Patton hasn’t said much in the media about his new role, but in a Chicago Tribune article today, he hints that he plans to save the city money by bringing more work in-house (that is, to be done by city lawyers rather than outside law firms). It will be interesting to see what Patton and Rahm do with Section 1983 litigation. The city has been quite self-congratulatory about the strategy it implemented over the past two years to outsource most of its representation on civil rights cases to outside firms that take the cases to trial. Without a doubt, the strategy has reduced the number of civil rights cases filed. But it doesn’t seem to be saving the city much money. In 2009, the city spent $58,815,977, total for legal fees, settlements and judgments. In the first quarter of 2011, the city spent $24,129,118, according to data available on George’s website. The outsourcing has created a kind of cottage industry of defense firms that are making millions defending police officers who beat up or falsely arrest people. Some firms will go out of business if the city work dries up. Perhaps Patton will bring the private firm gravy train to an end?
You can read quite a bit about Patton’s illustrious history defending tobacco companies on K&E’s website. Here are some highlights:
- Defended Miller Manufacturing Co. (a subsidiary of ITW) from antitrust and fraud claims
- Got Minnesota’s “health impact fee” on cigarette sales overturned for RJ Reynolds
- Defended Exelon from claims of a Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower, the company’s former CFO, who reported alleged accounting fraud