Representing cities and townships is both challenging and rewarding. When you think of the hundreds of services a community provides to its citizens, the range of subjects requiring legal knowledge is staggering (land use, public safety, utilities, finance, labor, prosecutions, special litigation, etc.). That knowledge only comes from years of experience, in our case more than 30 years of working with municipalities big and small. But having that substantive knowledge is only a part of what’s needed to effectively represent a community. You have to get to know the individual character of the community, the makeup of its residents, financial challenges, the issues of greatest importance and even working knowledge of the local political scene.
Once you have that legal knowledge and sense of the local community, then you need to blend in those people skills critical to effective representation. This entails knowing how to work with elected and appointed officials, boards, commissions, and individual citizens who bring their concerns to the city council or township board meetings, how to gain their trust and their respect, and how to develop that fine objective balance between competing interests and calling it like you see it.
In providing legal counsel to communities, we never lose sight of the goal, namely to help a community become a better place to live, work, and raise a family.
Mr. McCauley specializes in governmental law, having represented numerous counties, cities, townships, and various municipal authorities and alliances for more than 30 years. He also has represented business clients and individuals in complex commercial litigation and arbitrations, obtaining several multimillion-dollar settlements, verdicts, and judgments.
Areas of Practice
- Municipal experience in areas of environmental compliance, telecommunications, construction, water/sewer, zoning, intermunicipal agreements, land use planning, utilities, general contract negotiation/ordinance drafting and special litigation
Examples of Mr. McCauley’s expertise in municipal law include the following:
Land Use Planning
Represented communities in all stages of development, from those completely built out to others in transition from rural to new phases of commercial and residential growth. In doing so, we have maintained the integrity of master plans, developed novel ordinance approaches to encourage responsible smart growth that have withstood litigation challenges, negotiated creative agreements, PRDs, and site plan amendments with developers to protect the community, and solved problems related to unfinished residential projects resulting from the downturn in the economy.
Water and Wastewater Utilities
Created and represented multi-community alliances and authorities in negotiations and litigation with state regulatory agencies concerning Federal Clean Water Act issues. These activities have included permit and administrative consent order negotiations, litigating constitutional challenges to state regulatory schemes, and implementing and negotiating federal court consent decrees, construction contracts, insurance coverages, and provider service agreements. We are experienced in drafting elements of watershed management plans, cost allocation formulas, and corrective action plans.
As general corporation counsel for cities and townships, we have provided the full range of legal representation, including contract negotiations with vendors of products and services necessary for a community’s operation, including construction projects, equipment acquisition, inter-governmental agreements, Internet technology and communications, landfill host community agreements, tax abatements, employment contracts, and arbitrations arising out of labor contracts. In addition, we are regularly called upon to provide advice and guidance on Freedom of Information and Open Meetings Act issues.
- Recipient of Oakland County Bar Association Distinguished Service Award
- Authored numerous articles on federal/state cable television legislation and co-authored multivolume civil trial practice guide
- Litigated cases and appeals of first impression involving cable television, antitrust, employee benefits, fair housing, First Amendment, attorney duties, and scope of chiropractic practice
- Negotiated numerous contracts related to concert and theater venues and for entertainment media personalities in areas of employment, endorsement, and recording for television, radio, and music businesses
- Super Lawyers designation in practice area of government/cities/municipalities, 2007-2012
- DBusiness Top Lawyers/Detroit-Government, 2010
- Past president and current trustee of Oakland County Bar Foundation
- Past director, State Bar of Michigan Arts, Communication, Entertainment and Sports Section
- Fellow, Michigan State Bar Foundation and Oakland County Bar Foundation
- Complex dispute arbitrator, American Arbitration Association
- American Bar Association, State and Local Government Law Section
- Michigan Bar Association, Public Corporation and Environmental Law Section
- Oakland County Bar Association
- Chairperson of legal committee for 13 downriver communities in Clean Water Act Litigation, federal court-appointed liaison counsel and legal adviser to multi-community municipal utility authorities and watershed alliances
- Clerk, Michigan Supreme Court with Justice G. Mennen Williams
Michigan State University, B.A. (with distinction), 1969
University of Michigan Law School, J.D., 1972