Thursday, April 22, 2010

Pricing Ourselves Out of Existence

One of the struggles I've had with being a lawyer from the very beginning is how much we charge. Usually, the cost of legal fees far exceeded the benefit we provide. This is probably why I ended up in the consumer bankruptcy realm where the cost/benefit analysis of fees and benefit to the client is so clear and so definitive -- I feel like I'm worth every penny of fees based on the benefit to my client.

I was speaking with another attorney yesterday and told him that a couple of my daughters are considering law school as an option. He shook his head and noted that by the time they got through law school, attorneys will have priced themselves out of existence. He then went on to quote several other attorney's hourly rates and noted how ridiculous those rates were. I bit my tongue because one of the rates is what I charge -- and earn.

The demise of my profession may not be eminent, but with technological advances, the free flow of information and the infiltration of money and power into the legal system, financial access to the attorneys for the poor and middle class is in fact threatened. Solutions need to be found, so that the Courts remain Courts of the People and not Courts of the Corporate.

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