Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Do older lawyers feel threatened by ambitious associates?

Ever gotten the feeling that more established attorneys are lawyer209/20/17
There's definitely a possessiveness to the profession that I nofaultkillself09/20/17
Fascinating to see the boomer ladies portraying themselves a sanka09/20/17
Sex doesn't matter. When you say boomer, nothing further ne themapmaster09/20/17
This. This times one hundred! If I am still in this business defectoantesto09/21/17
Hillary Clinton never really help any young female politicia mrlollipop09/20/17
It's not a jealousy thing. It's a cherry-picking thing. Ol jeffm09/20/17
Senior/Middle aged cuks are just that plus law game fuks wit triplesix09/20/17
Good grief the generation warfare stuff here is over the top loblawyer09/20/17
I'm somewhere in the middle, and trust me, no one is concern oddis50009/20/17
At my firm the associates definitely work less than several loblawyer09/21/17
Oh go F yourself anonattempt09/21/17
Generation 35-60 likes to work 12 hours per day until death ternarydaemon09/20/17
Haha this is true. And I"m not saying the younger ones aren' oddis50009/21/17
You get what you pay for. Legal employers have hard time und triplesix09/21/17
I'm in the 35 and younger and am here earlier and stay later jd4hire09/21/17
And let me add...I definitely agree with the general idea th jd4hire09/21/17
180 Boomers have hard time understanding that if you ain' triplesix09/21/17
"Boomers have hard time understanding that if you ain't got jeffm09/21/17
"If an employee doesn't produce," Did you mean to say wor triplesix09/21/17
what's 'overtime'? inho2solo09/21/17
Good luck with that. If you don't like it, write your legis jeffm09/21/17
We both know that's futile... I just avoid employers that triplesix09/21/17
Obviously a bit exaggerated but I've noticed this as well. I loblawyer09/21/17
"There seems to be a willingness to trade money for quality therewillbeblood09/21/17
This is the most laughable stance of young attorneys- that t oddis50009/21/17
It's even better when you've worked hard and smart enough to jeffm09/21/17
I'm not a millennial; I'm Gen X. I have no personal stake in therewillbeblood09/24/17
Get thee to thy private golf club or yacht club (the club wi sanka09/21/17
Millenials may have different hours expectations, but I'd hy anothernjlawyer09/21/17
And is thus less profitable. retard09/21/17
Definitely true, which is why the legal industry as a whole lawyer209/21/17
"Microsoft just directed all it's outside firms to come with inho2solo09/21/17
What exactly is the problem with the billable hour? Flat fe jeffm09/22/17
The only thing that matters is whether the boss is happy eno jeffm09/21/17
Yes, it does happen. My first boss (a "junior" partner) patenttrollnj09/22/17
I realize the discussion here has focused on firms, but read aca0409az09/22/17
Great last paragraph and so true! It's just the price you p jeffm09/22/17
No way I could wait twenty years in an unfair and underappre dakotalaw09/27/17
"I recently did civil one day trial to the bench in a family jeffm09/27/17
Not everyone wants to overcharge people for the sake of incr lawyer209/27/17
You loaded your point with the use of "overcharge." I'll jeffm09/27/17
I have no problem with folks wanting to make money. However, lawyer209/27/17
I understand the principle you are articulating, and that's jeffm09/27/17

lawyer2 (Sep 20, 2017 - 12:03 pm)

Ever gotten the feeling that more established attorneys are sometimes, seemingly, threatened by the possibility of you succeeding? I.e., giving you sh!tty assignments or grunt tasks so there is no possibility of standing out. Or is this just part of hazing process?

-Asking for a friend . . .

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nofaultkillself (Sep 20, 2017 - 12:10 pm)

There's definitely a possessiveness to the profession that I've sensed over the years. There's too many lawyers, particularly in NY, and the situation is that more established firms often permanently stratify the older experienced folks from the neophytes in terms of assignments and cases. The reality is that most law is not nuclear science. A seasoned attorney in his/her 30s can handle most of what a 50 something can.

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sanka (Sep 20, 2017 - 12:29 pm)

Fascinating to see the boomer ladies portraying themselves as trailblazers for women, when, in actuality, boomer ladies are just as greedy, if not more so, then the old white men. They don't help younger women at all, with the possible exception of a mini-me daughter to prove the rule.

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themapmaster (Sep 20, 2017 - 7:21 pm)

Sex doesn't matter. When you say boomer, nothing further needs to be said. My stagnant practice area is loaded with boomers that don't retire. They just don't. They don't seem to die either, which is what distinguishes them from earlier generations of really senior, borderline geriatric lawyers.

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defectoantesto (Sep 21, 2017 - 11:09 am)

This. This times one hundred! If I am still in this business past 60 it will only be because I am broke. I don't understand these guys who are pushing 70 and still charging ahead. To what end?

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mrlollipop (Sep 20, 2017 - 10:23 pm)

Hillary Clinton never really help any young female politicians to rise to the top...enough said

Now she is signing books in Costco

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jeffm (Sep 20, 2017 - 4:43 pm)

It's not a jealousy thing. It's a cherry-picking thing. Older attorneys still have to work and earn a fee, just like everyone else. They take the easier, better stuff for themselves and delegate the rest. Is this fair? Of course it is. Employees are entitled to follow directions for the pay they get; nothing more (unless a contract specifies otherwise).

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triplesix (Sep 20, 2017 - 6:17 pm)

Senior/Middle aged cuks are just that plus law game fuks with their heads extra so they are always looking to "win" whatever the fuk that even means.

