The Journal Gazette
Monday, September 13, 2021 2:01 pm

Law firm representing governor could make up to $195,000

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – An Indianapolis law firm representing Gov. Eric Holcomb in a dispute with the legislature could make up to $195,000, according to a contract made public Monday.

According to the state Auditor's Office, more than $95,000 has been paid so far.

Lewis Wagner LLP was hired by the Holcomb administration to challenge House Enrolled Act 1123.

The statute passed in March allows the Indiana General Assembly to call its own special session. It was in response to the governor's continued executive orders during the pandemic. By legislating themselves that power, lawmakers could come back and block a governor's moves during a declared public emergency.

Holcomb sued after the law was passed – arguing it is unconstitutional because the Indiana Constitution gives him the power to call a special session, not the legislature.

The contract says Lewis Wagner has experience in declaratory judgment actions, injunctions and litigation – especially involving governmental entities.

"Its hourly fees are reasonable, with top partners at $382.50, other partners at $292.50, and associate attorneys at $202.50," the contract said. "And it provided a 10% government discount off its normal hourly rates."

The agreement covers April 1 to March 30, 2023. The contract wasn't executed until a court ruled it was legal for Holcomb to hire an outside attorney. Attorney General Todd Rokita denied the request made by Holcomb and tried to get the lawsuit tossed.

A review of campaign finance records shows Lewis Wagner LLP has not given money to Holcomb. One of its primary partners, Richard Blaicklock, gave $100 to Holcomb in 2016. Another partner, John Trimble, has not donated to Holcomb.

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