BENTONVILLE, Ark. (AP) _ Wal-Mart Stores Inc., stung by discrimination lawsuits and a federal investigation into the alleged use of illegal workers, is hiring a U.S attorney to be its new legal compliance officer.

Tom Gean, the federal prosecutor for the Western District of Arkansas, will start the job within 30 days, Wal-Mart spokeswoman Mona Williams said Thursday.

Williams said Gean would work closely with Wal-Mart's new operations compliance groups.

``These compliance groups ... are there to provide support to our stores and clubs to help make sure they are fully aware of applicable laws and regulations and have the right processes and reporting mechanisms in place,'' Williams said.

``We think Tom Gean has the skills and proven leadership to make a huge contribution in this area,'' Williams said.

The compliance operation is intended to make it easier for store managers to do their jobs properly, Williams said.

President Bush named Gean as U.S. Attorney in 2001. Prior to his appointment, Gean was Sebastian County prosecutor for four years, starting in 1997.

Gean has prosecuted a broad range of cases, from fraud to drugs to violent crime.

Wal-Mart shares fell 22 cents to close at $53.26 on the New York Stock Exchange.