Legal bills remind me of the old Groucho Marx quip to the great New Yorker essayist S.J. Perelman --
"From the moment I picked up your book until I put it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend reading it."But it's true -- I think many judges and certainly clients often don't realize how expensive litigation is nowadays.
There's a lot to consider in Vanessa Blum's annual South Florida lawyer compensation survey, though as usual the methodology is flawed because the review is of fee submissions to courts in bankruptcy and from Florida government agencies who have retained private counsel, where fees are usually adjusted downward.
Still, as anyone who does this for a living knows, it costs an awful lot to litigate a case.
Consider Marcos (corrected!) Jimenez, who in a year racked up $700k in fees on behalf of the State of Florida in a valiant but unsuccessful effort to defeat class certification in the children's access-to-medical-care suit pending before Judge Jordan.
His team also handled a bunch of discovery and worked up and lost an sj motion.
(And this was at a discounted rate).
Or my pal Marty Steinberg, who -- seriously -- said his firm raises rates like clockwork every April Fool's Day.
Marty also told Vanessa he is worth every cent of his $695 an hour rate:
Hunton & Williams partner Marty Steinberg, who heads the receivership, said firm billing rates are determined centrally. Increases typically kick in April 1. Steinberg’s hourly rate was $695.This is actually true.
“I assume the firm thinks I’m worth that amount based on my track record,” he said. “I’ve tried hundreds of cases, and I’ve gotten pretty good results.”
But let's not linger on fees. As Betty observed last night on Mad Men -- it's tawdry.
So go hail the conquering explorer Gerard Depardieu, have some fun on the bay with a bunch of drunken sailors, and see you all tomorrow!