CHARLESTON - New guidelines for how and when the outside counsel will be hired to represent the state and agencies in legal proceedings were unveiled Thursday by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
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, Morrisey said. The policy also ensures that any attorney selected as outside counsel will work under the supervision of the attorney general.
Hiring outside counsel was an issue in the 2012 campaign between Morrisey and incumbent Darrell McGraw.
"This policy helps to bring much-needed order and transparency to an important process," 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 will begin implementing the policy on April 15 when a 45-day public comment starts. Following a review of comments, the final policy will go into effect on July 16 and will apply to all legal matters after that date, Morrisey said.
"We hope to obtain input from attorneys and citizens about the proposed policy," Morrisey said. "
* A copy of the Outside Counsel Policy is available at www.wvago.gov/outsidecounsel.cfm.
* Written comments may be emailed to the Office of the Attorney General at firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to: West Virginia Attorney General's Office, Attn: Outside Counsel Policy, West Virginia State Capitol, Building 1, Room 26-E, Charleston, WV 25303. Comments must be received by May 30.