Schmidt tries to manage use of outside lawyers

Like pretty much every attorney general before him, Derek Schmidt has been criticized for the cost of hiring outside counsel to represent the state, including in the school-finance trial and the challenges to four new abortion laws. But “we get sued a lot,” he recently told The Eagle editorial board, and his comparatively small team of 40 to 45 in-house attorneys will always need to rely on outside counsel as a safety net. The office has spent more money on outside attorneys than he’d like to spend, but it’s saved some, too, on attorneys’ fees and otherwise. Schmidt said he expects to add civil litigators and pull in some cases now being farmed out. He defended the decision to hire outside lawyers to represent the state against the significant legal challenges to the abortion laws. “They deserve a good defense,” he said.