Virginia spends big on private attorneys for state officials

STATE-NEWSRICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Virginia has spent hundreds of dollars an hour for private attorneys for government officials. The Daily Press reports the state spent $14.8 million on outside attorneys for those officials last year. An Attorney General’s Office report shows the hourly rates ranged from $125 for immigration legal work to $835 for “export control matters.” According to the newspaper, those hourly rates are often more than an attorney hired to represent people who can’t afford a lawyer is supposed to charge for a felony criminal case. For those attorneys, it’s $90 an hour with a $1,235 cap for the whole case, unless a judge authorizes more. Attorney General’s Office spokesman Michael Kelly says expert counsel is often needed in certain areas of the law, where only a few firms have expertise.

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