Lawyers get Liu-bricated is the title of a article recently featured in the New York Post. The article illuminated a disturbing trend in the New York City Comptroller’s office – hiring private attorneys to handle public business without properly disclosing such matters.
Certainly, from time to time, there is a need to hire outside support for the Comptroller’s office. However, hiring private contingency fee attorneys raises the likelihood of abuse and conflicts of interest. Private contingency fee attorneys only get money if they sue, so they are incentivized to bring as many lawsuits as possible, sometimes against other public institutions.
LRANY is in strong support of passing legislation in New York which would create transparency, limit contingency fees, and codify recent case law to ensure that the municipal entity (whether it is the state or the city) remains in control of litigation when it hires contingency fee counsel.
Transparency and common sense should prevail in these situations, but too often, New York’s politicians would rather close the curtain and let the lawyers take control.
With transparency and ethics being a hot topic in Albany, we hope to see strong support for transparency in private attorney contracting in 2012.
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