About and Contact Law Department
The Law Department provides legal services to the Mayor, the City Council, the City Manager, boards, commissions and all of the departments of the City of Kansas City, Missouri. The City Attorney, Cecilia Abbott, is appointed by the City Manager to manage the legal affairs of the City. Under the direction of the City Attorney, the Law Department defends lawsuits against the City, prepares ordinances, contracts and other legal agreements for the City, provides legal advice on a multitude of issues, and prosecutes municipal ordinance violations. The Law Department operates through three general divisions: Corporate Legal Services; Litigation; and the City Prosecutor’s Office.
Corporate Legal Services
The Corporate Legal Services Division attorneys provide advice to every department of the City on legal issues raised during daily operations or special projects. Non-litigation matters are the general responsibility of the Corporate Legal Services Division. Ordinances, contracts, and any other agreements to which the City may be a party will be drafted by these attorneys. They handle administrative hearings and court appeals arising from those administrative hearings. Corporate attorneys cover a wide variety of legal practice areas including:
- Real Estate
- Election Issues
- Regulated Industries
- Land Use
- Civil Rights
- Municipal Finance
Additionally, one unit within the Corporate Legal Services Division focuses on neighborhood legal issues. These attorneys provide legal advice on eliminating nuisance or blighted properties, working with HUD on affordable housing developments, and identifying houses for receivership.
The Litigation Division represents the City, its officials and its employees in lawsuits in which the City is a party. Litigation Division attorneys regularly appear in state and federal trial courts as well as appellate courts. General litigators handle a broad range of lawsuits, including: employment, contract disputes, personal injury, property damage and civil rights.
In addition to General Litigation, the three other units in the Litigation Division are: Collections Unit, Worker’s Compensation Unit, and Claims Unit.
The Collections Unit is dedicated to pursuing monies owed to the City. These monies derive from two main sources:
- Past due City taxes
- Past due water services bills
The Collections Unit is comprised of four attorneys and eight paralegals.
Workers’ Compensation Unit
The Workers’ Compensation Unit is responsible for defending the City and the Kansas City Police Department in all injury claims filed by employees before the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation. This unit is also charged with the responsibility of advising the Mayor, City Council and all City departments regarding the applicability and interpretation of the provisions of the workers’ compensation statute. (Chapter 287, RSMo.)
The Claims Unit handles claims asserted against the City for personal injury and property damage. The staff investigates the claims, determines if the City is liable under applicable law and negotiates claims when the City is deemed liable.
City Prosecutor’s Office
All City ordinance violations are prosecuted by the City Prosecutor’s Office. The prosecutors investigate and prosecute thousands of municipal ordinance violations each year. The City Prosecutor’s Office also handles all municipal court appeals, trains city employees who appear regularly in municipal court, and suggests changes to ordinances that are frequently prosecuted in municipal court.
There are two specialized units within the City Prosecutor’s Office: Domestic Violence Prosecution and Neighborhood Prosecution (East Zone).
The Office of the City Attorney provides legal services to the Mayor, the City Council, City Manager, boards, commissions, and all other departments of the City. Interns may be placed in one of three general divisions to assist attorneys with cases, projects and other legal matters. Intern positions are available for spring, summer and fall semesters. Interns with Rule 13 Certification also have the opportunity to handle Municipal Court trials for the Prosecutor's Office.
Educational preference: completion of at least one year of law school; will also consider undergraduate students with interest in legal field.
Skill preferences: at least one year of legal research and writing experiences; will also consider undergraduate candidates with varied skills and experiences.
Interns have come from law schools all over the country. Several of them have been hired as full-time attorneys.
If interested in applying, please contact the Law Department.
Contact the Law Department by phone – (816) 513-3142 – or by email. The address is City Hall, 23rd Floor, 414 E. 12th St., Kansas City, MO 64106.