6 thoughts on “Town To Issue RFP for Legal Services

  1. I agree that’s it’s a good idea to periodically issue an RFP for law firms to handle the Town’s legal work, but I don’t think we should be short-sighted about employing lawyers. It is extremely difficult to budget for legal services, because much of the work is defensive in nature, ie., protecting the Town’s
    interests when, for example, a discharged policeman sues the Town for racial discrimination, or a developer sues the Town for wrongfully turning down an affordable housing project. And even though an MOU may appear to be a simple matter of copying the last version, the law and/or the factual situation may have changed in the interim, so that it would be prudent to have the new one reviewed by lawyers. The matters that will need legal representation often can’t be known in January, so when the actual legal expenses run over the “budget,” it should not be cause for handwringing. If the law firm can substantiate it’s fees by hours and expenses spent on a matter, Town officials might be better served by looking at the matters that they allow to reach dispute.

  2. Sorry Amy. Your comment re legal fees with respect to New Canaan Library misses the mark. Given the size of the Town’s commitment and the various issues/potential issues that were present, it was more than prudent to involve counsel. That said, the current RFP also makes sense for reasons noted elsewhere in the article.

    • Amy isn’t wrong, and I don’t see where she’s advising against seeking any counsel from the town attorney (or even spending taxpayer money beyond their $8,500 monthly retainer). I hear her questioning the need to spend so much to wrangle with a trustworthy community partner. And I don’t know what you mean by “issues” (please don’t say preservation, that thing is a monument to stupidity and poor taste) but whatever they were supposed to be never panned out for the people who invented (“various issues”) or imagined (“potential issues”) them—just visit the library.

  3. This brings up the matter of proper town budgeting – believe I commented to the BoS or T/C last year budget season why are you decreasing the legal budget when you know all the issues going on and previous years expenses? We now have a year of news articles talking about exceeding legal budgets. It is budget season now – the town needs to look at its track record of expenses – look at what is in front of it – and make good estimates going forward to get the budget right. Do we expect fewer legal expenses in the future than we had the last 3 years – if so budget $300k again if not budget $400k or more.

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