The Law Department is headed by the Corporation Counsel, Melvin Butch Hollowell, who was appointed by the Mayor Mike Duggan, and confirmed by the City Council in January, 2014. The Law Department is comprised of seven divisions: Administration, FOIA, Governmental Affairs, Litigation, Labor/Employment & Workers Compensation, Transaction & Economic Development, Criminal Enforcement and Quality of Life. Each division, with the exception of the Administration Division, is responsible for a discrete area of the law and is made up of several sections.
The Law Department is required by Charter to represent the City of Detroit in all civil actions or proceedings filed against the city. The Corporation Counsel may also prosecute any action or proceeding in which the city has a legal interest when directed to do so by the Mayor. The Corporation Counsel is the City’s Prosecutor and shall institute, on behalf of the people, cases arising from the provisions of the Charter or City ordinances, and prosecute all actions for the recovery of fines, penalties and forfeitures.
The Law Department is responsible for providing advice and opinions to the Mayor, City Council, and all city agencies. The Law Department is also accountable for approving all contracts, bonds, and written instruments. Upon the request of the Mayor or any member of City Council, the Law Department drafts any ordinance or resolution for introduction before City Council.