DC's New AG Axes 10 Attorneys, Increases Oversight
The days of blue jeans and considerable lawyer autonomy are reportedly over at the Washington, D.C., attorney general’s office.
Although he hasn’t decided for sure whether he’ll stay in the post after June, Peter Nickles, who took over as attorney general in December, has moved to fire 10 staff lawyers and a manager that he says have performance issues and seek increased accountability from everyone in the office, writes the Washington Post. Required weekly reports about caseloads and a dress code have already been implemented; a time clock for punching in and out is planned.
Nickles’ envisions the office being run as a “first-rate law firm” with “strong, young, able stars,” once his changes are implemented. Under the district’s civil service system, however, at least many of the dismissed lawyers must have a chance for appeal. A lawyer for most of them says they received satisfactory performance reviews and should not be fired.
As a result of the changes he has made, morale in the office has improved, Nickles tells the newspaper. But “(i)f people think I’m moving too fast, too vigorously or in the wrong direction, I hope they can persuade me, because I’m willing to listen.”
The office has wide-ranging responsibilities including prosecuting juvenile cases, pursuing child-support cases and negotiating real estate contracts.