Otto J. Hetzel is a practicing attorney in Washington, D.C., with a legal and consulting practice for local government entities and private sector clients primarily with respect to matters arising with federal agencies over administration of federal programs. He is a Professor of Law Emeritus, Wayne State University Law School, with over 20 years of teaching experience. He has broad policy-level experience in federal, state, and local government, and has focused on reforming the intergovernmental relationships and conflicts inherent in current governmental delivery systems. Formerly a Deputy Attorney General of the State of California and Associate General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Housing Development, he also has served as Special Counsel to a number of local government entities. He also plays an active role in civil rights matters, having helped draft and enact the 1968 Fair Housing law, and frequently provides training on civil rights issues. Recently, he contributed to and edited a Symposium Issue on Fair Housing Testing for The Urban Lawyer (Spring 2009, Volume 41, No. 2).
Mr. Hetzel was co-editor (with Ernie Abbott) of the first edition of this text, titled A Legal Guide to Homeland Security and Emergency Management for State and Local Governments (ABA 2005), and he also served with Mr. Abbott as Co-Chair and Reporter of "The Law and Catastrophic Disasters: Legal Issues in the Aftermath," a two-day Legal Tabletop Exercise involving a simulated disaster scenario for the Institute for Public Safety and Justice of the University of the District of Columbia, 2009, funded by the Department of Homeland Security. He has served as Vice-Chair of the Homeland Security and Emergency Management Committee of the American Bar Association's State and Local Government Section and on the ABA Hurricane Katrina Task Force Legal Subcommittee. He currently participates in the ABA's Special Committee on Disaster Response and Preparedness and has helped develop courses in the field of Intelligence Analysis for undergraduate and graduate university programs. He is Chair of the ABA Administrative Law Section's Committee on Housing and Urban Development and authors the chapter on HUD issues in the Section's annual publication, Developments in Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice.
Mr. Hetzel publishes extensively and speaks frequently on homeland security, housing, community development, legislative, civil rights, and legal ethics issues. For 14 years, he was co-editor of the international journal Urban Law and Policy. Mr. Hetzel is co-author of two law school texts, Legislative Law and Statutory Interpretation and Housing and Community Development, and for 20 years wrote a column, "Washington's Labyrinthine Ways," for the ABA's State and Local Government Section that commented on activities in Congress and federal agencies relative to state and local governments. He was recently elected a Life Trustee of the National Housing Conference in recognition of his long-standing commitment to affordable housing. An LL.M. graduate of Harvard Law School with a J.D. from Yale Law School, he is admitted to the United States Supreme Court and the bars of California, Washington, D.C., and Michigan.