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Scappoose accepts contract with legal firm

Barran Liebman LLP will handle the city's employment-related legal matters


by: SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: ROBIN JOHNSON - Barram Liebman LLP partner Todd Lyon (speaking) and associate Kyle Abraham explain the firm's approach to new clients at a City Council meeting March 17.The Scappoose City Council on Monday, March 17, voted unanimously to enter into a contract with a Portland-based legal firm that will service the city’s employment-related legal matters.

The council chose Barran Liebman LLP at the recommendation of a committee made up of Scappoose City Councilor Barbara Hayden, Council President Larry Meres and interim City Manager Don Otterman.

The Scappoose City Council briefly terminated a contract with its legal counsel, Jordan Ramis PC, Jan. 2, providing no reason for its action. The council then reversed that decision Jan. 6, opting to retain Jordan Ramis for municipal legal counsel, but bring on a second firm to handle employment-related issues within the city.

Otterman said the city will pay Barran Liebman for legal services on a case-by-case basis.

The rate for Barran Liebman services will run the city $285 an hour for a primary attorney, $260 an hour for a junior attorney and $90 an hour for general legal support. Barran Liebman will provide the city with an estimate of hours and costs for identifiable phases of any claim prior to servicing the city, according to the contract.

Hayden said the fees for Barran Leibman were low in comparison to other proposals the city received.

Representatives from Barran Leibman told the City Council Monday the firm offers training as it relates to labor and employment options, as well as educational training with management teams to make sure all department heads and employees are familiar with current employment laws.

Todd Lyon, a partner with the firm, said he will likely do an audit of the city’s human resources policies and procedures to “look at what might be needed as potential clams go forward.”