Showing 6 posts in Attorneys' Fees.

At Year-End, Unfinished Business is Still Unfinished Business

As 2014 comes to a close and 2015 is now upon us, it has been a tumultuous year for large law firms that took on lateral partners from other big law firms that recently failed, such as Thelen, Howrey, Coudert Brothers, Heller Ehrman, and Dewey & LeBoeuf. Until this year, bankruptcy trustees had been riding high by asserting unfinished business claims against firms where these partners used to practice. Their prime theory is based on a California appellate court case from the 1980s, Jewel v. Boxer, which involved the dissolution of a four-lawyer firm and its book of contingent fee cases.  More ›

A Penny Saved is not a Penny Earned When Attorney-Litigants Represent Themselves

You've heard the old adage, "a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client." See Kay v. Ehrler (1991) 499 U.S. 432, 438. But do you know why? Though the saying is familiar, many lawyers and law firms continue to represent themselves in disputes. Is it all about the Benjamins?  More ›

Federal and State Consumer Protection Agencies sue Law Firms

The feds, along with attorneys general from 15 states, have recently filed more than three dozen lawsuits against law firms for running illegal foreclosure relief scams. “Operation Mis-Modification,” as it has been dubbed, is being led by the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”). The suits allege that the defendant lawyers charged illegal advance fees for services and falsely promised to prevent foreclosures or renegotiate troubled mortgages. More ›

Voluntary Withdrawal Without a Specific fee Agreement can be Costly

In Winston v. Guelzow, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals considered how attorneys should share contingency fees after the termination of their joint law practice. Winston and Guelzow shared a personal injury practice for a few years. Guelzow decided to end the joint practice, and Winston agreed.

Winston sent to the 13 remaining clients a letter informing them of their options in representation, and recommending that the clients remain with Guelzow. The clients all followed the recommendation. Although there was a verbal agreement on fee sharing during the firm's operation, Winston and Guelzow had no contract for dividing the contingency fees after the separation. When the firm separated and the cases resolved, Guelzow reimbursed Winston for the costs he advanced. Winston sued, seeking a share of the contingency fees from the 13 clients. More ›

Getting Paid: Protect your Statutory Attorney Fees

In Betz v. Diamond Jim's Auto Sales, the Wisconsin Supreme Court considered what happens to statutory attorney fees when a client settles a case without notifying its lawyer. The court was "asked to determine the circumstances under which plaintiff's counsel may recover statutory attorney's fees directly from a defendant when, without counsel's knowledge or approval, the plaintiff and defendant enter into a settlement agreement that does not address attorney's fees."

We all have problem clients, but a client that completely settles its claims without telling you has to be near the top of the list. That's particularly true when you're working on a contingent fee, or expecting to recover statutory fees. More ›

LFP Alert — California Court Awards Attorneys' Fees in Legal Malpractice Case Based on Rates that Exceeded the Actual Amounts Billed

Syers Properties III, Inc. v. Rankin, ___ Cal.Rptr.3d ___, 2014 WL 2192362 (Cal.App. 1st Dist.) 

After the trial court granted the defendants' nonsuit motion, the court awarded the defendants' attorneys' fees. The court allowed the calculation of reasonable hourly rates to be based on the Laffey Matrix, which amounted to higher billable rates than defense counsel's actual billable rates. On appeal, the court upheld the trial court's award of attorneys' fees and rejected the plaintiff's argument that the actual rates billed by defense counsel represented the maximum reasonable hourly rate. More ›

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