From the award-winning Mathematics Division of Y’allPolitics
Bobby Harrison wrote an article yesterday trumpeting Mississippi Attorney General’s assertion that his office has spent the equivalent of over $154,875 on the appeal/defense of House Bill 1523. His office claims that the figure is the equivalent amount of the 442.5 hours his office personnel has spent on the issue. Regardless of what you think of HB 1523, that math doesn’t pencil. That’s $350/hour. Government employees in Mississippi are not paid nor are worth $350/hour. That price is rarified air in Mississippi for the best private lawyers.
Hood lamented the frequency of what he called “political” legislation being passed in the state in recent years, citing House Bill 1523 as an example of that.
“It has affected our ability to properly defend other cases,” Hood said.
Rachael Ring, a spokeswoman for Hood, said the 442.5 hours spent defending the case does not include “the hours spent by Attorney General Hood himself or other attorneys consulted in the office.”
She said using “the prevailing market rate” for attorneys for similar lawsuits would equate to $154,875 spent by the office of the Attorney General on the case.
First of all, the “prevailing market rate” is baloney. That’s just a fabricated construct. The state doesn’t pay its own employees, let alone qualified outside counsel those sorts of hourly rates. If Hood’s employees think they’re worth that kind of coin, they need to go try private practice for a while and figure out what the real world looks like.
Let’s get realistic and assume for a moment that he had $100,000/year employees working on the case (very generous assumption). At 1800 billable hours/year, that’s $55/hour.
But the article said Hood has time in it too. He makes $108,960. That’s less than $61/hour.
So, let’s be super generous and say that the average value of the state personnel working on this was $60/hour. Multiply that by 442.5 and you get $26,550 of actual time value put into the issue (a far cry from $154,875).
Math. It’s undefeated.