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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ex-AGs offer tips at HCBA lunchtime panel

I just attended an interesting CLE program sponsored by the Hennepin County Bar Association entitled: "What to do when the Attorney General comes calling" (or "comes a' knockin," as I like to say.)

The panelist were two ex-AGs -- Mike Hatch (left) and Warren Spannaus. The lunchtime panel was fairly well attended; many of those there were in-house lawyers curious if they could pick up any tips as to what they could do to keep AG Lori Swanson from kicking in the door to their company. Hatch handed out a nice sum-up packet on the letterhead of his new firm, Blackwell Burke.

Hatch's advice included the following tips on how NOT to respond to the AG's Office:
-- Don't go in and talk about politics;
-- Don't engage in threats or personal attacks;
-- Don't be condescending;
-- Avoid histrionics and "righteous indignation"; and
-- Never be the tallest nail on the board -- in fact, scrunch down if you can.

Illustrating the last point, Hatch offered the following example in his materials:

"A lawyer took it upon himself to get in my face after a Congressional Hearing in which I testified on an issue, although I didn't name his company. After his outburst, I asked [the lawyer] which company he represented. Guess what company in that particular industry got sued?"


Anonymous said...

Hatch's participation in this presentation is clearly intended to establish a public record of professional distance between himself and Lori Swanson and to refute allegations or speculation that he still holds enormous sway over his protege. If CJ were tasked to report all the Hatch and Swanson sightings suggesting that they remain joined at the cell phone or hip, we might be slightly less bored reading her column. While Lori Swanson may be calling the shots at the AG's office, her decision making is rigidly imprinted in the Hatch mold.
On a serious note, however, the scorched earth policy adopted by Lori Swanson to squelch the free speech rights of her staff and her efforts to thwart open conversations about whether the work of the office would be improved by basic worker protections is a DFL horror story.

Anonymous said...

So let me get this right Did Hatch say that the AG, an elected official, has the right choose lawsuits based on a personal grudge as opposed to actual evidence?