Edited from a Press Release
Charleston, W.Va. – The West Virginia Legislature and Attorney General Patrick Morrisey deserve recognition for their work on a good-government outside counsel rule requiring transparency and competitive bidding for the appointment of private attorneys to represent the state and its agencies, according to legal watchdog group West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (WV CALA). 


“For many years we saw excesses in former Attorney General McGraw’s administration with backroom deals made to hire, and often enrich, politically connected private lawyers. The legislation passed by the legislature today (HB 4007) establishes strong ethical requirements for attorneys general, and the competitive bidding requirement will help ensure taxpayers’ dollars are spent efficiently,” said Roman Stauffer, Executive Director of WV CALA.

The hiring of outside counsel by the state is not unusual and can help ensure that West Virginia has the best legal expertise and representation available. There are times when the state is involved in very complex litigation, when it may be necessary for an attorney general to retain the services of outside attorneys.

In 2013, Attorney General Morrisey led the way in implementing an outside counsel policy requiring transparency and competitive bidding for the appointment of private attorneys to represent the state. The outside counsel policy is estimated to have saved the state over four million dollars since it was implemented.

“We applaud Attorney General Morrisey for his strong leadership in transforming the office of Attorney General by setting policy to avoid any appearance of impropriety and to make available the best legal representation to the State of West Virginia,” Stauffer added.

“We also want to thank Senate President Cole, Speaker Armstead and other members of the legislature for enacting this outside counsel policy. We can rest assured that going forward there will be transparency in the process by which we hire outside attorneys to represent our state. Not only will this policy save money for our state and taxpayers going forward, it will close the door on the type of backroom deals we saw under former Attorney General Darrell McGraw,” concluded Stauffer. ### West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse is a nonprofit citizen watchdog group with 30,000 members interested in a broad range of civil justice issues.  For more information, visit www.WVCALA.org.