Law Department

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Law Department Sections

Law Organization Chart
The Law Department is organized by different sections that are designated to handle specific legal services for the City of Detroit, based on the clients’ needs and requests.  

They include:
 • Governmental Affairs Section;

 • Labor Employment & Workers Compensation;

 • Litigation, Claims, and Revenue Collection;

 • Transactional and Economic Development;

 • Appeals;

 • Tax Appeals;

 •  Local Prosecution; and

 •  Blight Litigation.

Charter Duties

Article 7.5, Law Department:

Headed by the Corporation Counsel. One of 4 independent city agencies (along with the Inspector General, Auditor General and Ombudsperson).  

Represents interests of the City of Detroit as a body corporate and all City elected officials, departments, agencies, offices, commissions, and boards, as well as its individual employees, in their official capacity.

Budgeted Positions

FY 2013-2014
96 Total positions
59 Attorneys

Mission Statement

Our mission at the Office of the Corporation Counsel is to provide the highest quality legal advice and services to our client, the people of the City of Detroit.  To that end, we will zealously defend all claims against the City and its agencies, and we will diligently prosecute violations of City Ordinances, and where applicable, State and Federal law, to protect the people of this City, and to aspire to our goal of equal justice under law.


On May 4, 1895, the city attorney and city counselor offices were merged to establish a Law Department. The Mayor was given the power to appoint a new corporation counsel, subject to the approval of the City Council. John J. Speed was the first city counselor and corporation counsel, who served until June 30, 1896.