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The City Attorney’s Office has more than 200 years of combined legal experience and more than 130 years combined municipal law experience. The Office has held the merit certification in Municipal Law from the Texas City Attorneys Association since 2000, and each of our attorneys has also been recommended for merit certification. Our attorneys have a balanced background of experience from both the public and private sectors.

The Office is divided into two divisions – the Transactional Division and the Litigation Division – each of which is divided into sections based on areas of practice.

  • Transactional Division
    The Transactional Division provides legal services a variety of areas including and not limited to intergovernmental relations and legislative issues, public infrastructure, real estate, ordinances, telecommunications, procurement, and public utilities. The Division drafts and reviews relevant resolutions, contracts, permits, and other legal documents, and provides legal assistance to the departmental clients, City Council, City Manager, and boards and commission. The Division provides legal opinions, legal research, and updates to all of our clients, including providing information relevant to the law as it applies to each issue. The Transactional Division works to provide accurate, cost-effective, efficient, advice, and recommendations.
  • Litigation Division
    The Litigation Division provides legal representation to the City of Denton and City employees in state and federal courts and processes and litigates claims by or against the City. The Division minimizes the financial responsibility of the City by seeking proactive effective, and beneficial resolutions in all claims and cases brought against the City. The Litigation Division specializes in dispute resolution, negotiation, and civil litigation.

Performance Metrics

 

Meet Our Team

  • Aaron Leal, City Attorney
    image of Aaron Leal city attorneyAaron Leal serves as the City Attorney. He leads and supervises attorneys and staff organized in two major functional divisions (Transactions and Litigation) created within the City Attorney’s Office to optimize effective delivery of legal services. He is responsible for management of the Office, including the selection, training, and evaluation of all staff.

    Aaron also serves as the chief legal advisor to the City Council and City Manager. He presents legal opinions to City Council, boards and commissions, and City staff related to City operations to ensure compliance with federal and state laws and regulations, as well as the City Charter and Code of Ordinances. He also negotiates and resolves legal concerns with outside private attorneys, special interest groups, customers, and the general public.

    Before being appointed to the City Attorney position, Aaron served as the City’s in-house land use attorney and was legal counsel for the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Zoning Board of Adjustments. He also served as City’s representative on two Texas Municipal League Legislative Policy Committees (Regulation of Development and General Government) for 2012-2013 and 2014-2015.  During his time as the land use attorney, he was also one of the key members involved in the continuing annexation of 18 geographical land areas comprising approximately 9,035 acres.
       
    Aaron was also one of the key members in developing the comprehensive amendments to the City’s Gas Well Drilling and Production Ordinance in 2013 and 2015 and was heavily involved in litigating a citizen-initiative Hydraulic Fracturing Ban Ordinance as against the Texas Land Government Office and the Texas Oil and Gas Association. Today, he is the lead attorney involved in resolving the day-to-day legal issues associated with natural gas drilling and production activities relative to the City’s Gas Well Drilling and Production Ordinance.

     
  • Mack Reinwand, First Assistant City Attorney
    JD, BA; Licensed in TX; IMLA Local Government Fellow Certification; TCAA Merit Certification in Municipal Law; 11 years of municipal law experience. Mack assists various departments, including Economic Development, Purchasing, and Finance.
     
  • Catherine Clifton, First Assistant City Attorney
    JD, MBA, BA; Licensed in Texas; 17 years of municipal experience. Catherine is assigned to assist the Public Works and Public Affairs divisions, and also provides counsel in employment law and other areas as needed.
  • Lawrence Collister, Deputy City Attorney
    First Assistant City Attorney Larry Collister is board certified in Commercial and Residential Real Estate by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. In his role, Larry works to provide solutions-oriented legal opinions, advice, and recommendations to City Council, Public Utility Board, and the City’s utility departments. Larry drafts and reviews the necessary documents, ordinances, resolutions, contracts, easements, and agreements to achieve the City’s goals and keep the City’s utilities operating efficiently and effectively. When necessary, he supervises the recruitment of and use of highly-specialize outside counsel, and he works with outside entities and public agencies regarding various City matters.

    Larry also helps track state and federal legislative and regulatory matters affecting the City’s utility operations, and has taken an active role in issues such as the deployment of small cell devices and management of the City’s right-of-way.

