About County Counsel
The County Counsel's Office, as the County's civil attorneys, provides a full range of legal services to the Board of Supervisors, elected officials and all County departments, boards and commissions, special districts and school districts in San Mateo County. The County's mission is to provide excellent and cost-effective public service utilizing public and private means to promote a life of quality for all County residents. The County Counsel's office supports that mission and maintains the legal integrity of the County on behalf of all residents of San Mateo County.
The goals of County Counsel are to:
- Provide accurate, timely, useful and reliable legal advice protecting the County from loss and risk, and assisting our clients in making effective decisions among lawful alternatives.
- Provide exemplary litigation advocacy; defend decisions and advocate the policies of our clients to achieve the best results -- the lowest cost or loss without sacrifice of policy or principles.
- Serve the general public by specific programs that assist in the resolution of disputes.
The Office of County Counsel is located on the sixth floor of the Hall of Justice and Records at:
400 County Center,
(formerly 401 Marshall Street)
Redwood City, California, 94063.
Office hours are Monday through Friday [holidays excepted] 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
History of County Counsel
The County Counsel's Office is comprised of the County Counsel, three Chief Deputy County Counsels, 19 Deputy County Counsels, four administrative staff, and 11 support staff. Formerly, the functions of the County Counsel were performed by the District Attorney, an elected official, and the office was known as the Civil Division of the District Attorney's Office. On November 3, 1987, the voters of San Mateo County approved a Charter Amendment to separate the Civil Division from the District Attorney's Office and create the Office of the County Counsel. Thomas F. Casey III, formerly Chief Deputy District Attorney of the Civil Division, was appointed the first-ever County Counsel by the Board of Supervisors. Tom Casey served as County Counsel for more than twenty years with great distinction exemplifying the highest ideals of public service until his retirement in August 2007. In February 2007 the Board of Supervisors appointed the Assistant County Counsel, Michael P. Murphy, as County Counsel. Michael Murphy joined the County Counsel's Office in 1982 and rose to the position of Chief Deputy in 1982 and Assistant County Counsel in 2006. Michael Murphy retired in March 2011 and the Board of Supervisors appointed John C. Beiers, former Chief Deputy County Counsel, to replace Michael Murphy upon his retirement. John Beiers joined the office of County Counsel in 1995 and was appointed Chief Deputy in 2006.