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

March 20, 2006

practice, practice, toil and trouble (updated)

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 6:32 pm

Your editor got waylaid today, over at The Practice, responding to
a post called “The Contingency Fee Under Attack,” by p/i lawyer
Jonathan Stein, who purports to care about the image of lawyers.
I might have ignored the post, or left a few sentences and links to
articles here, but this paragraph was part of Jonathan’s piece:

“Finally, and this is what really set me off on this, the contin-
gency fee is under attack, and it is under attack by people
who just don’t get it. For example, there are some poetry
writing attorneys, who are not even practicing and have never
handled PI work, but argue that the contingency fee (sometimes
called the “standard contingency fee” which is garbage by itself)
is unfair. Of course, he also criticizes value billing. Interestingly,
I do not see him criticizing the hourly fee, which in some instances
is $500 per hour or more. I guess he is either too old to come to
terms with anything other than the hourly fee, too lazy to analyze
the contingency fee in context, or too afraid of being left behind
by the times.”
Since Mr. Stein was clearly talking about me, but didn’t even bother to
link to my materials about the standard contingency fee or value billing,
or refer to me by name, I felt that I needed to give a thorough response
at his site.  [update (March 22, 2006): By the way, Mr. Stein insists that
there are no insults in the above paragraph.]
                                                                                           boy writing neg
I left two rather lengthy Comments there.  Habitual readers of this site,
hopefully, do not think of me as being too lazy and afraid, a part of the
vast tort re-form conspiracy, nor incapable of capable analysis.  You also 
know there’s only one poetry-writing lawyer pundit here.  All in all, an an-
noying incident, brought on it seems, by my disagreement with Jonathan
Stein’s position that “Heavy Hitter” advertising should be banned as mis-
leading and undignified.
afterthought (March 21, 2006): If you happen to be interested
in my pro-client take on contingency fees and value billing, and
would rather not learn about them at Jonathan Stein’s place, there
are plenty of links on the Fees Page of the ethicalEsq Archives. 
I’m not against the contingency fee.  I merely believe that clients have
these Rights when entering into such an agreement and that lawyers
should base the percentage fee on the likely risk they are taking, and
not apply a standard rate to every client.  Similarly, I’m not against alter-
natives to hourly billing, but I am against those who use the mantra
of Value Billing as a ruse to charge clients more than they would
be charged under hourly billing.  See, e.g., here and here. 
complaint billF
My feelings that the legal profession is too greedy and that too many
lawyers charge far more than they are worth can be found through-
out this site, and in comments across the internet. [see, e.g.,
Since I have already exceeded my agita-quota for this Season,
call a libel lawyer, please let me know.

tiny check  Law Practice Tipper Jim Calloway decided to include
Stein’s Contingency Fee post in Blawg Review #49
today, while snubbing f/k/a‘s workproduct from last
week [– see update immediately below.] Nonetheless,
we urge you to cull the offerings in Blawg Review #49 —
if only, to keep in the habit for our hosting gig on April 10th
and George Wallace’s bi-blogal feat on April 3rd.
update (April 7, 2006):  I just learned from Jim Calloway
that he had tried to include a post from f/k/a in BR49, but
ran into the problem, at the time he had to post his edition,
 of our webserver being down.  He thought he had a bad link
and could not get a correct one due to the webserver problem.
We should have known Jim is a straight-shooter and apologize
for any suggestion he might have had ulterior motives.  It would,
of course, have been nice to have been included once Jim
learned the link was good and the webserver functioning. That
has not happened.

raindropS It’s been a long day.  Let’s celebrate the arrival of Spring,
seen through the eyes of peggy lyles:   
the winter look
of baby’s breath
in bloom
hand prints

paw prints
across the moon roof
cats in love

a whistle
cut from bamboo
the long day


old homeplace . . .
around the pear tree
fragrant light

spring sunbeam
the baby’s toes
spread apart

Pinecone  (The North Georgia Haiku Society)
                                                                                                                                    one third gray

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