f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

April 3, 2006

contingency fees: risk matters

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 6:55 pm

Many members of the personal injury bar argue that you have to be

a tort-reformin’, insurer-lovin’, consumer-hatin,’ ethics whore — or

a dupe of the above — to assert that contigency fees should relate

to the risk being taken by the lawyer in a particular case.  I don’t

know if the tort lawyers really believe their own propaganda, but

they do profess this belief, while reminding the world that they “earn”

their above-hourly-fee premimum precisely because they are taking

the huge risk of working hard, and fronting litigation expenses, without

being compensated at all, or enough.

tiny check The main components of the risk are, of course, how

likely the client is to succeed with the claim, how much

is likely to be awarded and collected, and how much work

and resources the law firm is likely to put into the case. The

risk is lower, and the fee should therefore be lower, when

the case is likely to be a winner with a big jackpot, and when

relatively fewer hours and dollars will be expended to win.



When legal ethics experts espouse the link between the reasonable-

ness of a contingency fee and the perceived risk at the time the fee 

arrangement is being entered, they are called captives of evil forces or 

simply insensitive simpletons who will destroy the American justice

system and deprive the injured Little Guy of competent legal counsel   

(see, for example, this Jan. 2004 article from the Miami Herald, and this

press release by Public Citizen, for sample p/i rhetoric).  


The p/i bar points to the ubiquitous use of what appears to be — but

they no longer acknowldge to be — a standard percentage rate in most

jurisdictions, and the lack of disciplinary action against such fees.  That

is supposed to settle the debate.




Well, before I give up, I thought I would point out again just who — besides

people like Lester Brickman, Derek Bok, Howard Phillips, and myself, plus  

lots of state and federal judges  — is on record saying that risk is central

in evaluating the reasonableness of a contingency fee. 


In case you have a short attention span or are in a hurry, I’ll start with my

Big Gun: The American Trial Lawyers Association. . . . . 


. . . . please click to read the rest of this post,

which is part II of a four-part series, that includes: 




more honorary haijin gumbahs

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 2:33 am

Talk about too much punditry and not enough poetry!

Sunday was a poetic loss for me


Before I crawl toward my bed this night, I’m going to make

up for it with haiku and senryu from my semi-paisano in

Michigan, Ed Markowski, and my Rt. 9 Haiku gumbah-neighbors,

Hilary Tann and Tom Clausen.  As I explained late Saturday night,

concerning the original honorary pair, not all of my gumbahs” are





 hilary tann


some branches

remained bowed

this spring





March wind —

more garbage

in the trees






the path of a canoe     in parted duckweed








river mist

shadows of the geese

I hear






my dog’s nose

to the ground







spring morning

we argue about crab apple

and cherry blossoms







Hilary Tann – Upstate Dim Sum (2003/II)   “DandelionClock” 






within the red wine

a nap in my chair



spring wind –

the kid in the neighborhood

has a new whistle















steady rain

a pickle

in the parking lot









Discovery channel —

an older male vanquished

heads for the hills






in the middle

of some construction

a lilac blooms






just arrived —

their dog sniffs

our tires







                   * other

                             * pales



















afternoon nap

   i fall asleep

     in a dream







    organic grocery

       the question in her eyes

         when i ask for Tang







                   spring fever?

                     i’ve had it

                       for 36 long years








early thaw …
for a moment
mother remembers my name


           Mainichi Daily News (April 1, 2006, No. 682)

EdMarkowskiG     ed markowski   (2006)




tiny check Speaking of poets and honorary gumbas, George M. Wallace has

been very busy the past few days, preparing both a [shudder] April

Fool’s Blawg Review Prequel (at his award-winning Fool in the Forest

weblog) and the actual Blawg Review #51 (at his “serious” Declarations

& Exclusions insurance law site).   Apparently, lawyers can choose between

beer-bellies and six-packs, wineskins and lambskins in their pursuit of personal

and professional fulfillment.  From the tenor of some of the links presented, dollar

signs seem to be getting in the way of either form of satisfaction.

update (11 AM): I just realized it is Armenian Appreciation Day

(according to this list, at least).  Best wishes to my favorite Armen-

ian-American and bocce teammate, Leta Hunter of Scotia, New York. 


don't forget tack neg  You might want to mark your calendars for one

of more of the following “special” remembrance or

celebration days:

5- National Mule Day
7- National No Housework Day
9- National Chicken Little Awareness Day
12- Vote Lawyers Out of Office Day
13- Blame Somebody Else Day
14- Moment of Laughter Day
15- Type 3 Product Day [??]
17- National Blah Blah Blah Day 



                                                                                             “multo bene” boy writing neg


Powered by WordPress