In January, the City of Saline will have a new lawyer for the first time in 52 years.
At Monday’s meeting, Saline City Council voted 7-0 to approve Detroit-based law firm Clark Hill PLC to provide legal representation for the city. The city is expected to pay $124,900 in retainer fees annually to Clark Hill, one of Michigan’s largest and oldest law firms. Attorney Scot Smith, based in Grand Rapids, would be Clark Hill’s coordinating attorney and principal contact. Smith will be assisted by a small army of lawyers in the areas of general municipal law, prosecution, labor and employment, municipal finance, economic development, civil litigation, and tax tribunals and assessing.
Saline resident Allan Grossman has been the city’s attorney for 52 years.
City Manager Todd Campbell said the city put out a request for proposals for legal services and received 14 proposals. A city council review team met with five finalists Nov. 17. Clark Hill and McGraw Morris were the finalists after Saturday’s presentations.
The motion to hire Clark Hill was made by Brian Marl and seconded by Dean Girbach.
Marl thanked the firms who sent in proposals and the five firms who visited with Saline officials Nov. 17.
“I believe all five would do a decent job. Clark Hill has the breadth of depth of experience and expertise that makes them unmatched among their competitors,” Marl said. “Whether it is in collective bargaining, representing the city with the tax tribunal or providing legal counsel on a daily basis, I am convinced they would do an exceptional job.”
Clark Hill will charge a retainer fee of $10,415 a month for general municipal, ordinance prosecution and labor work. The firm will retain the right to charge more for extra time is required for certain issues.
The firm has offered to do transitioning work in December for a fee not to exceed $3,500.
Clark Hill has extensive experience in a broad range of municipal law areas and represents many municipal governments, including serve as general legal counsel for Allegan, Grand Haven, Grant, Mackinaw City, the Macomb County Board of Commissioners, Mt. Pleasant, Otsego, Plainwell, the Southfield DDA, South Haven, and the Village of Sparta.
Clark Hill has a litigation practice group comprised of over 60 attorneys. In the past, the firm has represented Saline in tax tribunals and municipal finance matters
Clark Hill was formally established in 1996 in Michigan when Clark, Klein and Beaumont merged with Hill Lewis to form Clark Hill PLC, but the core of the firm's history and practice extends back to 1890. The merger was the largest law firm combination in Michigan history, according to documents provided to the city by the firm.