The hiring of an in-house lawyer two years ago has dramatically reduced the City of Abbotsford’s legal bills.
During recent budget deliberations, council heard that since the city hired its own lawyer two years ago, its legal fees have been halved.
The city hired its own lawyer in the spring of 2017, after years of relying on outside legal firms.
In both of 2015 and 2016, the city spent more than $1 million on external legal counsel. That figure fell to below $500,000 in 2017 and was below $400,000 last year. (Those figures don’t include the salary of the city’s new in-house lawyer, which is not publicly available for 2018, but which would have been between $130,000 and $150,000 last year based on his pay for part of 2017.)
Meanwhile, city staff are seeking legal input for many more items, with more than 1,300 such requests last year, council heard.
“It’s provided tremendous value to the organization,” finance general manager Raj Sharma told council.