The Transition with Courtney Lords, Office of Multnomah County Attorney

Courtney has taken the leap back to the public sector after spending several years at Beery Elsner. Her individual practice areas at Beery Elsner were municipal law and governance and urban renewal and economic development. We caught up with Courtney to discuss her job transition, her career accomplishments, and of course, her best lawyer joke.

The Transition with Courtney Lords

Attorney, Office of Multnomah County Attorney

Background Check on Courtney

Courtney Lords is an attorney in the Office of the Multnomah County Attorney. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Courtney was a Senior Financial Analyst for the City of Portland and Budget & Policy Analyst for Murray City, Utah. Courtney obtained her bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Utah. Following her years working in local government, Courtney obtained her law degree from the University of Oregon. Her municipal finance background has resulted in her focus on urban renewal and economic development matters and the general practice of municipal law.

Three accomplishments you are most proud of from your work at Beery Elsner.

  1. Helped a city avoid being sued by a faulty contractor who claimed that the city owed him money, including interest payments, on a construction contract that the contractor failed to complete.

  2. Assisted a city in reviewing and revising its charter.

  3. Helped several cities with amending their urban renewal plans and increasing their allowed maximum indebtedness threshold.

Three accomplishments you hope to achieve while working in Multnomah County.

I have only been there one week so this is a bit harder to answer in terms of three specific matters/issues.

Generally, I would say I hope to help protect the County from legal liability in the areas of foreclosed properties, transportation and construction projects. I also hope to become knowledgeable in land use and assist the County with issues in this area.

Give us your best lawyer joke.

The only jokes I can remember are not appropriate for this forum, sorry! You might want to leave this question out.

Editor’s Note: No response equals editor’s choice.

Question: Why did God invent lawyers?

Answer: So that real estate agents would have someone to look down on.

Name a few of a “hot” local government legal issues.

  • Increasing costs of employee health care and benefits
  • Unfunded infrastructure needs

What’s your ideal Sunday morning?

A good run with my dogs followed by coffee with my husband (and perhaps a mimosa).

in-house-outsource-300x423Should cities have an in-house or out-of-house attorney? What are the criteria we should consider in making the decision?

Financially I think it makes the most sense for smaller cities to have out-of-house attorneys, as opposed to in-house counsel. Only a few jurisdictions in Oregon are large enough to have a team of in-house counsel. In my opinion, the issues facing local governments are becoming more complex, therefore, a “team” of attorneys will be better able to handle big and/or complex issues because they draw from a wide array of experience, expertise and perspectives.

Who are your mentors?

Several attorneys I have worked with that truly understand the issues facing local governments, and how best to handle such challenges from a legal (not necessarily policy) perspective.

If we need legal help in five years or so, where will we able to find you?

Hopefully at Multnomah County!

(Complete the sentence) Before I die I want to …..

Know I’ve made the world a better place for dogs!

Give us your ultimate mix tape.

  • Mr. Brownstone, GNR
  • One Particular Harbor, Jimmy Buffet
  • Bittersweet, Big Head Todd and the Monsters
  • Black, Pearl Jam
  • Brown Eyed Girl, Van Morrison
  • Dying to Live, Johhny Lang
  • Hells Bells, ACDC
  • Lucky Star, Madonna

Related Links

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2011-2012 Multnomah County Annual Litigation Report

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