New York State County Law
In 1950, the New York State Legislature added Article 11 to the County Law of the State of New York. Article 11 outlines the term, duties, and responsibilities of both a County Attorney and an Assistant or Deputy County Attorney.
Article 11, § 501 of the County Law outlines the role of a County Attorney in New York State. The statute states that “the county attorney shall be the legal advisor to the board of supervisors and every officer whose funds are paid from county funds in all matters involving a civil nature”.
County Attorneys are required to undertake myriad assignments from their governing boards. Typical obligations include the preparation of local laws and resolutions; provision of legal advice to all County officials and employees on varied municipal concerns; issuance of formal legal opinions; legal representation in all civil actions and proceedings brought by or against the County, its officials and employees, in both State and Federal court as well as before administrative agencies; act as the presentment agency in juvenile delinquency and persons in need of supervision proceedings ; provide legal advice and legal representation in employee discipline and grievance proceedings and arbitration hearings; provide legal oversight of the Real Property Tax Foreclosure process; review and preparation of contracts; provide oversight and review of bid documents for county public works projects; provide representation with regard to insurance protections and, in many cases, supervise and direct the self-insurance fund of their County.
County Attorneys’ Association of the State of New York
Since the creation of the role of the County Attorney by the State Legislature, each Office of the County Attorney has had to adapt to meet the changing demands of individual counties. To assist County Attorneys and to establish a resource for professional development, in 1953, County Attorneys gathered their resources to provide a united voice and a resource for the members. In 1981, County Attorneys agreed to formalize their collaboration through the creation of the County Attorneys’ Association of the State of New York (CAASNY). Within the By-laws of the organization, CAASNY’s stated purposes include the following: to promote more efficient county and city government; to cultivate the science of jurisprudence; to advance closer personal and professional relationships among county and New York City Corporation Counsel attorneys in the State of New York; to encourage and promote the exchange of information and views in respect to the conduct of the various county attorney’s offices throughout the State and the Corporation Counsel’s Office; to analyze proposed and enacted legislation and regulations at the State and Federal levels affecting counties within the State of New York and the City of New York, and to present legal ideas and opinions to State and Federal legislators, representatives and officials with respect to such legislation and regulations; and to serve the public of this State.
Today, CAASNY proudly serves the interests of County Attorneys in all 62 counties of the State of New York as well the interests of the New York City Corporate Counsel.