Media Center

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen Issues Formal Opinion Concerning the Authority of County Boards to Contract for the Services of a Private Attorney in Civil Matters


MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen today issued a formal opinion to Brown County Corporation Counsel Juliana M. Ruenzel concerning the authority of county boards in counties that have a county executive to contract for the services of a private attorney in civil matters.  Van Hollen concluded that section 59.42(3) of the Wisconsin Statutes authorizes county boards to authorize and approve contracts for the services of an attorney who acts independently of the corporation counsel.  Van Hollen also determined that the county board establishes the parameters of such contracts and that the county executive negotiates and administers such contracts and supervises attorneys retained under such contracts.


A copy of the Attorney General's opinion is available at the following link:



A copy of the opinion request is available at the following link:



Formal and informal opinions issued by Attorney General Van Hollen are available at:

Attorney General Opinions