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L.A. County is close to hiring a new chief lawyer

December 10, 2009 |  7:47 pm

Andrea Sheridan Ordin, a former federal, state and local prosecutor, appears poised to become Los Angeles County's top lawyer.

The county Board of Supervisors plans to vote on the appointment at its meeting Tuesday, and a majority of supervisors indicated today that they would approve it.

Ordin, currently in private practice, is vice president of the Los Angeles Police Commission and was a member of the Christopher Commission, the independent body that recommended police reforms after the 1991 beating of Rodney King and the subsequent riots.

If appointed, Ordin would oversee a staff of more than 250 lawyers who provide counsel to the supervisors and county departments.

Supervisor Gloria Molina said she had been encouraged by the nationwide search that resulted in Ordin’s nomination, and holds out hope that Ordin might reduce legal expenses.

“I do think that everyone here believes we need a greater eye on all the expenditures that are made," Molina said. "Every dollar that we spend on liability and lawsuits is one that is not spent on services to the community.”

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who also indicated that he would vote in favor of the appointment, said, “I think she’ll tackle the job with skill, integrity and decisiveness.”

Supervisor Mike Antonovich said in a statement: "Andrea's public and private experience and leadership brings vision and knowledge to the county counsel's office.  I look forward to working with her."

Ordin beat the county’s internal candidate, Deputy County Counsel Leela Kapur, for the job.

Robert Kalunian had been acting county counsel since the retirement earlier this year of Raymond G. Fortner. Kalunian, 61, left his position as Los Angeles County’s chief deputy public defender to temporarily take on the county counsel duties.

—Garrett Therolf at the L.A. County Hall of Administration