Temps Did Most Work in Tobacco Case
BALTIMORE (AP) - Lawyers provided by a temp agency accounted for almost a quarter of the hours of legal work performed by a prominent law firm on the state's case against the tobacco industry, according to billing records.
Of the 34,000 hours of legal work performed by Peter Angelos' firm, 7,822 were performed by recent law school graduates supplied by Special Counsel, a national legal services company.
Angelos' firm paid Special Counsel $21 an hour for the attorneys, according to the records, which were made public during the legal dispute between Angelos and the state over his fee.
Angelos is seeking 25 percent of Maryland's $4.6 billion share of the national tobacco settlement - a fee he said was agreed upon by his firm and the state, which is suing to block the payment.
Angelos said the hours spent on the case and the use of lawyers provided by the temp agency are irrelevant because the agreement was a ``clear-cut contingency fee contract.''
A judge has scheduled a trial for next year to decide on a fair fee.