In a December issue of the Wall Street Journal, the headline implies that lawyers are making far too much money in a Delaware case. This, despite the unheralded reduction in their fee request. But, it’s easy too trash lawyers, and good headline writers (a special art in writing) are brilliant in getting readers to pick up the paper and keep reading …
But, let’s look at the facts:
First, the judge in the case said that the plaintiffs lawyers did an outstanding job, not just good, and such work should be rewarded. This is the same judge who historically penalizes lawyers when they fail to get results.
Second, the agreement between plaintiffs’ lawyers and plaintiffs permitted counsel to ask the court for 30% and they applied for less, only 15%, not a normally outrageous percentage.
Third, the risk reward element of contingency cases should be evaluated as of the beginning of a matter. And in this case, the risk of no recovery was substantial. Victory was, by no means, assured. Monday morning quarter-backing is always performed by those who have a corporate bias, have no interest in the matter and just want to carp, are jealous or, worse, feel that lawyers should be heard, not seen. Reminds me of the criticism against lawyers who sued Ronald Reagan, as governor of California. Despite the fact that the lawyers won most, if not all, the lawsuits brought against the abuse by the State, neither the facts nor the victories was much discussed by those with a political agenda.
Last, these arguments that the lawyers’ hourly billing rates were too high fly in the face of value billing, the new wave for corporate America. In other words, the results in this case were based on the value to the clients resulting from the effort and skill of the lawyers. In most cases, hourly billing results in higher legal fees … fees unrelated to the value received by the client … and fees that created certainty in the cost of the legal proceeding, an important factor to clients in most matters. It’s important to know what the legal cost will be before embarking on a matter. Value billing provides this.
Thus, the criticism offered by the writer in the WSJ is off target, to say the least. Most criticisms against legal billings involve the hourly billings … here, value billing was requested by the lawyers and their clients and approved by the court. Hoorays should have been the proffered by the writer, not whining.
Unique Honor Given To Law Firm Management Expert
California State Bar’s Law Practice Management and Technology Section
Gives Out Their First Lifetime Achievement Award
Venice, CA: (December 8th, 2010) – Edward Poll, principal of LawBiz® Management, recently received the honor of the first ever Lifetime Achievement Award handed out by the California State Bar’s Law Practice Management and Technology (LPMT) Section. The award, which was named after him, was given due to his extraordinary level of service, enthusiasm, and vocal advocating for small firms and solo practitioners.
“Ed deserves the award because he epitomizes what this section is about,” says Robert Brownstone, the chair of the LPMT executive committee. “He has such a tremendous amount of experience and displays so much genuine passion to give back to the legal community. He’s been a mentor to all of us.”
The LPMT section, which has been operating for nearly 32 years, works to help lawyers practice more profitably and ethically. It’s the only section in the California State Bar that focuses solely on the practical aspects of growing a law practice.
The section’s committee is composed of 15 members as well as a few Special Advisor positions. Each year, the Special Advisor positions are open to committee election. For the last five years Ed has served as a Special Advisor. The reason for his continued participation is largely due to his extensive knowledge and commitment to promoting outstanding practice management.
In over 25 years of experience as a practicing attorney, Poll has lectured at UCLA and done countless speaking, coaching, and training engagements. He’s published over a dozen books and is a syndicated columnist in all the Lawyers Weekly publications. He is one of the most active members in the legal profession on the web, posting regular YouTube videos, Blawg entries, and newsletters. Poll’s efforts have literally helped thousands of lawyers create more rewarding practices.
“I was surprised and extremely honored to have received the award,” says Poll. “It was very humbling to be honored by the committee and to have the award named after me. This is truly one of my greatest achievements!”
If you’d like to schedule an interview with Ed Poll to learn more about his award or discuss the challenges law practices face in the 21st century, please contact Luke Messecar at email@example.com or at 617.717.8294.
About Ed Poll
Ed Poll, J.D., M.B.A., CMC, is a nationally recognized expert in law practice management. He helps attorneys and law firms increase their profitability consulting with them on issues of internal operations, business development, and financial matters. Poll brings his clients a solid background in both law and business. He has 25 years experience as a practicing attorney and has also served as CEO and COO for several manufacturing businesses. In 1990 he founded LawBiz® Management Company and is now focused on coaching, speaking, and training law firms.