BRIDGEPORT — The city school board has voted to enter contract negotiations with a new law firm, Berchem Moses PC of Milford.
The firm was one of two that submitted bids to provide legal services to the district. The other was Pullman & Comley LLC which has offices in Bridgeport.
Deputy City Attorney John Bohannon, who was part of the committee that evaluated the proposals said Berchem ranked higher and was able to bring down their initial hourly price to $285.
“The city of Bridgeport is a financially strapped entity and is dearly in need of competent legal services,” Bohannon told the board. “We strove to have high quality representation and an extremely competitive price.”
He also wants assurance that the district will mostly get partners, and not junior associates doing most of the work. The board gave Bohannon a laundry list of other things they would like to see him negotiate into the services agreement.
For the past several years, the district has used Shipman & Goodwin, LCC based in Hartford for legal services. They did not bid on the new contract and sent the school board a letter terminating their relationship.
Board Vice Chairman Hernan Illingworth likened the departing law firm to the Mercedes Benz of school legal counsel. One of its partners, Thomas Mooney, wrote the book: A Practical Guide to Connecticut School Law
“Yes it’s nice but not much different from a Chevy,” Illingworth said. “I know what I am getting from the Chevy. I don’t mind personally going back to that Chevy.”