Pickerington City Council voted 6-1 on Dec. 15 to continue receiving legal services from Columbus-based Schottenstein, Zox & Dunn in 2010 and 2011.

Pickerington City Council voted 6-1 on Dec. 15 to continue receiving legal services from Columbus-based Schottenstein, Zox & Dunn in 2010 and 2011.

Under the terms of the two year contract, the city will pay the firm $15,000 per month for general legal services. Schottenstein, Zox & Dunn has represented the city since 2005.

The contract mirrors an agreement the city maintained with SZD in 2009.

"The $15,000 per month is the same rate as we paid (this) year," Pickerington municipal clerk Lynda Yartin said. "They did not raise the rate."

The lone opponent to the new contract was Councilman Mike Sabatino, who preferred to seek less expensive legal representation.

"We fully appreciate the fine work this fine firm does, but I think they are a little pricey for what we should pay," he said.

Although no other council members commented on the contract prior to the Dec. 15 vote, Councilman Brian Wisniewski on Dec. 1 defended the city's decision to retain SZD for another two years.

"When we paid a cheaper fee for legal services, we found ourselves at the end of many lawsuits," Wisniewski said.

Pickerington does not have an in-house city attorney.

As of Dec. 17, the city had paid $245,168 for legal services this year, according to Yartin.

"That figure includes Schottenstein and other attorneys," she said.

According to firm officials, SZD was established in 1966 and has more than 125 attorneys in offices in Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland.

The firm's attorneys work in 11 practice areas, including public law and government relations, labor and employment, workplace safety and real estate and land use.

In addition to contracting services for specific issues, a SZD attorney regularly attends city meetings to provide legal consultation.