History of the Office of County Counsel

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History of the Office of County Counsel


The Office of the Los Angeles County Counsel was established pursuant to the County Charter and State Constitution in 1913. The County Counsel is an appointed County officer whose duties include providing legal advice and representation to the Board of Supervisors, County officers, County departments and various other public agencies in civil matters.

 

Los Angeles County is the most populous county in the nation with a population exceeded by only seven states. As the population of the County has grown and as the scope of County government has expanded over the years, the Office of County Counsel has kept pace - growing from a staff of 38 attorneys in 1963 to approximately 277 attorneys and a support staff of approximately 275 today.

 

Since the inception of the Office in 1913, there have been fourteen County Counsels:

 

County Counsel Years of Term
Mary C. Wickham July 2015 - Present
Mark J. Saladino November 2014-July 2015
John F. Krattli 2012-2014
Andrea Ordin 2010-2012
Robert Kalunian (acting) 2009-2010
Raymond G. Fortner, Jr. 2004-2009
Lloyd W. Pellman 1998-2004
DeWitt W. Clinton 1983-1998
John H. Larson 1973-1983
John D. Maharg 1967-1973
Harold W. Kennedy 1945-1967
J.H. O'Connor 1938-1945
Everett W. Mattoon 1926-1938
Edward T. Bishop 1923-1926
A.J. Hill 1913-1923

 

The Office has consistently enjoyed the reputation of being one of the finest public law offices in the country. Its alumni include judges, legal scholars and authors, as well as business and political leaders. Office alumni include former California Governor, Attorney General and Assemblyman George Deukmejian, retired Signal Oil President and Chairman Forrest N. Shumway, former U.S. Secretary of the Army and State Assemblyman Louis Caldera, former Fair Political Practices Commission Chairman John H. Larson, and Professor Arvo Van Alstyne, the principal author of the California Government Tort Claims Act.