A new face will be helping the City of Brazil with its legal matters.
On Tuesday, Mayor Ann Bradshaw introduced Traci Lawson as the city's incoming attorney. Lawson, a Brazil resident, currently works as a firm member at Cox, Zwerner, Gambill and Sullivan, LLP, Terre Haute.
The need for a new attorney arose when Bob Pell, who has been in the position since Oct. 15, 2007, told Bradshaw he would be stepping away from the job.
"I want to concentrate more on my private practice," Pell said.
With a vacancy opening up, Bradshaw composed a short list of candidates, which included Lawson.
"I touched base with two potential candidates for the job," Bradshaw told The Brazil Times. "(Traci's) law firm has experience in working with smaller towns and I thought she would be a good choice for the city."
Lawson added, "Our firm currently is represented as the city attorney in Montezuma and Dana, Ind. When Ann told be about the position becoming available, I thought it would be a great opportunity to help out the city where I was born, raised and live."
Pell met with Lawson Tuesday to go over some of the current legal matters the city is involved in to smooth the transition.
"There are a lot of things going on, but only a few of them could be considered pressing when looking at court aspect," Pell said. "But, it should be an easy change with Traci coming in, as she and her firm are a great resource of experience."
Bradshaw admitted a big selling point was the familiarity she, along with the Common Council of the City of Brazil, has with Lawson.
"She's been to numerous meetings, particularly those regarding tax abatement requests," she said.
Lawson added once she officially becomes city attorney, her responsibilities with tax abatements would be transferred over to another representative of her law firm.
After spending nearly three-and-a-half years in the position, Pell admits he is glad to see the city heading in the right direction.
"The city and the council should be proud of the things they have tackled, many of which need to be done for a long time, especially getting the construction of a new water tower in the works," he said. "I really enjoyed working for the city and Ann has been a great boss."
Bradshaw added, "It has been a pleasure working with Bob, and I thank him for his service, but I am also looking forward to working with Traci."
An official date for Lawson to take over the position of city attorney has not been set, but both she and Pell said it should be before the next meeting of the council on Wednesday, Feb. 9.
Meet Traci Lawson
* Graduated from Indiana University, in 1997, with a B.S. in Biochemistry, achieving magna cum laude with special honors in Chemistry,
* Graduated from law school (Juris Doctor degree) at UCLA in 2000, the same year she was admitted to the State Bar of California,
* Admitted to the Indiana Bar Association in 2006,
* Also licensed to practice before the U.S. District Court Northern, Southern, Eastern and Central Districts of California, along with the Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana, Ninth and Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals,
* Has worked with the Clay County Redevelopment Commission on tax abatements to attract business to Brazil and Clay County, and
* Currently resides in Brazil with her 4-year-old son, Jonas.