Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1997 NO. 7 >

1.Under RCW 35A.12.020, a mayor-council city operation under the optional municipal code may, by charter provision or ordinance, opt either to appoint a city attorney or to procure legal services by contract.2.Where a code city has determined to obtain legal services by contract, the contract for professional services may specify the term of the contract and may define who will have authority to amend or terminate the agreement, provided that the contract is consistent with any charter provisions or ordinances on the subject.3.A city council, in entering into a contract with a law firm to provide legal services for the city, may not require that the city council exclusively direct how legal services will be provided; the mayor and other administrative city offices are entitled to obtain legal services as needed for the performances of their duties.