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

March 21, 2006

Kilpatrick Likes the Pit Bull Lawyers

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 10:41 pm

Pape & Chandler‘s Pit Bull has a new fan: James J. Kilpatrick.

Asking, “How Do You Feel About Bulldogs?(The Conservative

Voice, March 21, 2006). Kilpatrick describes the battle of the

Ft. Lauderdale motorcycle injury lawyers with the Florida Bar,

asking:


First question: How do you feel about trial lawyers?

 

Second question: How do you feel about pit bull dogs?

May the one breed lawfully adopt an image of the other?

 

dog black

 

The Supreme Court will step into this touchy question if it

agrees to hear an appeal brought by two Fort Lauderdale

lawyers against the Florida Bar.

Kilpatrick rightly notes that “Some close questions of First Amendment

law make it a tough case to call.”   However:


“The Florida lawyers are eloquently represented in the U.S. Supreme

Court by professor Rodney A. Smolla of the University of Richmond

School of Law. In his petition for review he argues persuasively that

lawyers should not be punished for advertising “that is not false,

fraudulent, deceptive, or misleading in any sense.” Good point. Is

the amorphous “dignity of the profession” an interest so overriding

that it trumps a First Amendment right of commercial speech? Good

question.”

Although noting that “Lawyers have had a tough time of it at least since Luke

wrote his gospel 2,000 years ago,” Kilpatrick concludes: 

 

                                                                                     Hoya Jack GUJackMugG


“My own thought comes down to this: If I want to sue my doctor

for a botched operation, give me a pit bull lawyer every time. And

if I learn of his services on TV, so what?

Of course, we’ve been covering this case in depth since May 2004. Here is

our discussion of the pretentious opinion of the Florida Supreme Court in

Florida Bar v. John Pape and Marc ChandlerTwo days ago, we posted

pit bull logo taken down — do you feel more dignified?,” which includes

images of the Pape & Chandler masthead, with and without their Pit Bull

logo.  We have also preserved a P&C pit bull ad here.  

 

update (11:30 PM, March 21):  Marc Chandler just emailed me to say that

1) The Florida Bar waived its right to respond, and 2) the Supreme Court has

not requested a response.  We’re afraid that this makes it highly unlikely that

the case will make it to the “discuss list” and then be granted certiorari.  Let’s

hope miracles nonetheless happen.

 

“PitBullLogo”

 




runaway kite!

the dog also eyes it

restlesslly

 


       translated by David G. Lanoue

 

 

p.s. Speaking of personal injury lawyers, we’re pleased to

say that the first two Google results, this morning, for the

query What Is An Appropriate Contingency Fee> were from

here and here at f/k/a – despite the insults of a certain dignified

p/i lawyer..   



                                                                                       p&c here

 

22 Comments

  1. David –

    Insults? There are no insults. I am just wondering how someone who has not handled personal injury cases, and does not have any experience evaluating personal injury cases can tell those of us who do this for a living what is an appropriate fee or how to run our practices? Did any of us ever tell you what was a fair fee to charge when you were practicing? Oh, and the $64,000 question, that you still have not answered: is it ethical to get involved in a practice area where you do not have competency because you have no experience?

    Comment by Jonathan — March 21, 2006 @ 11:59 pm

  2. David –

    Insults? There are no insults. I am just wondering how someone who has not handled personal injury cases, and does not have any experience evaluating personal injury cases can tell those of us who do this for a living what is an appropriate fee or how to run our practices? Did any of us ever tell you what was a fair fee to charge when you were practicing? Oh, and the $64,000 question, that you still have not answered: is it ethical to get involved in a practice area where you do not have competency because you have no experience?

