About the Office of General Counsel

The Counsel's Office of the New York Department of State performs a number of valuable services for local government officials and other citizens interested in municipal affairs. In addition to providing the legal support to the New York Secretary of State, the Counsel's Office has maintained a long tradition of providing direct legal assistance to municipal officials in the form of opinion letters, informal telephone advice and information, on-site seminars and workshops, and publications in various fields of municipal law. The Office also offers guidance to individual municipalities in such areas as the revision of charters, intermunicipal cooperative agreements, plans for consolidation or dissolution, and in the review of proposed comprehensive plans, zoning regulations, and other types of local laws and ordinances.

The Office of Counsel provides legal advice and services pertaining to all operations and management of the New York Department of State. It reviews all corporate and commercial filings, prepares all New York Department of State legislation and legislation comments, delivers educational services and informal opinions on local government and land use matters, conducts Uniform Fire and Building Code Review Board proceedings, administers contracts to provide goods and services pursuant to the federal antipoverty programs, and assists the Attorney General in conducting litigation involving the New York Department of State.

The Local Government Division's website page contains a schedule of upcoming New York Department of State seminars and workshops for local officials. The DOS Counsel's Office supplies instructors for the legal aspects of the seminar and workshop sessions, and participates in the drafting of local government publications. The Local Government Division’s site also contains reprints of these publications.

The Office of Counsel additionally represents the Division of Licensing Services in all hearings involving the discipline of licensees of the New York Department of State and appeals of denials of licenses. Businesses licensed by the New York Department of State include real estate brokers, security guards, and appearance enhancement specialties.