PA Governors Spend Millions on Private Law Firms

Tom Corbett has done so, but he’s not the first.

Harrisburg’s ABC27 reports that Pennsylvania’s governors — including, but not limited to, Tom Corbett — have spent millions of dollars handing state cases to outside private law firms, instead of having them handled by the state’s 500-lawyer Office of General Counsel.

ABC 27 filed a Right to Know Request with the Office of General Counsel, which hires outside counsel, and found:

  • DLA Piper, a multi-national firm, hit the jackpot on the ill-fated lottery privatization. The firm collected $3,352,529.94. On the same case, an additional $200,000 was spent on Blank Rome, based in Philadelphia.
  • The as-yet-not-implemented and likely-dead Voter ID case meant $942,790.64 in legal fees to Drinker Biddle, a Philadelphia-based firm.
  • Another Philly firm, Cozen O’Connor, netted $631,128.98 for its short-lived lawsuit against the NCAA over sanctions to Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
  • As of December 31, 2013, Lamb McErlane, based in West Chester, collected $63,566.38 to defend Pennsylvania’s ban on same sex marriage. The meter is still running at hundreds of dollars an hour. 

But the station points out that Gov. Ed Rendell —a once and future employee of the Ballard Spahr law firm — spent $11 million on that firm in just two years of his governorship.

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