    Comment by Jonathan — March 21, 2006 @ 11:59 pm

  3. Jonathan Stein, You seem to be saying that only the fox can guard the hen house against foxes.  The notion that only plaintiff’s personal injury lawyers can offer opinions on the fee arrangements of plaintiff’s personal injury lawyers is so silly that I can only assume (1) you have no defense on the merits, and (2) you believe no future client of yours will ever go on the internet to learn more about you.  Real lawyers, law professors, and judges are capable of applying general principles to particular, new facts.  I had to do it all the time as an FTC attorney, law clerk and adjunct professor.  (Oh, yes, and even in the handful of personal injury cases that I worked on while an associate in a general practice law firm — including one where I got the largest frivolousness award to date in our state against defendants who made meritless claims against our client.)
    Of course, I am helped in making my assertion (that contingency fee percentages should vary according to the likely risks being assumed by the p/i lawyer) by the fact that ATLA has said so, and Public Citizen (which is very much in the p/i business) has said so, and several ABA ethics opinions have said so, as have thoughtful law review articles.  Sadly, Public Citizen and the ABA also note that the principles have been mostly “honored in the breach.”   Because I have a weblog that allows me to voice my opinion and inform consumers of their rights, I feel an ethical duty to do so, despite having to deal with widespread ugliness, and false charges about my motives, from the p/i bar.   In my small way, I want to give the hens as much protection as possible from the foxes — especially since the foxes are constantly presenting themselves as the hens’ best friends.
    No p/i lawyer can assess every case correctly.  However, an experienced and successful p/i lawyer is more than capable of consistently distinguishing correctly among the real losers, the highly-likely winners, the medium risks, and the highest risk cases.  Those who can’t, need to consider another field of law or a new career, because they are not capable of giving their clients good advice and fair rates, and because they might find it quite difficult to achieve their desired level of income.

    p.s. Whether or not anyone ever told me how much to charge my clients is irrelevant to the merits of my argument.  Of course, most p/i lawyers who saw what I was charging in my decade as a solo practitioner and divorce mediator would have called me a sucker.  Ditto if they learned that I took a prestigious law degree and went into public service as a consumer advocate — and then made far less money when I left to go into private practice.  My choice.

     

    Comment by David Giacalone — March 22, 2006 @ 11:19 am

  4. Jonathan Stein, You seem to be saying that only the fox can guard the hen house against foxes.  The notion that only plaintiff’s personal injury lawyers can offer opinions on the fee arrangements of plaintiff’s personal injury lawyers is so silly that I can only assume (1) you have no defense on the merits, and (2) you believe no future client of yours will ever go on the internet to learn more about you.  Real lawyers, law professors, and judges are capable of applying general principles to particular, new facts.  I had to do it all the time as an FTC attorney, law clerk and adjunct professor.  (Oh, yes, and even in the handful of personal injury cases that I worked on while an associate in a general practice law firm — including one where I got the largest frivolousness award to date in our state against defendants who made meritless claims against our client.)
    Of course, I am helped in making my assertion (that contingency fee percentages should vary according to the likely risks being assumed by the p/i lawyer) by the fact that ATLA has said so, and Public Citizen (which is very much in the p/i business) has said so, and several ABA ethics opinions have said so, as have thoughtful law review articles.  Sadly, Public Citizen and the ABA also note that the principles have been mostly “honored in the breach.”   Because I have a weblog that allows me to voice my opinion and inform consumers of their rights, I feel an ethical duty to do so, despite having to deal with widespread ugliness, and false charges about my motives, from the p/i bar.   In my small way, I want to give the hens as much protection as possible from the foxes — especially since the foxes are constantly presenting themselves as the hens’ best friends.
    No p/i lawyer can assess every case correctly.  However, an experienced and successful p/i lawyer is more than capable of consistently distinguishing correctly among the real losers, the highly-likely winners, the medium risks, and the highest risk cases.  Those who can’t, need to consider another field of law or a new career, because they are not capable of giving their clients good advice and fair rates, and because they might find it quite difficult to achieve their desired level of income.

    p.s. Whether or not anyone ever told me how much to charge my clients is irrelevant to the merits of my argument.  Of course, most p/i lawyers who saw what I was charging in my decade as a solo practitioner and divorce mediator would have called me a sucker.  Ditto if they learned that I took a prestigious law degree and went into public service as a consumer advocate — and then made far less money when I left to go into private practice.  My choice.

