Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has made great strides in instituting ethical, good-government policies on the state’s hiring of private lawyers for litigation, and he has worked to limit the amount of settlement dollars paid to these lawyers.
As the Chareston Gazette-Mail recently reported (“Morrisey’s office turns against its appointed lawyers in fee disputes,” Aug. 13), Morrisey’s office “aggressively fought to limit (attorneys’ fees) to 25 percent in accordance with its outside counsel policy.”
Our Legislature, working with Morrisey, enacted a law requiring transparency and competitive bidding for the state’s hiring of private attorneys. The law establishes strong ethical guidelines for attorneys general, and the competitive bidding requirement helps ensure taxpayers’ dollars are spent efficiently.
Unfortunately, some greedy personal injury lawyers long for the “backroom deals” we saw during former Attorney General Darrell McGraw’s tenure.
Big campaign contributors to McGraw often seemed to wrangle profitable no-bid contracts to sue on behalf of the state, but, thankfully, those days are gone.
Our Legislature and Attorney General deserve recognition for their work on an outside counsel rule to remove the appearance of impropriety when private attorneys are needed to represent the state and its agencies.
Roman D. Stauffer
(Editor's Note: Stauffer is director of the West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse.)