Richmond reached yet another milestone in the ongoing legal battles over the City charter earlier this month.
As of Sept. 25, the good stewards of the city's finances surpassed the $1 million mark for outside lawyer fees: a grand total of $1,070,361.32 to be exact. The current total for the Richmond School Board's outside legal fees was unavailable at press time, but in May the figure already exceeded $135,000.
At that time, the grand total of all legal expenses fighting Mayor L. Douglas Wilder's various charter battles — the power to hire and fire 54 City Council staff people and the power over city property in attempting to evict the Richmond Public Schools from City Hall — was by itself already in excess of $900,000.
Both of those cases are on appeal at the Virginia Supreme Court, which ensures more money will be spent.
The benefit to city residents of all this legal hair splitting remains vague. But to the various high-powered law firms involved, the benefits are evident. Two firms, McGuireWoods and LeClairRyan, together account for all but about $34,000.