AG Patrick Morrisey Announces New Policy on Hiring Outside Counsel
CHARLESTON – Attorney General Patrick Morrisey today unveiled new procedures and guidelines outlining when and how the Office of the Attorney General should hire outside counsel to represent the State and its agencies in legal proceedings.
The six-page policy outlines the conditions under which the Office may appoint outside counsel, the competitive bidding process attorneys or firms must participate in and how they will be selected, as well as any contingency fees outside counsel may be able to collect. The policy also ensures that any attorney selected as outside counsel will work under the direct supervision of the Office of the Attorney General.
“This policy helps to bring much-needed order and transparency to an important process,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “While I believe the team of talented lawyers who already work in the Attorney General’s Office will be able to handle most issues that arise, there are cases in which the use of outside counsel may be required. In those instances, we will use a competitive bidding process to make sure we get high-quality services at reasonable prices.”
The Office plans to begin the process of implementing the policy on April 15, with a 45-day period for public comment starting immediately thereafter. Following a review of any public comments, the final outside counsel policy will go into effect on July 16 and will apply to all legal matters after that date.
“We hope to obtain input from attorneys and citizens about the proposed policy,” Morrisey said. “While I believe this policy will help provide accountability and transparency to the hiring of outside counsel, I also am interested in any other ideas to improve the quality of lawyering performed for our clients, protect consumers, and save taxpayers’ monies.”
A copy of the Outside Counsel Policy is available at www.wvago.gov/outsidecounsel.cfm
. Written comments on the policy may be e-mailed to the Office of the Attorney General at email@example.com
or mailed to: West Virginia Attorney General’s Office, Attn: Outside Counsel Policy, West Virginia State Capitol, Building 1, Room 26-E, Charleston, WV 25305. All comments must be received by May 30, 2013.