Senate: $24 million legal services bill
The Bermuda Government has retained 65 overseas legal services at a total cost of $24.5 million since 2013, according to Kathy Simmons, the Attorney-General.
Ms Simmons revealed the figure to the Senate yesterday as she outlined plans to boost opportunities for Bermudians.
Eleven active civil matters are outsourced through Chambers, she said, with three of the 11 outsourced directly to outside counsel.
However, when asked by Opposition senator Nick Kempe whether this meant that cases would be dropped, Ms Simmons replied: “No, absolutely not.”
Ms Simmons told the Senate that her first priority would be to use existing resources within Chambers.
The Attorney-General said her office would maximise opportunities for Bermudians by increasing the number of pupillage positions.
She said: “What this means in the context of outsourcing is that the more legal matters we are able to assign to in-house counsel and the more experience we cultivate, the more opportunities we will provide for our pupils to be outstanding professionals.”
Measures to contain the cost of outsourcing include a commitment to increase expertise in specific areas through additional professional development for present staff, offering a richer pupillage experience, improving recruitment and offering a compensation package, where feasible, to attract local talent.
Asked by Progressive Labour Party senator Jason Hayward if there were “young Bermudians who are locked out of the legal fraternity”, Ms Simmons said there was a “practical reality” of services being retained once a relationship was established.
“If you want to brand that ‘friends and family’, so be it,” the Attorney-General added. “There have been instances where outsourcing was questionable.”
However, she told the Senate that “the exercise was undertaken to paint a picture — and the picture was not exclusive to the One Bermuda Alliance in terms of being accusatory”.
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