Little Rock airport finalizes agreement for additional legal services with Wright, Lindsey & Jennings

Officials at the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport are moving ahead with a plan to hire the law firm Wright, Lindsey & Jennings. The contract was proposed months ago, but stalled over a potential conflict of interest. The law firm was working for the ride-sharing company Turo, which had been at legal odds with the airport.

Shane Carter, director of public affairs for the airport, said the airport finalized the law firm‘s contract after signing an agreement with Turo. Carter provided a copy of the Wright, Lindsey & Jennings agreement Wednesday. “With the Turo agreement now executed, the airport believes any potential conflict has been resolved,” he said.

In August, the airport review committee determined that two contracts for legal services would be signed. Cross, Gunter, Witherspoon & Galchus, which has served the airport for 15 years, would handle most general counsel services while Wright, Lindsey & Jennings would provide additional legal services going forward.

In October, as the airport worked on a legal agreement with Turo, the city’s existing legal counsel raised a concern about the conflict of interest. Attorney Stephen Bingham said that even though the attorneys involved with Turo were not those involved with the airport work, “an attorney and the firm are essentially one and the same.”

The Wright, Lindsey & Jennings contract suggests the firm will work on personnel issues, employment-related laws and regulations and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Occupational Safety and Health Act and the Freedom of Information Act. The firm will also provide legal opinions and recommendations and attend commission meetings. Executive Directors Bryan Malinowski can also assign other tasks, according to the contract.

The contract is set for three years and can be renewed once for the same period of time. The firm’s Jane A. Kim will lead the counsel. Wright, Lindsey & Jennings also employs At-large City Director Antwan Phillipsbut City Attorney Tom Carpenter said there is no city conflict with the firm providing legal counsel to the airport.

The hourly fees outlined in the contract include $250 for partner attorneys, $225 for associate attorneys and $90 for paralegals or legal assistants. The firm can also bill for out-of-pocket expenses such as photocopying and travel.

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