     

    Comment by David Giacalone — March 22, 2006 @ 11:19 am

  5. Jonathan,

    The underpinnings of your post are laughable. One need not practice in the area of plaintiff’s personal injury law to have and express an opinion on contingency fee arrangements, any more than one need direct a movie to have and express an opinion of that movie, or participate in athletics to have and express an opinion about a sports team. I have never directed a movie, but I can tell you that “Ishtar” and “Water World” were terrible. I have never played NBA basketball, but I can tell you that the Clippers have been terrible.

    I would be shocked to learn that the justices of the Florida Supreme Court ever practiced plaintiff’s PI law, but they set the fee schedule that is presumptively reasonable. Do you question their authority to do so?

    Finally, I don’t see David getting involved in PI. He did not discuss substantive law, procedural law, trial tactics or other aspects of PI law, he merely commented on contingency fee arrangements.

    Comment by Marc Chandler — March 22, 2006 @ 12:17 pm

  6. Jonathan,

    The underpinnings of your post are laughable. One need not practice in the area of plaintiff’s personal injury law to have and express an opinion on contingency fee arrangements, any more than one need direct a movie to have and express an opinion of that movie, or participate in athletics to have and express an opinion about a sports team. I have never directed a movie, but I can tell you that “Ishtar” and “Water World” were terrible. I have never played NBA basketball, but I can tell you that the Clippers have been terrible.

    I would be shocked to learn that the justices of the Florida Supreme Court ever practiced plaintiff’s PI law, but they set the fee schedule that is presumptively reasonable. Do you question their authority to do so?

    Finally, I don’t see David getting involved in PI. He did not discuss substantive law, procedural law, trial tactics or other aspects of PI law, he merely commented on contingency fee arrangements.

    Comment by Marc Chandler — March 22, 2006 @ 12:17 pm

  7. Marc and David –

    You seem to miss my point. You do not have to be a director to say a movie sucks. Just like David can tell me that the RESULT of my case is not good. But, you do have to be a director to tell someone HOW to direct. David wants to tell us HOW to handle cases, HOW to charge fees, and he wants us to do this BEFORE we get all of the facts involved in a case. You have to have some experience in this area in order to tell someone how to evaluate cases. Marc, do you evaluate every case according to David’s rules? Do you charge every client a different fee when you sign up the case? Remember, it is not enough to have a sliding fee schedule for each client, but David wants you to take the time to evaluate each case before you sign up the client.

    Comment by Jonathan — March 22, 2006 @ 1:41 pm

  8. Marc and David –

    You seem to miss my point. You do not have to be a director to say a movie sucks. Just like David can tell me that the RESULT of my case is not good. But, you do have to be a director to tell someone HOW to direct. David wants to tell us HOW to handle cases, HOW to charge fees, and he wants us to do this BEFORE we get all of the facts involved in a case. You have to have some experience in this area in order to tell someone how to evaluate cases. Marc, do you evaluate every case according to David’s rules? Do you charge every client a different fee when you sign up the case? Remember, it is not enough to have a sliding fee schedule for each client, but David wants you to take the time to evaluate each case before you sign up the client.

    Comment by Jonathan — March 22, 2006 @ 1:41 pm

  9. Jonathan,

    The point of my post was, quite simply, that David is entitled to his opinion regarding contingency fees, and that he need not be a plaintiff’s PI practitioner to form, hold, or communicate those opinions.

    Having said that, I understand your concerns regarding sliding scale contingency fee contracts. There are cases that you know, at the outset, that you will be able to settle in one or two letters, and it would seem equitable to charge a lower percentage on those case. The problem with that theory is two-fold: there is more to a case than collecting funds, and you do not win every case. We take pride, not only in maximizing the recovery for our clients, but also in minimizing the distributions to health care providers and collateral sources of indemnity who have subrogation liens. Many times, we spend more time working out liens on the back end of the case than we do acquiring the funds from the indemnity company. We feel that we add value by minimizing the payouts in those cases. In addition to that, every once in a while a jury finds for the defendant, or awards our client smaller than expected compensation. Not once in those situations has the client come to us and said “you put in a lot of time and effort, and you deserve more, so let me give you a little extra.”

