Ohio pays $670 an hour for outside legal services

Chris Rizo Feb. 24, 2010, 1:00am

Richard Cordray (D)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline)-Ohio taxpayers are paying a law firm $670 an hour to represent the University of Cincinnati in a case, and two state lawmakers say that is out of line.

On Tuesday, two members of the Ohio Controlling Board -- state Sen. John Carey Jr., R-Wellston, and Rep. Jay Hottinger, R-Newark -- expressed concerns over the cost of the Washington law firm's work.

The law firm of Hogan & Hartson is representing the University of Cincinnati's interests in the dissolution of a partnership among five hospitals and a group of physicians.

It is unclear whether the firm was hired through a competitive bid process.

The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch reported Tuesday that the state originally budgeted $800,000 for the firm's services, but added an additional $700,000.

Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray's chief of legal services, Russ Balthis, told the newspaper that the case is more complex than previously thought, accounting for the increased legal costs.

It would be more expensive to replace the firm than to continue paying its $670 hourly rate, he added.

But Carey and Hottinger said costs relating to the case appear to be ballooning.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

More News