Leroy Smith
Of Counsel

Leroy Smith served as the appointed County Counsel for the County of Ventura from July 2010 until his retirement from County service in October 2020.  As County Counsel, Mr. Smith was the chief civil law officer of the county and provided legal advice and representation to the Board of Supervisors, all county officers and departments, and to related special districts and agencies.  He managed the work of 25 full-time attorneys and an office budget of 6 million dollars, and personally acted as general counsel at the public meetings of the Board of Supervisors and to the Ventura County Civil Grand Jury.

From 2004 to 2010, Mr. Smith was Chief Assistant County Counsel, and was responsible for all non-litigation activities of the office under the general direction of the county counsel.  During that time frame, Mr. Smith personally acted as the general counsel for the Ventura County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO).  From 2001 to 2004, Mr. Smith was Litigation Supervisor for the Office of County Counsel, and responsible for managing all litigation for and against the County of Ventura and related entities. From 1989 to 2001, Mr. Smith worked as an assistant County Counsel primarily responsible for providing legal advice and litigation representation in employment and labor law matters affecting the County and related entities.

Prior to joining the Ventura County Counsel’s Office, Mr. Smith worked for 5 years for the United States Department of Labor in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, including as a trial attorney enforcing federal labor law statutes on behalf of the Department of Labor.  He also worked for three years as an associate attorney for a Century City law firm representing major corporate clients in wrongful termination cases and other employment-related matters. He is admitted to practice before all California courts and the United States District Courts for the Central, Southern, Northern and Eastern Districts of California.

Legal Experience

Mr. Smith has deep experience providing legal opinions and advice to public entities and their governing bodies, including compliance with all relevant procedural laws such as the Brown Act, the Public Records Act, the Political Reform Act; the Government Claims Act and the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act.  He has substantial experience and expertise in drafting and reviewing contracts, resolutions, ordinances and similar documents.

As to substantive legal issues, Mr. Smith has experience and expertise providing advice and/or litigation services on virtually every issue that might confront municipalities and other local public agencies, including land use (CEQA issues), local coastal plans, coastal zoning ordinances, non-coastal zoning ordinances, affordable housing, harbor and airport regulations, regulations of short-term vacation rentals, legalization of cannabis and hemp cultivation and sales, agricultural commissioner regulations, public works projects, prevailing wage laws, environmental health and solid waste regulations, air pollution control board procedures and permitting, water and sanitation districts, groundwater management agencies, tax agreements, annexations to and reorganizations of local agencies, property tax assessments and assessment appeals, health care and hospital operations, emergency services, public health orders, code enforcement, election laws and initiative proceedings, fire protection, oil and gas regulations, public conservatorships and mental health, law enforcement and civil rights claims, public employee pensions, union recognition disputes and collective bargaining, employee discipline processes, discrimination and harassment claims, fire protection and juvenile dependency disputes.

Professional Organizations

  • Mr. Smith served on the Board of Directors for California County Counsel’s Association from 2014 to  2018 and was President of the Association in 2018. 
  • Mr. Smith also served on the Board of Trustees for the Ventura County Law Library from 2010 to 2020.

Education

Mr. Smith graduated from the College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, MA) in 1977 with a B.A. in Economics.  He graduated from the University of San Diego School of Law 1982, cum laude, where he received American Jurisprudence Awards (top grade in the class) for Corporations and Trusts & Estates.