City Attorney Bill McClure is Menlo Park through and through, thanks to living most of his life here

by Linda Hubbard on July 15, 2016

You can’t be much more “Menlo Park” than city attorney Bill McClure. He grew up on San Mateo Drive, attending Oak Knoll (when it was a K-8) and then Menlo-Atherton High School. And he’s spent his entire career at Menlo Park’s law firm, Jorgenson, Siegel, McClure & Flegel.

“I’m the fifth city attorney in the history of Menlo Park,” he said. “Jim O’Keefe, Sr., who wrote the city’s incorporation papers in 1927, was the first, followed by his son Jim, Jr. Next was Jack Jorgenson (1960-1985), followed by Jack Cosgrove (1985-1993). I assumed the position in March, 1993.”

While Bill continues his personal practice of real estate, land use and small business law, we were at his office to talk about what a city attorney does.

“The analogy I use is general counsel for a corporation,” he explained. “I oversee and manage all of the legal affairs of the city. I attend all the City Council meetings and am involved in contracts and resolutions as well as overseeing litigation.

“There’s an average of 10 claims a year against the City, and two to three end up as lawsuits. One aspect is managing claims to keep the costs down.

“I bill the City at a significantly discounted hourly rate. I do so for the public good. It’s the community I grew up in, the community I work in, the community I raised my family in.”

Over the years, Bill has learned that Menlo Park residents and businesses are passionate about the issues affecting the City. “They get involved because they care,” he said. “I’ve learned to not take it personally when they disagree with my advice. I also don’t have to be right all the time!”

What, we asked, is the most contentious issue the City has faced during his tenure. Bill’s reply was swift — “leaf blowers.”

Photo by Irene Searles (c) 2016


Sally May 01, 2017 at 8:54 pm

When I look at this picture, I see my life passing before my eyes.
Your Dad was my first boss, so many years ago…1960ish…can’t even count so far back.
I hope you and your family are doing well. I know we have sons
of similar age. Mine (almost 37 and a pilot for Southwest) is fine and I hope the same for you. I think Chris is your wife’s name.
I am now too old to mention the enormous amount of my age. I live at The Sequoias in Portola Valley. When I arrived here your Aunt, Marylou, was here. Now she’s in Heaven. Jack Jorgenson lives nearby, but ok.
Just wanting to say Hello. Sally

Eileen Brewer September 08, 2018 at 3:27 pm

Congratulations Bill! Well deserved! Thank you for being a reliable and generous member of the community!

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