ATLANTA -- Georgia spent $33 million on private attorneys during the last 12 months, according to figures released today by Attorney General Sam Olens.
As a candidate last year, Olens pledged quarterly releases of the total spent on outside attorneys and began the practice once he took office in January.
“They are typically retained to handle cases where the Attorney General’s Office has insufficient staff attorneys to handle the caseload,” said Lauren Kane, spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office. “These are often cases, such as child support or deprivation, in which hearings are held in all 159 counties or instances that involve a specialized practice area in which it is not economical to keep a specialist on staff at the Attorney General’s Office.”
Not all of the contract lawyers were working on children’s cases in rural Georgia. The largest check, $2.16 million, went to Los Angeles lawyer Simon Santiago.
No other fees topped $700,000, but some of the biggest went to lawyers in Atlanta, like the $665,000 going to Mark Cohen who defended the state’s voter-ID law, and Clay Long who got $479,000 for representing the state in the tri-state water litigation.