U.S. Chamber Urges Mississippi House to Pass Bill to Rein in State Attorney General Hiring of Outside Plaintiffs' Lawyers

February 29, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Lisa A. Rickard, president of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), made the following statement today urging the Mississippi House to pass legislation (HB 738) that would provide much needed safeguards in the hiring of outside counsel by the state, including requiring approval of the Outside Counsel Oversight Commission before most AG actions can be brought:

“The Mississippi attorney general remains the most active state AG in the nation for hiring outside private plaintiffs’ lawyers on a contingency fee basis, despite the state’s 2012 reforms to limit this practice. The New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning story reported Attorney General Hood accepted $395,000 in campaign contributions from trial law firms over the last decade — more than any other attorney general.

“So we commend Representative Mark Baker for introducing more reforms to rein in the practice of awarding sole source, lucrative contingency fee contracts to outside plaintiffs’ lawyers that cost taxpayers, and fill the AG’s campaign coffers in this ‘pay-to-play’ scheme.

“Representative Baker’s proposal brings more checks on the AG’s activities, and we urge passage of this important legislation.”

ILR seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial, and educational activities at the global, national, state, and local levels.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.