The Office of Attorney and Solicitor was established by ordinance passed on June 18, 1827. The Office of City Attorney was abolished by ordinance passed April 29, 1846. The ordinance passed March 30, 1881 established the Office of Corporation Counsel and Office of City Solicitor. Known as the Law Department, it was jointly under the charge of the Corporation Counsel and City Solicitor. The Office of City Solicitor was abolished and the department placed under sole charge of the Corporation Counsel by ordinance which went into effect on July 1, 1904.
The Corporation Counsel has supervisory authority over all City attorneys and legal affairs. The Law Department has general charge of all the City’s legal affairs, and represents the City of Boston and the County of Suffolk in all litigation to which they are a party. The Department provides a comprehensive array of legal services: formal and informal opinions to the Mayor, the City Council, the Boston School Committee, and City or County Officials and other employees in matters relating to the discharge of their official duties; and representation for these individuals and entities in litigation of all types. Additionally, the Law Department reviews all City and County contracts, pursues claims on behalf of the City through affirmative litigation, initiates foreclosure proceedings on tax delinquent properties, and conducts a program which provides technical assistance to citizens and others with problems concerning immigration, residency status and naturalization.