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Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin – Forms Show What Lawmakers Do — or Don’t Do — for Clients

Last week, the Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin ran an article, Forms Show What Lawmakers Do — or Don’t Do — for Clients, which highlighted LRANY’s recently released analysis of lawyer-legislatures in New York and their outside income. The piece also quoted LRANY executive director Tom Stebbins on the issue.

An excerpt:

“Twenty-three state lawmakers who also work as attorneys reported receiving income from law firms last year, according to Albany-based Lawsuit Reform Alliance’s analysis of the most-recent round of financial-disclosure documents, which were made public in late June.

In total, those lawmakers made between $3 million and $4.2 million for their legal work in 2014, assuming Silver was paid the same as he was in 2013, the analysis showed. The number is somewhat inflated, however, by freshman Sen. Marc Panepinto, D-Buffalo, who made at least $900,000 as an attorney last year prior to taking office.

Overall, about one in five of the state’s 213 legislators are licensed attorneys, though not all practice, according to the lawsuit-reform group’s analysis.

‘New York is the lawsuit capital of the world,’ said Tom Stebbins, executive director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance, which pushes for changes to the state’s legal system. ‘You’re more likely to get sued in New York than anywhere else, and that’s in large part because the legislators we have are often thinking in terms of what benefits lawyers.'”

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Democrat & Chronicle: Lawmakers Who Worked for Law Firms Earned 3x Their State Salary

breifcase cashGannett’s Joe Spector recently covered information released by LRANY in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. The data is an addendum to our Power of Attorney report from April of this year.  The piece focused on the outside income of legislatures whom also double as lawyers.

An excerpt:

“State lawmakers who were employed at law firms earned as much as $4.2 million last year for their outside work, a group seeking tort reform said.

In total, one in five of the 213-seat state Legislature are attorneys, and 23 reported receiving outside income in 2014, the Lawsuit Reform Alliance said in a report.

The group said that the 10 legislators who worked at personal injury law firms averaged an $239,000 income, about triple their base state salary of $79,500.”

Read full article here

See LRANY release and addendum here

New York Post: Legislators Doubling as Lawyers Raked in $4.2M in 2014

Raking In The MoneyThe New York Post recently covered information released by LRANY as an addendum to our Power of Attorney report from April of this year.  The piece focused on the outside income of legislatures whom also double as lawyers.

An excerpt:

The 42 state legislators who are lawyers pulled in as much as $4.2 million last year from their ‘outside jobs,’ according to a report Tuesday.

Topping the charts were the personal-injury attorneys, who hauled in an average of about $239,000, the Lawsuit Reform Alliance said.

The group said the earnings call into question the independence of lawmakers who have a lot to gain or lose from votes that could affect their outside careers.

‘Any time you have public officials receiving two, three, even 10 times more than their state salary from outside legal work, there are going to be questions about conflicting interest,’ said Tom Stebbins, executive director of the alliance.”

Read full article here

See LRANY release and addendum here

For Immediate Release: Lawyer-Legislators Raked in Millions in Outside Income in 2014

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[hr]

For Immediate Release
July 21, 2015
Contact: Phoebe Stonbely
pstonbely@lrany.org
518.512.5265

 

Lawyer-Legislators Raked in Millions in Outside Income in 2014
New analysis finds average legal fees and income for trial lawyer-legislators is three times their state salary

poa addendumA recent analysis of state legislators’ outside income by the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, a nonpartisan nonprofit legal reform association, has found that lawyer-legislators received as much as $4.2 million in income for part-time legal work. In total, one in five members of the state legislature are attorneys, and 23 reported receiving outside income in 2014. The analysis is an update of the group’s “Power of Attorney” report, released in April, which found that political and lobbying spending by the personal injury lawyer lobby has climbed substantially in recent years.

The analysis found that the ten legislators moonlighting as personal injury lawyers accounted for 65% of all outside legal income, as much as $2.7 million. The average outside income for personal injury lawyer-legislators was $239,000, approximately triple their state salary.

Tom Stebbins, Executive Director for the Lawsuit Reform Alliance, expressed concerns about the outsized income earned by personal injury trial lawyers, “Any time you have public officials receiving two, three, even ten times more than their state salary from outside legal work, there are going to be questions about conflicting interests. Personal injury firms in particular profit from New York’s unbalanced tort laws, which are generally set at the state level. One has to wonder if the personal injury lawyer-legislators are in office to serve the interests of New York, or their personal injury law firms. It was just six months ago that former Speaker Sheldon Silver was charged with public corruption after receiving millions of dollars from the plaintiffs’ firm Weitz & Luxenberg, which federal prosecutors claim were nothing more than bribes and kickbacks.”

View one page summary of findings here: http://bit.ly/1JuFV8I

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The Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York (LRANY) is a nonpartisan not-for-profit association of businesses, professionals, healthcare providers, membership organizations, taxpayers, and concerned citizens committed to changing New York’s legal system to help create jobs and energize our economy.

See PDF Release Here

See Full Power of Attorney Report Here