Nevada Supreme Court

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Settlement reached

March 04, 2014

U.S. Chamber raises constitutional and public policy objections to Nevada AG's contingency fee agreement

August 24, 2012

The U.S. Chamber urged the Nevada Supreme Court to rule that contingent-fee agreements that delegate the state’s authority to enforce laws to private attorneys with a profit interest violate constitutional and ethical requirements, public policy, and express restrictions established by Nevada law. The Chamber’s brief argued that longstanding Nevada law unambiguously prohibits the state from hiring outside counsel absent a conflict of interest that precludes the state from using its own lawyers, or specific authorization from the Senate. Moreover, the brief explained that the use of contingent fee outside counsel is contrary to sound public policy. Experience has shown that when public entities hire private law firms, they often do so without the open and competitive process used with other contracts to assure the government receives the best value. Even where governments have issued some type of request for proposals, the selection standards are often lax. As a result, governments routinely have awarded potentially lucrative contracts to friends and political supporters. In turn, the ultimate result is a system whereby the government may not receive the most qualified counsel, taxpayers may not have received the best value, and private attorneys benefit at the expense of the public interest.

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