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Sun Jun 8, 2014, 03:13 AM

Gov. Corbett's use of outside legal counsel tops $100 million in 3 years.

Last edited Sun Jun 8, 2014, 10:15 AM - Edit history (1)

Corbett is a classic example of a man who never hires people who are more intelligent or accomplished than himself, and that sets the bar pretty damn low, as witnessed by the 2 guys he's appointed as General Counsel and First Deputy Counsel of the Governor's Office of General Counsel. (These appointments are not subject to State Senate approval.)

For the past 30 years, there has been an absolute glut of law graduates from top tier law schools: lawyers who were Law Review editors, Moot Court champions and clerked for state supreme court justices or federal appellate judges. Corbett avoided this impressive and accomplished pool of candidates and chose James Schultz and Jarad Handelman to head this agency which bills itself as:

Pennsylvania's Law Firm
The Office of General Counsel is committed to providing the Governor and the Executive Branch with expert, responsive, practical and cost-effective legal services necessary to support the administration of Pennsylvania's government for the benefit of the public.

But hey - they both played undergrad football! From their photos, looks like they were fullbacks and are both still on steroids. Schultz has the chutzpah to include in his professional bio that he was a "student law clerk" for a state supreme court justice. That is not a REAL law clerk - REAL law clerks are full time employees of judges and actually write opinions. I was a student law clerk for a Third Circuit Appellate Judge. Easy peasey, boys and girls. I signed up for the opportunity at registration time, and one afternoon a week, for one semester, I got to sit in (with my mouth shut) on the judge's conferences with his REAL law clerks. Easiest 2 credits I earned in law school. I have never seen any lawyer include such a student situation in a resume. That would be a lawyer's equivalent of "I'm not a real doctor, but I played one on TV." Pathetic!

Full disclosure - (Dem.) Rendell made copious use of outside law firms as well, and (GOP)Dick Thornburgh was even investigated for this while governor. When a governor is a lawyer, they like to grease that old revolving door to their former or future employers.

Corbett is a crap lawyer who lets his ego, uninformed by legal acumen, dictate his choice of legal battles. He has employed lawyers lacking the balls and/or the brains to persuade him otherwise. This has resulted in the loss of millions of taxpayer dollars. My suggestion: Outside counsel should be hired on the basis of no win/no fee. The Edgar Snyder approach: "No charges unless we get money for YOU!"

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania employs 498 attorneys at $46 million, but taxpayers spent $32.7 million last year on outside lawyers — and recently ponied up $2 million for private firms to handle three high-profile cases the state lost, records show.
With Corbett's failed attempt to privatize the state lottery — for which the state paid DLA Piper in Philadelphia $2.1 million — and a separate gay marriage case, the state has spent $4.5 million on outside counsel for losing causes.

Over three years, the tab for outside counsel was $100.3 million.

Gov. Tom Corbett won't appeal rulings against the voter ID law or the state's same-sex marriage ban. And last June, U.S. District Judge Yvette Kane tossed Corbett's lawsuit to end NCAA sanctions imposed on Penn State University as a result of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal, calling it a “Hail Mary pass.”

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, a Democrat, is among critics of the Republican governor's spending on outside counsel. “The governor has a right to defend his positions, but that's money literally flushed down the toilet,” DePasquale said.

Read more: http://triblive.com/politics/politicalheadlines/6201767-74/state-outside-corbett#ixzz341YJmfXz
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