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January 26, 2005

BlawgCoop News: Welcome Bad Glacier!

Blawgcoop, the co-op for law-related blogs, continues to grow be eeps and zounds. Please take a minute to stop by and say hello to the 'coop's newest member, Bad Glacier. BG took advantage of the divine angst-inspired “get your own domain but host with blawgcoop” plan, and is also the first user to choose WordPress as blog tool of choice. This has given me reason to play around a little w/WP, and I'm liking it more and more. In other blawgcoop news, half-cocked has a spiffy new design for our viewing pleasure—“now with extra monochrome!” It apparently isn't quite finished yet, but it's pretty spiffy, nonetheless. Elsewhere, Legal Fictions seems to have hit something of a blogging wall—the last post was in December about finals frustration. Perhaps LF could use the advice from Professor Yin, which is the subject of the latest update at Blawg Wisdom.

Posted 07:20 AM | meta-blogging

Percentage Contingency Fees

From Professional Responsibility reading:
Even though the same amount of work is involved, the whiplash verdict might be $4,500, for a fee of $50 per hour, while the amputation verdict might be $200,000, providing a fee of more than $6,000 per hour. ... [The author notes that fees can be even more disproportionate to work done by the lawyer in cases that settle before trial, which is the vast majority.] Surely there is much to be said for providing a means to permit indigent persons to engage counsel to press meritorious suits. ... [But t]he problem, it seems to me, is that we have regarded the “one third contingent fee” arrangement as applicable to all cases invovling personal injuries, without paying enough attention to the facts of the particular case and the needs of the particular client.
Thomas D. Morgan & Ronald D. Rotunda, Professional Responsibility, 5th ed. 105, quoting John F. Grady, “Some Ethical Questions About Percentage Fees,” 2 Litigation 20 (Summer, 1976.). No wonder there are so many personal injury lawyers advertising on tv! Questions prompted by these readings:
  • What would our society be like if lawyers made little to no money, or if a career as a lawyer only made average money, instead of above average (on average)?
  • How could we make this happen? How could we take the money out of the practice of law?
  • In a “free market” for legal services, would there be an excess of lawyers and a shortage of work?
  • In what ways is the current market for legal services not “free”?
  • Would fixed fees for routine (or even non-routine) services make the legal market more competitive (and drive down prices for consumers)?
See also: Writings by Lisa G. Lerman on unethical billing practices by lawyers (focused primarily on the billable hour). Patrick J. Schiltz, “On Being a Happy, Healthy, and Ethical Member of an Unhappy, Unhealthy, and Unethical Profession,” 52 Vand. L. Rev. 871 (1999).

Posted 07:04 AM | Comments (5) | 2L

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