KBA PRESIDENT CONFIRMS TOTAL LEGAL COSTS FOR BERRY FREE SPEECH PROSECUTION EXCEEDS $400,000
LawReader has been seeking information since April of this year regarding the cost of the KBA ethics prosecution of John M. Berry Jr. We have speculated that the total cost to the KBA will approach $400,000. In a Lexington Herald-leader story President Myers admitted that the legal bill to Stites & Harbison was “in the low $200,000’s. “ That could be anything from $200,000 to $250,000.
We believed that Stites & Harbison earned every penny of their fee. The issues were extremely complex, and a highly skilled legal counsel was necessary. But we suggest that the dues paying members of the bar should be informed of the expense of this outside counsel and other outside counsels hired by the KBA when they determined that their nine full time lawyers were up to the skill level required for defending a case in Federal Court.
President Myers said that their insurer will cover this award.
The insurer is not the insurance carrier linked to the KBA. We have not been able to learn the name of the actual insurer.
We believe it is reasonable to assume that the insurance premium of the KBA will go up next year and the dues paying members of the bar will be charged for this expense in increased premiums.
President Myers has spoken to the press, and we wish he would come clean and speak frankly with the members of the bar who ultimately are liable for this obligation.
We believe the Supreme Court should be informed of the reasons they KBA is hiring outside counsel, and the KBA should disclose to the Supreme Court and the bar members the reasons they chose to defend the Berry free speech case which attempted to limit the constitutional rights of attorneys.
We note that the Sixth Circuit Ruling was an “as applied” decision. That means that the underlying Supreme Court Rule could still be used against a Kentucky lawyer with a different fact situation.
This message from the Sixth Circuit merits an amendment of the Supreme Court rule limiting the free speech of lawyers.