CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is setting up a new system for hiring outside lawyers who represent state agencies.
On Thursday, Morrisey announced a policy that requires private attorneys to bid on state legal work, which is supervised by the Attorney General's Office.
The policy also limits contingency fees that outside lawyers may collect.
Morrisey said the new policy is needed because of "past questions surrounding appointment of outside counsel."
Morrisey, who defeated former attorney general Darrell McGraw in the November election, sharply criticized McGraw's hiring practices during the campaign.
The new hiring policy will take effect July 16.
"While I believe the team of talented lawyers who already work in the [office] will be able to handle most issues that arise, there are cases in which the use of outside counsel may be required," Morrisey said. "In those instances, we will use a competitive-bidding process to make sure we get high-quality services at reasonable prices."
Morrisey's policy also limits lawyer contingency fees to 25 percent of the first $10 million recovered for the state, and 5 percent if recovered funds exceed $25 million.