Monday, March 1, 2010

Law firm targeted for 'trading' clients

In our Torts class this morning, our professor gave us an interesting question about damages: if you help a client recover $750,000 in a settlement, but work only two hours on the case, should you still be able to collect one-third of the damages based on a valid contingent fee agreement? His answer, essentially, was that yes, the attorney could collect the full one-third, but that no, the attorney should not try to collect the full amount because it would be bad business. Clients should always walk out of the office satisfied, he argued, and paying $250,000 for two hours of work is typically not a good way to make a customer happy.

Law school teaches us a lot about theory, and a decent amount about practice, but business is something else. Which brings to mind a fascinating story in The Courier-Journal this past Sunday about a law firm and a medical clinic that allegedly have a cozy relationship with each other. The author, Andy Wolfson, is a former colleague and a reporter who some lawyers love to hate. His byline has appeared over some of the most sensational cases of legal malpractice in Kentucky over the last few decades. His articles are required reading for someone planning to practice in Louisville. I'm eager to see how this story plays out over the coming months. Your thoughts?

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