreement for City Attorney Services submitted to City Council on March 10, the city will pay a monthly retainer of $5,500 to the Fullerton-based law firm.
In addition to the monthly retainer for general services, the law firm will bill separately for “fees associated with litigation and special legal services” at a rate of $185 per hour for attorney services and $100 for paralegals. The city will also reimburse Jones & Mayer for “direct out-of-pocket expenses actually and necessarily incurred” by the law firm, ranging from court filing fees and travel expenses to services by outside researchers and arbitrators and mediators.
The retainer agreement outlines the general legal services scope of work, as broadly listed here: provide on-site legal services at City Hall for a minimum of four hours per week; advise Council and appointed commission, committee, board and city staff and officials on legal matters pertaining to city business; prepare, review and approve a variety of city documents and city-requested legal opinions; represent the city in litigation and administrative proceedings; supervise outside legal counsel hired by the city; and attend all regularly scheduled City Council meetings and other meetings.
Caldwell added, that while it is recommended that Council requires the city attorney or law firm be represented at all City Council meetings, “contracted legal firms often hire a local attorney to perform this function and provide additional expertise and resources from their home office.”
Owned by its president, Richard D. Jones, the Fullerton office of Jones & Mayer is located a bit more than 300 miles and five hours’ drive south of Bishop. The law firm has a 32-person staff and offices located in Roseville and Arroyo Grande as well as Fullerton.
According to www.jones-mayer.com, Jones & Mayer, which “is devoted to serving public entities throughout California,” is general counsel to the cities of Blythe, Costa Mesa, Fullerton, Grand Terrace, La Habra, Maywood, South Pasadena, Stanton, Westminster and Whittier, and to the Gateway Cities Council of Governments. The law firm also provides services to various city, county and state law enforcement agencies.
“Known for its approachability, responsiveness and ability to effectively operate within a team building environment.” In addition to flexibility in responding to client needs, and having a problem-solving attitude and hands-on style, “our attorneys maintain strong ties (to the communities they serve) operating as members of board of directors to civic and charitable organizations, attending community functions and making other contributions to civic and charitable organizations.”
It looks like Bishop stands to expand its community support, while gaining new city attorney representation.
Voicing the council’s group consensus, Councilwoman Laura Smith said the law firm “made a very handsome proposal and the city has done work with Jones & Mayer in the past. We know them and more importantly, they know us. They have always been so willing to work with us which can be a bit of a challenge since Bishop is so remote and so on. Jones & Mayer is a really great group.”

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