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Thursday, December 02, 2010

Outgoing Dem AG Richard Cordray Sending $4.1 Million In State Contracts To Law Firms: Cincinnati Gets Small Slice Of Special Counsel Deals

Sugar Plums For Upstate Law Firms
CINCINNATI (TDB) -- For Cincinnati lawyers, it's not the dance of the sugar plum fairy.  Most of the unbid special counsel work is headed to law firms in Cleveland and Columbus.  Only two Cincinnati firms -- with $315,000 total -- are on the list of retroactive and renewed contracts.  The deals have been submitted to the State Controlling Board for approval at its last meeting of the year.  It is also the last session with Democrats in control of state government.  Richard Cordray was beaten by Republican Mike DeWine, and the special counsel contracts  -- if approved -- will be in force during much of 2011.  In the past, special counsel contracts have been a political plum for the attorney general, and often controversial.  Not this time, at least not yet.  Traditional campaign fodder includes accusations of lawyers making political contributions in exchange for work -- something that did not occur during Cordray's brief tenure.  He was elected to replace Marc Dann, who resigned in a sex scandal.  Cordray finished out Dann's unexpired term.

In Cincinnati, Ulmer & Berne is getting a $175,000 increase in its contract to represent the University of Cincinnati in construction litigation matters.  The current contract is for $75,000,  Ulmer & Berne is a downtown firm with 336 employees in Ohio.  State records show 8% are minorities and 50% are women.  Wood Herron & Evans, another downtown law firm, is set to receive a $200,000 increase to handle patent matters for Ohio State University.  Its current contract is worth $60,000.  State records show Wood Herron has 112 Ohio employees -- 6% are minorities, 50% women.


  1. Bill, did you check how much the principals at Ulmer and Berne (for example, Democratic activist Tom Mooney) donate to Democrats? There's a reason the firm got the contract.

  2. Reform alert: Campaign donations from law firms with no-bid special counsel contracts. A practice as old as the hills and needing change. Mike DeWine probably won't do anything. He'll take the money and pass out the contracts. AG Mike DeWine is the next sugar plum fairy. Good job on this story,Bill. You pointed it out. Republicans and Democrats do it the same way. Time to start competitively bidding state legal work. Won't happen on DeWine's watch, either.