    The other problem is that we do not have the ability to predict what may happen in a case. Sometimes a case looks like a slam-dunk at the outset and it turns into a major battle. The sliding scale is better adapted for retroactive application, but that would violate contract law and the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar.

    To answer your question, we do attempt to evaluate every case at the outset, but we do not use a sliding scale.

    Comment by Marc Chandler — March 22, 2006 @ 2:59 pm

  10. Jonathan,

    The point of my post was, quite simply, that David is entitled to his opinion regarding contingency fees, and that he need not be a plaintiff’s PI practitioner to form, hold, or communicate those opinions.

    Having said that, I understand your concerns regarding sliding scale contingency fee contracts. There are cases that you know, at the outset, that you will be able to settle in one or two letters, and it would seem equitable to charge a lower percentage on those case. The problem with that theory is two-fold: there is more to a case than collecting funds, and you do not win every case. We take pride, not only in maximizing the recovery for our clients, but also in minimizing the distributions to health care providers and collateral sources of indemnity who have subrogation liens. Many times, we spend more time working out liens on the back end of the case than we do acquiring the funds from the indemnity company. We feel that we add value by minimizing the payouts in those cases. In addition to that, every once in a while a jury finds for the defendant, or awards our client smaller than expected compensation. Not once in those situations has the client come to us and said “you put in a lot of time and effort, and you deserve more, so let me give you a little extra.”

    The other problem is that we do not have the ability to predict what may happen in a case. Sometimes a case looks like a slam-dunk at the outset and it turns into a major battle. The sliding scale is better adapted for retroactive application, but that would violate contract law and the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar.

    To answer your question, we do attempt to evaluate every case at the outset, but we do not use a sliding scale.

    Comment by Marc Chandler — March 22, 2006 @ 2:59 pm

  11. Marc –

    Anyone can say anything about any topic. That is not my concern. David, however, is holding himself out as some sort of ethical guru about PI fees when that is outside of his practice area. He puts out a “Bill of Rights” and writes extensively about how we should be charging when he has never practiced in this area. To borrow from your earlier analogy, how about if I put out a “Director’s Bill of Rights” just by reading up on what a director does and some things put out by SAG? I can do it, but does that mean I SHOULD do it?

    Comment by Jonathan — March 22, 2006 @ 8:48 pm

  12. Marc –

    Anyone can say anything about any topic. That is not my concern. David, however, is holding himself out as some sort of ethical guru about PI fees when that is outside of his practice area. He puts out a “Bill of Rights” and writes extensively about how we should be charging when he has never practiced in this area. To borrow from your earlier analogy, how about if I put out a “Director’s Bill of Rights” just by reading up on what a director does and some things put out by SAG? I can do it, but does that mean I SHOULD do it?

    Comment by Jonathan — March 22, 2006 @ 8:48 pm

  13. Jonathan, the Florida Supreme Court promulgated a “Statement of Client’s Rights” that must be signed in conjunction with a contingency fee contract. As I said earlier, I am pretty confident that most of the justices of the Florida Supreme Court have never practiced in the realm of plaintiff’s personal injury work, but no one doubts their competence in that venture.

    Comment by Marc Chandler — March 22, 2006 @ 9:20 pm

  14. Jonathan, the Florida Supreme Court promulgated a “Statement of Client’s Rights” that must be signed in conjunction with a contingency fee contract. As I said earlier, I am pretty confident that most of the justices of the Florida Supreme Court have never practiced in the realm of plaintiff’s personal injury work, but no one doubts their competence in that venture.

