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March 21, 2013

U.S. Chamber Applauds West Virginia’s Outside Counsel Sunshine Policy

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Lisa A. Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, made the following statement today about West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s new proposed procedures and guidelines for hiring outside counsel.

“By adopting this policy, West Virginia will take a significant step to curb the troublesome practice of awarding contingency fee contracts to plaintiffs’ lawyers who are also major campaign contributors to the state attorney general, a reform needed for decades.

“Such ‘pay-to-play’ schemes enrich lawyers at the expense of taxpayers and raise significant concerns about conflicts of interest, favoritism, the use of a public entity for personal gain, and fairness in prosecutions. 

“With this policy, West Virginia will join a vanguard of states who have led the effort to open the relationships between state attorneys general and private lawyers hired to work with them to public scrutiny.  We commend Attorney General Morrisey for his leadership, and encourage the state legislature to cement these safeguards into place by making them law.”

ILR seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial, and educational activities at the national, state, and local levels.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

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