City's newest staff attorney says he likes what he sees

Robert Rottach began his new job 

in September 
Robert Rottach can see much of downtown Jackson from his 12th floor office in the city attorney’s office.
Growing up in metro Detroit, he never knew much of Jackson beyond seeing it on a sign off I-94 en route to Chicago.
But since he began his new job two months ago, the city’s 29-year-old staff attorney has been learning a lot about the community. 
And he likes what he sees.
“There are a lot of really nice parks in the area,” he said. “I really think the downtown has a lot of potential.”
While sitting in his office talking to a reporter recently, Rottach named some of his favorite new hangouts, including the Grand River Marketplace restaurant, the Night Light restaurant, Chase Sports Bar, and Veach’s Office Bar.
Rottach, who lives in Blackman Township, said downtown has a lot of potential, with some company headquarters clustered nearby.
“Younger professionals are looking for shopping and social opportunities,” Rottach said. “The downtown is really going to surprise people in the next few years. There will be plenty to do for young professionals.”
Rottach said his new job offers a lot of diverse opportunities for a lawyer. He advises the city building board and drafts ordinances, helps supervise and monitors outside counsel the city works. His job can require him to research a law and come up with a recommendation within only a few hours. 
“It’s something new every hour, every day,” Rottach said. “It never gets dull.”
One of these duties so far was speaking in Lansing before a House of Representatives’ committee on how cities around the state are dealing with blight.
More recently, he worked on a property transfer from the owner to the city of Jackson so the city could demolish the property at its own expense rather than force the homeowner to pay for it.
Rottach graduated from the University of Detroit Jesuit high school in 2002 and then went to Michigan State University and graduated in 2006 with a business administration degree.
He decided a career as an attorney seem “interesting” so he attended the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law.
While in law school, Rottach became a law clerk for the city of Detroit for nearly three years, where he was involved in litigation such as cases involving excessive force, false arrest and false imprisonment.
He passed the Michigan Bar exam in July 2009, and the Illinois bar exam in 2010. Rottach worked two years with the city of Dearborn, where he did civil litigation and criminal prosecution. In 2012, he moved on to the Illinois Attorney General’s office, where he focused on civil rights and personal injury claims against the state. 
But after a year, Rottach wanted to come back to Michigan to be closer to friends and family.
Among the places he applied: the city of Jackson.
Interim City Attorney Bethany Smith said she is pleased with his work.
“Robert’s work is consistently excellent and he has quickly become a valued and respected part of the City Attorney’s Office,” Smith said. “Robert brings with him experience from several municipalities which has proved extremely useful.”

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