    Comment by Marc Chandler — March 22, 2006 @ 9:20 pm

  15. Marc, Thank you for joining the discussion. 
    I have a few questions I hope you and Jonathan will answer for the benefit of consumers and lawyers:  In both of your States, clients are told they have “the right to negotiate” fees.   In Florida, the continency fee limitations are specific about the percentages to be charged as the maximum in various situations. 
    What does a right to negotiate mean, if not the right to seek lower rates than the customary or maximums, or the lawyer’s initial offering?  And, what criteria would the client and lawyer use, if they negotiate?  It surely can’t (only) be “How hungry is the lawyer?”  Isn’t the lawyer’s likely risk the most appropriate standard — after all, it is that risk which justifies making fees in p/i cases that are often many times the hourly rates of other similarly experienced local lawyers?
    Also, how can we say that a client has the right to negotiate if virtually no lawyer will do any negotiating?
    Finally, if the client has the right to bargain for the fee level, doesn’t the lawyer-fiduciary have an obligation to give good faith information to the client to allow him or her to bargain in an intelligent and reasonable manner?   If not, where did the ABA Ethics Opinion 94-389 go wrong when it mandated a duty to fully inform the client?
    Thanks for any light you can shed on these issues.

    Comment by David Giacalone — March 22, 2006 @ 9:41 pm

  16. Marc, Thank you for joining the discussion. 
    I have a few questions I hope you and Jonathan will answer for the benefit of consumers and lawyers:  In both of your States, clients are told they have “the right to negotiate” fees.   In Florida, the continency fee limitations are specific about the percentages to be charged as the maximum in various situations. 
    What does a right to negotiate mean, if not the right to seek lower rates than the customary or maximums, or the lawyer’s initial offering?  And, what criteria would the client and lawyer use, if they negotiate?  It surely can’t (only) be “How hungry is the lawyer?”  Isn’t the lawyer’s likely risk the most appropriate standard — after all, it is that risk which justifies making fees in p/i cases that are often many times the hourly rates of other similarly experienced local lawyers?
    Also, how can we say that a client has the right to negotiate if virtually no lawyer will do any negotiating?
    Finally, if the client has the right to bargain for the fee level, doesn’t the lawyer-fiduciary have an obligation to give good faith information to the client to allow him or her to bargain in an intelligent and reasonable manner?   If not, where did the ABA Ethics Opinion 94-389 go wrong when it mandated a duty to fully inform the client?
    Thanks for any light you can shed on these issues.

    Comment by David Giacalone — March 22, 2006 @ 9:41 pm

  17. David, I don’t see any mystery in the nomenclature utilized by the Florida Supreme Court in stating that contingency fees are negotiable. A potential client has the right to attempt to bargain with a lawyer over many issues including fees prior to signing the contract. There are a multitude of criteria that a client can use when attempting to bargain with the lawyer, and the lawyer can accept or reject those arguments.

    The factors you suggest seem logical, but I would not find them persuasive on a case by case basis because, as stated earlier, what may look like a simple case at the outset can change immediately. I would analogize it to a health insurer who charges people of a certain age the same premium regardless of their physical condition in that the risk is spread over a large number of individuals. ther may be some people who never make a claim, and some people who make many claims. You can not contract based on things that may change in a moments notice. What if you sign up a great case, give the client a reduced fee and you sink a ton of money into it, and your client commits suicide before you get to trial? Conversely, should I offer a rebate if a case that looks tough at the outset becomes a laydown?

    Just because the client has a right to negotiate doesn’t mean that the lawyer will. I’m sure there are people who will negotiate fees.

    I am not familiar with the ethics opinion you site.

    Comment by Marc Chandler — March 23, 2006 @ 2:22 pm

  18. David, I don’t see any mystery in the nomenclature utilized by the Florida Supreme Court in stating that contingency fees are negotiable. A potential client has the right to attempt to bargain with a lawyer over many issues including fees prior to signing the contract. There are a multitude of criteria that a client can use when attempting to bargain with the lawyer, and the lawyer can accept or reject those arguments.

