AG Announces Completion of Internal Review Of Pending Litigation Involving Outside Counsel

Attorney General Hector Balderas

STATE News:

  • AG confident that pending cases can move forward as meritorious

SANTA FE — Today New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas announced the completion of an office-wide review of all pending litigation involving outside counsel.

Moving forward, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is committed to utilizing a set of best practices to ensure the Office takes on only meritorious cases that are in the best interest of New Mexicans, as stated in today’s news release.

“As Attorney General, I am committed to operating an open and transparent Office that serves the best interest of New Mexicans. Pursuant to my statutory authority and responsibilities regarding litigation on behalf of the State, this Office will adhere strictly to an improved process regarding the use of outside counsel to ensure accountability and transparency.”

The Attorney General’s directive requires adherence to the following principles when the use of outside counsel is contemplated:

  • The Attorney General will make an independent determination that litigation pursued is in the State’s best interest;
  • The OAG will review available resources and expertise within the agency, and will pursue representation by outside counsel only if it is cost-effective for the State and pertinent subject matter expertise is demonstrated;
  • The OAG will retain complete control over the course and conduct of all litigation undertaken through outside counsel, including approval of pleadings, and ultimate authority over settlement and major decisions related to litigation strategy;
  • The Attorney General will appoint a senior staff member to oversee the course and conduct of all litigation undertaken through outside counsel;
  • The OAG will ensure that all appropriate contractual and procurement processes are adhered to regarding the acquisition of outside counsel through an open and public Request for Proposal (RFP) process; and
  • All outside firms that are retained pursuant to this process will adhere to all applicable state and federal laws regarding access to and retention of records, along with all ethical and professional standards.

In addition to operating within the above-mentioned guidelines, the Attorney General commits to making all documents pertinent to RFP processes—including the total payment to outside counsel made by the OAG—publicly available.

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