Answering inquiries on a variety of legal topics is one of the longest-running services of the League. The inquiry service is available to both elected and appointed officials from any NCLM member municipality subject to the following caveats:
- League attorneys do not directly represent the municipality and our guidance should not be considered a substitute for that of the local city or town attorney. Cases may hinge on complex local facts or documents and only the local legal counsel is in a position to provide an informed interpretation. In addition, some areas of the law are more unsettled than others and are open to varying legal interpretations. The local attorney will be the one defending the municipality's position if challenged.
- League attorneys will assist based on our familiarity with many areas of municipal law, but we do not hold ourselves out as experts in all substantive areas. Where appropriate, we will refer you to another agency, organization or resource.
- While many questions are routine, others may require considerable research and will be undertaken as resources allow.
- We cannot advise an individual municipal official or employee whose interests may be adverse to those of the municipality because of the potential for a conflict of interest.
- Note to citizens: We cannot provide legal advice or any form of representation to private citizens. The North Carolina League of Municipalities is a membership organization of more than 500 cities, towns and villages, and League attorneys are regularly called upon to answer legal inquiries and provide advice to our members and their attorneys. We must respectfully decline to assist you as a private citizen because that would be a conflict of interest and a violation of our ethical rules.
Under the amicus curiae program, League attorneys write "friend of the court" briefs in certain appellate cases that have statewide implications for local governments. League participation requires approval of the League Board of Directors under the adopted amicus policy. For a form to request amicus participation, click here.
Model and Sample Ordinances/Forms
League attorneys periodically prepare model ordinances and forms for the membership and can provide sample ordinances from other jurisdictions.
Handbooks and Manuals
League attorneys prepare handbooks with forms for assisting members in some of the more procedurally detailed areas, such as Mechanics of Annexation and Procedures and Forms for Special Assessments. They also draft manuals with legal and practical content to assist municipal staff, such as the Reference Guide for Municipal Clerks. These publications can be ordered here.
League attorneys periodically prepare legal memoranda on issues affecting municipalities as well as memoranda on recently enacted legislation that may impact municipal operations or procedures. League members may access memoranda on a variety of topics here.
Municipal Law Notes
A monthly publication with summaries of the latest appellate cases of interest to municipal attorneys and officials. League members may access Municipal Law Notes here.
Digests of Municipal Law
An annual publication in two parts. Part I: Case Law is a compendium of the preceding 12 months of appellate cases of interest to municipal attorneys and officials. Part II: Legislation contains summaries of legislation affecting municipalities enacted by the North Carolina General Assembly during its most recent session.
League attorneys make educational presentations on legal topics to the membership (e.g. Essentials of Municipal Government), affiliate organizations and others.
League attorneys offer a charter revision and consolidation service on a contract basis, with the fee based on population. The service includes the assembling of all local acts applicable to the municipality into one document; analyzing the acts for consistency with current state laws, the state and federal constitutions and recent decisions of the state and federal courts; recommending the repeal of existing acts or portions of acts that are obsolete or superseded by general law; and rewriting and editing sections that need clarification. The final product is a draft bill for presentation to the municipality's legislative delegation. Please contact the General Counsel at 919-715-3936 or by email for more information.
Lawsuits and Claims
If a claim has been filed against your municipality and your municipality is insured through the League’s liability program, please contact staff in Risk Management Services [1-800-228-0986] to report the claim and seek information regarding a defense under your policy.