    The factors you suggest seem logical, but I would not find them persuasive on a case by case basis because, as stated earlier, what may look like a simple case at the outset can change immediately. I would analogize it to a health insurer who charges people of a certain age the same premium regardless of their physical condition in that the risk is spread over a large number of individuals. ther may be some people who never make a claim, and some people who make many claims. You can not contract based on things that may change in a moments notice. What if you sign up a great case, give the client a reduced fee and you sink a ton of money into it, and your client commits suicide before you get to trial? Conversely, should I offer a rebate if a case that looks tough at the outset becomes a laydown?

    Just because the client has a right to negotiate doesn’t mean that the lawyer will. I’m sure there are people who will negotiate fees.

    I am not familiar with the ethics opinion you site.

    Comment by Marc Chandler — March 23, 2006 @ 2:22 pm

  19. Thanks for your extensive Comments, Marc.  Your health insurer analogy is a good one — and it would be very nice if p/i lawyers would attempt some kind of categorization based on likely risks (even using perhaps three categories once a case is accepted).  Instead, p/i lawyers — supposedly fiduciaries, and acting like they are doing clients a very big favor — basically put all clients into the highest risk category, and reap the benefits for themselves.  You (I mean all tort lawyers who refuse to set contingency rates based on their experienced best judgment of risk) act as if any risk at all, and any imaginable bad scenario, justifies using the maximum rate allowed and refusing to negotiate.  (I believe you recently told me that you know of no Florida p/i lawyer who will negotiate the rates, despite the explicit so-called right granted to their clients.  As I mentioned above, it should not just be the deperate lawyer who negotiates — it should be every one who wants to be fair to a client: who wants to get the client all he or she deserves and to take only as much as the lawyer deserves).
    Yes, at times you will estimate incorrectly — that is what risk means.  But, it will happen in both directions (and I bet with a tendency to overstate risk, and the likelihood of expenses being fully covered, plus a fairly decent fee, even when underestimation mistakes are made).  A good faith evaluation and discussion with the client is what is called for, not a crystal ball.
    It is a very sad commentary that even the most conscientious p/i lawyers, like yourself, are not familiar with ABA Formal Ethics Opinion 94-389, since it is the single most comprehensive analysis of contingency fees.    It is a testament to the power (and purposes) of the p/i bar that — rather than following the principles in that opinion and taking its advice to redouble efforts to educate the bar — they have deep-sixed it, because it did not suit their financial interests.   It covers many aspects of contingency fees, and the informational aspects — what must be discussed with the client prior to entering into the fee agreement — are those that I have set forth in the Injured Consumer’s Bill of Rights for Contingency Fees.  Op. 94-389 says that the lawyer “should take all these factors into account in evaluating every case” and should discuss them with every client:
    The Opinion is available from the ABA and many other sources that provide their decisions, but I can’t give you an online, free link.  I did my best to summarize the relevant parts relating to the standard fee here.  
    Thanks again for the conversation.