    Larry also provides additional real estate advice to various City departments, including Engineering, Capital Projects, Streets, Parks and Recreation, Development Services, Materials Management Facilities, Fire, and Finance.

     
  • Trey Lansford, Deputy City Attorney
    Deputy City Attorney Trey Lansford performs much of the real estate transactional work provided by the City Attorney’s Office. Trey assists various city departments, including DME, Engineering, Parks, and Water/Wastewater, with legal advice and recommendations regarding real estate ownership and title issues. He also drafts real estate transaction documents and associated ordinances and resolutions for City departments, and prepares eminent domain ordinances and motions.

    Trey also helps prosecute, manage, and supervise condemnation cases with outside counsel, and leads all pre-litigation condemnation work resulting in cost savings to the City, and he provides legal advice and recommendation to the DME Real Estate and CIP teams. He serves as a backup attorney for the Public Utility Commission and Planning and Zoning Commission meetings.
  • Stephanie Berry, Lead Prosecutor
    Assistant City Attorney and Lead Prosecutor Stephanie Berry serves as the municipal court prosecutor and police legal advisor. As the lead municipal court prosecutor, she prepares documents for cases filed in the municipal court, assists citizens and officers in the preparation of probable cause affidavits for Class C misdemeanors, responds and files motions, and prepares written plea offers. Stephanie also serves as the Lead Prosecutor representing the State of Texas in all dockets, excluding Community Improvement Services dockets.

    Stephanie represents the City in all dangerous dog hearings and red light appeals and assists in the preparation of probable cause affidavits and search warrants for OSSF (On-Site Sewage Facility) violation cases. She also advises the Animal Services department, and prepares ordinances for Traffic, Engineering, and Police. As the police legal advisor, she advises the department on complex legal issues, changes in law, and Constitutional issues.

     
  • Michael Cronig, Deputy City Attorney
    Michael Cronig was employed as a police officer for the Dallas Police Department from 1983-1991.Michael graduated from Temple University School of Law in Philadelphia in 1994, specializing in employment and labor law, and has been licensed as an attorney by the State Bar of Texas since November 1994. Michael was in private practice in Dallas from 1994-2000 representing police officers, firefighters, and their employee Associations in employment related matters, including Internal Affairs investigations, disciplinary appeals, and Officer-Involved Shootings. In March 2000, Michael accepted a position with the City of Austin City Attorney’s Office as the employment attorney for the Austin Police Department. During his 20-year career with Austin, Michael was the employment attorney for the Police, Fire, and EMS Departments, representing those Departments during Internal Affairs investigations, disciplinary appeals, Officer-Involved Shootings, and Meet and Confer/Collective Bargaining contract negotiations and grievances. After retiring from Austin in April 2020, Michael was hired as the City of Denton’s employment attorney responsible for employment matters, including those arising under the State Civil Service Act applicable to the Denton Police and Fire Departments.
     
  • Marcella Lunn, Deputy City Attorney
    JD (University of Houston ‘17), BA (Johns Hopkins University: English/Spanish ‘14); Licensed in TX.  Marcella is assigned to assist various departments in the city, including Purchasing, Tech Services, and Fleet Services, as well as work on special research projects, first amendment issues, and land use.  Marcella joined the City of Denton after 3 years of experience in private practice.  Her previous practice included researching and preparing motions and briefs, responding to discovery requests, as well as drafting and negotiating oil and gas contracts and easements.
  • Kendra Kennedy, Deputy City Attorney
    Deputy City Attorney Kendra Kennedy advises the City’s Facilities, Airport, Real Estate and Community Development groups.
     
    Kendra has a B.A. in Business Administration from Baylor University and a J.D. from Baylor University School of Law.  Before joining the City, she worked in the private sector for American Airlines, Electronic Data Systems Corporation, and a large law firm, where she gained experience in general corporate, transactions and real estate matters.
  • Amanda Brown, Deputy City Attorney

    Amanda Brown, Deputy City Attorney

  • Caleb Garcia, Deputy City Attorney

    Caleb Garcia, Deputy City Attorney

 

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215 E. McKinney St. Denton, TX 76201
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(940) 349-8333