Town Lawyers

I only have a short one this time. Can someone explain to me why we hire law firm on an annual basis, only to go out and hire additional lawyers every time the town gets involved in some sort of law suit? Is this because the Town Council has little or no confidence in the abilities of the retained firm? Or is it because that firm has no expertise in the areas we continually find ourselves involved in? It has been this way since I was sitting on the council years ago. Can't we get a little more selective in who we choose to represent our intrests in the State courts? Time to get a new broom new council members, and give the Town Hall a real good sweeping! TTFN Everett

1 comment:

Sam said...

I was going to tell a lawyer joke but I'll save the time: one general administrative lawyer for all town functions should work just fine if you can find a good one. Few are as well-rounded as they used to be, since they tend to specialize like doctors instead of doing general practice. But there are plenty and I think sometimes what happens is that they have fixed-fee contracts in the budget so their time is watched like a hawk. If there are special concerns such as to contest a permit or something special, a new contract might be given to somebody else.

It is always more expensive to bring on a new legal-beagle, since it is far easier to amend the original lawyer's contract to do more work. This is a sure sign of laziness, when new lawyers are brought on at considerable expense. The only time I would recommend adding more lawyer consultants is when the original lawyer says so, such as "that's a criminal matter and I think somebody else would be better for that, since I'm mainly into civil stuff."

Of course, when you add to your lawyer list, it is rather insulting to the original lawyer of record, meaning he or she was somehow deficient. If there are any problems with the lawyer of record, you need to talk because perhaps the contract needs to be modified or terminated.

Many counties, cities, and states also want to hire as many lawyers as they can, as a matter of prestige and status - having a "well rounded legal team." I can see that you, Mr. Litlefield, can see right through this logic, too.

If you have a fixed-fee lawyer working for you within the budget, it makes sense to use the lawyer of record. A secret is that performace, contingency, and time & labor contracts can rack up a heck of a lot of money (and debt) that you haven't budgeted. I hesitate to draw my final conclusion, sir, but do you now get the picture? If we were taking about ants, it would be about who gets some of the "royal jelly."