    Comment by David Giacalone — March 23, 2006 @ 3:09 pm

  20. Thanks for your extensive Comments, Marc.  Your health insurer analogy is a good one — and it would be very nice if p/i lawyers would attempt some kind of categorization based on likely risks (even using perhaps three categories once a case is accepted).  Instead, p/i lawyers — supposedly fiduciaries, and acting like they are doing clients a very big favor — basically put all clients into the highest risk category, and reap the benefits for themselves.  You (I mean all tort lawyers who refuse to set contingency rates based on their experienced best judgment of risk) act as if any risk at all, and any imaginable bad scenario, justifies using the maximum rate allowed and refusing to negotiate.  (I believe you recently told me that you know of no Florida p/i lawyer who will negotiate the rates, despite the explicit so-called right granted to their clients.  As I mentioned above, it should not just be the deperate lawyer who negotiates — it should be every one who wants to be fair to a client: who wants to get the client all he or she deserves and to take only as much as the lawyer deserves).
    Yes, at times you will estimate incorrectly — that is what risk means.  But, it will happen in both directions (and I bet with a tendency to overstate risk, and the likelihood of expenses being fully covered, plus a fairly decent fee, even when underestimation mistakes are made).  A good faith evaluation and discussion with the client is what is called for, not a crystal ball.
    It is a very sad commentary that even the most conscientious p/i lawyers, like yourself, are not familiar with ABA Formal Ethics Opinion 94-389, since it is the single most comprehensive analysis of contingency fees.    It is a testament to the power (and purposes) of the p/i bar that — rather than following the principles in that opinion and taking its advice to redouble efforts to educate the bar — they have deep-sixed it, because it did not suit their financial interests.   It covers many aspects of contingency fees, and the informational aspects — what must be discussed with the client prior to entering into the fee agreement — are those that I have set forth in the Injured Consumer’s Bill of Rights for Contingency Fees.  Op. 94-389 says that the lawyer “should take all these factors into account in evaluating every case” and should discuss them with every client:
    The Opinion is available from the ABA and many other sources that provide their decisions, but I can’t give you an online, free link.  I did my best to summarize the relevant parts relating to the standard fee here.  
    Thanks again for the conversation.

    Comment by David Giacalone — March 23, 2006 @ 3:09 pm

  21. David, there is a law firm in South Florida that advertises with the number (866) FAIR FEE. I met one of the partners in the firm at the Dade County Courthouse a couple of weeks ago, but I did not discuss attorneys fees with him. Based on his telephone number, he may be willing to reduce his fees, but I can not say if he does with any certainty. As I may have pointed out in the past, we try a very high percentage of our cases. As you know, trial work is risky, and we have been on the short end of the verdict a couple of times, and not once has a client said “here is a little something for the effort” after a loss. We live in a free market economy, and if a potential client doesn’t want to pay my fee, s/he is free to seek assistance from another attorney. We actually reduced our fee on a couple of occasions early on, and not only wound up doing copious amount of work on the files, but didn’t receive much gratitude from the clients after achieving good results for them. Those experiences tempered our desire to reduce fees. I would also like to point out that we have, on numerous occasions, decided to not take a fee when the recovery was limited by a small insurance policy. As for ABA opinions, I confess that I have spent much more time studying substantive law and procedural law that applies to my practice than I have ABA opinions. While I have read the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar from cover to cover on several occasions (all that I am charged with knowing), I feel that I am most effective as a fiduciary when I know the details of the laws that effect our clients’ cases.

    Comment by Marc Chandler — March 23, 2006 @ 4:19 pm

  22. David, there is a law firm in South Florida that advertises with the number (866) FAIR FEE. I met one of the partners in the firm at the Dade County Courthouse a couple of weeks ago, but I did not discuss attorneys fees with him. Based on his telephone number, he may be willing to reduce his fees, but I can not say if he does with any certainty. As I may have pointed out in the past, we try a very high percentage of our cases. As you know, trial work is risky, and we have been on the short end of the verdict a couple of times, and not once has a client said “here is a little something for the effort” after a loss. We live in a free market economy, and if a potential client doesn’t want to pay my fee, s/he is free to seek assistance from another attorney. We actually reduced our fee on a couple of occasions early on, and not only wound up doing copious amount of work on the files, but didn’t receive much gratitude from the clients after achieving good results for them. Those experiences tempered our desire to reduce fees. I would also like to point out that we have, on numerous occasions, decided to not take a fee when the recovery was limited by a small insurance policy. As for ABA opinions, I confess that I have spent much more time studying substantive law and procedural law that applies to my practice than I have ABA opinions. While I have read the Rules Regulating the Florida Bar from cover to cover on several occasions (all that I am charged with knowing), I feel that I am most effective as a fiduciary when I know the details of the laws that effect our clients’ cases.

    Comment by Marc Chandler — March 23, 2006 @ 4:19 pm

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