Mathews board contracts for legal services

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on May 23, 2012 - 02:59 PM

Photo: Attorney Andrew R. McRoberts of the Richmond firm of Sands Anderson will be handling legal services for Mathews County, replacing county attorney Richard Harfst, who retires in June. Photo by Sherry Hamilton

Attorney Andrew R. McRoberts of the Richmond firm of Sands Anderson will be handling legal services for Mathews County, replacing county attorney Richard Harfst, who retires in June. Photo by Sherry Hamilton

The Mathews Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to engage the Richmond firm Sands Anderson to provide the county with basic county attorney services.

Attorney Andrew R. McRoberts will perform the duties that county attorney Richard Harfst, who retires in June, has been handling, but he won’t be moving to Mathews and working full-time. Instead, McRoberts will work off a budgeted fee, billable at the rate of $250 per hour, with paralegal and clerk services billed at the rate of $150 an hour.

According to the contract, payment will be for a flat annual sum for up to a maximum of 300 billable hours at the $250 an hour rate, but the number of hours can be increased or decreased at the county’s discretion. The county will also reimburse McRoberts for out-of-pocket costs and expenses. The contract can be terminated by the county or Sands Anderson at any time, with or without cause.

The contract further states that McRoberts won’t be representing the Department of Social Services or dealing with public finance and specialized or unusual matters. Supervisors chair Janine Burns said that the Mathews Department of Social Services is searching for its own legal representative because it was difficult to find an attorney who wanted to deal both with basic county attorney services and Social Services issues.

McRoberts said he’s looking forward to representing Mathews County. As a child, he spent summer weekends in the county with his Boy Scout troop, then continued visiting with friends in Bavon as a young man.

A graduate of the College of William and Mary and the University of Richmond law school, McRoberts said he served as a local government attorney for 15 years. He first served as assistant county attorney in Arlington County, then as county attorney in Culpeper and Goochland counties. His firm provides legal services similar to those he’ll be providing for Mathews for a number of counties across the state, including Essex, Caroline and Lancaster counties.