Dana named president of IMLA

Providence City Solicitor Jeffrey Dana will soon become president of the International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA), the leading nonprofit professional organization for local government attorneys.

Dana, who has been the city’s top lawyer for more than nine years and has served on IMLA’s executive committee for several years, will officially become the president of the nonpartisan organization in September.

”Our mission is to serve local government lawyers and to advance the interests of local government law locally, nationally, and internationally,” IMLA states on its website. The organization was founded in 1935, and now has more than 2,500 members.

This is a big deal for Dana, and the city’s law department. IMLA is lawyers’ equivalent to the National Governors Association or the US Conference of Mayors, and no solicitor from Rhode Island has ever been elected its president. He is succeeding Rose Humway-Warmuth, who oversees the Wheeling, West Virginia, legal department.

IMLA is a major resource for municipal legal departments all over the US because, as you might imagine, cities and towns all over the country tend to have a lot of the same legal challenges. When a community has a tense labor battle (like Providence did with its firefighters early in Dana’s tenure) or they’re trying to come up with creative ways to take on illegal ATV use, they can work with IMLA to learn how other municipalities have handled the situation. 

The group is especially helpful when it comes to large-scale lawsuits that involve many municipalities, like taking on the opioid companies or suing the Department of Justice when the Trump administration tried to block police departments from receiving federal funds based on their city’s policies for people in the country illegally.

It’s too soon to say, but Dana’s election could also provide a minor economic boost for the city. If IMLA decides to host one of its big conferences in Providence, the city solicitor pub crawl in downtown will be a sight to see.

This story first appeared in Rhode Map, our free newsletter about Rhode Island that also contains information about local events, links to interesting stories, and more. If you’d like to receive it via e-mail Monday through Friday, you can sign up here.

Dan McGowan can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him @danmcgowan.

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