Just dinos soon to turn fossils.

Watching some of them use a computer is hilarious tho.

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loblawyer (Sep 20, 2017 - 10:08 pm)

Good grief the generation warfare stuff here is over the top. Bosses keep the good stuff and paid employees get to deal with the bs. Like in any other industry or any other time period ever.

Please tell me when our similarly vast generation is the same age we won't be doing exactly the same.

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oddis500 (Sep 20, 2017 - 10:52 pm)

I'm somewhere in the middle, and trust me, no one is concerned with young attorneys. The work ethic between those from 35-60 and say 30 and younger is not even close. Younger attorneys (and interns, support staff....) just don't work as hard. It's not an insult, it's just a fact. I've seen it in both private and fed settings. Not tying to start an argument, and it's not even meant as an insult. It's just a fact. And every single attorney I know feels the same way.

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loblawyer (Sep 21, 2017 - 1:08 am)

At my firm the associates definitely work less than several of the partners. Relevant to the original topic, the associates are mostly career associates seemingly not interested in building a book or putting in heavy hours. The partners seem fine with no one else clamoring for a seat at the table, although there is the eventual issue of succession planning.

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anonattempt (Sep 21, 2017 - 9:27 am)

Oh go F yourself

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ternarydaemon (Sep 20, 2017 - 11:09 pm)

Generation 35-60 likes to work 12 hours per day until death arrives (plus 2 weeks vacation). Generation 35 down likes to work 4 hours per day and taking 2 month yearly vacations (rest of all days are: 8 hours sleep and 12 hours leisure).

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oddis500 (Sep 21, 2017 - 12:30 am)

Haha this is true. And I"m not saying the younger ones aren't right. But if you are an employer, which would you rather have?

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triplesix (Sep 21, 2017 - 9:30 am)

You get what you pay for. Legal employers have hard time understanding this concept.

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jd4hire (Sep 21, 2017 - 9:38 am)

I'm in the 35 and younger and am here earlier and stay later than many partners. I also come in on weekends with some regularity and in the past two years of doing so, have ran into others in the office maybe 3 times (and it's been the same person twice).

I can't quantify how much others truly work from home. I can't do that...it just doesn't work for me.

I also love my vacations. Just got back from a full two weeks out. One of the most senior partners told me the day before I left that he hasn't taken more than 4 days in 40 years. That sounds terrible and pointless, IMO.

All that matters at my place is hours. If you meet your hours, regardless of age or status, you're in good standing. Work product, of course, factors in, but it is assumed you are capable of performing the work that is here when you are hired.

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jd4hire (Sep 21, 2017 - 10:12 am)

And let me add...I definitely agree with the general idea that millennials want to/ do work less. They are willing to trade in large sums of money for more experiences along the way. Times are much different now, as is the workforce. My work does not define me as a person. I work to live.

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triplesix (Sep 21, 2017 - 10:53 am)

180

Boomers have hard time understanding that if you ain't got equity in the job, it is just a job and to be treated as such. If someone wants to ruin their physical and mental health over a job that's their choice. Getting bent out of shape bc people check out at 5, is only causing them grief.

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jeffm (Sep 21, 2017 - 11:17 am)

"Boomers have hard time understanding that if you ain't got equity in the job, it is just a job and to be treated as such."

Exactly! Believe me, they "do" understand. If an employee doesn't produce, there's a better one ready, willing and able to take his/her place.

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triplesix (Sep 21, 2017 - 11:55 am)

"If an employee doesn't produce,"

Did you mean to say work overtime without pay dear?

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inho2solo (Sep 21, 2017 - 12:22 pm)

what's 'overtime'?

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jeffm (Sep 21, 2017 - 12:40 pm)

Good luck with that. If you don't like it, write your legislator.

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triplesix (Sep 21, 2017 - 5:04 pm)

We both know that's futile...

I just avoid employers that are bottom feeders but in decent economy they get what's coming to them haha

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loblawyer (Sep 21, 2017 - 1:00 am)

Obviously a bit exaggerated but I've noticed this as well. I'm a millennial and on my end I know very few that want the older partners' hours. There seems to be a willingness to trade money for quality of life (although it can be argued the older set doesn't even perceive the tradeoff).

Much has also been written about how millennials generally prefer experiences over accumulating material things - that might also play into the general notion of accepting less money for less hours.

One other thing is it's so much easier to compare to other fields now. You read about people in tech working maybe 9-6 no weekends and making double; sort of decreases the willingness to slave away in law.

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therewillbeblood (Sep 21, 2017 - 10:16 am)

"There seems to be a willingness to trade money for quality of life"

A concept which confuses and enrages a lot of boomers.

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oddis500 (Sep 21, 2017 - 10:52 am)

This is the most laughable stance of young attorneys- that they have somehow managed to discover the secret to a happy life is working less and traveling more. Eureka! Genius I tell ya! The difference is, older attorneys actually felt the need to earn the money to do these things, while younger attorneys feel like they are entitled to them, or that mommy and daddy should pay for it all. You want to work less and play more- good for you. I think that's honestly the way to go. But don't cry about it when the person who works more/harder gets promoted and you don't. Can't have it both ways.

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jeffm (Sep 21, 2017 - 11:21 am)

It's even better when you've worked hard and smart enough to promote yourself into self-employment. The flex-time is unreal! That said, if you want to live large, you typically have to work large. I haven't found a way around that, yet.

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therewillbeblood (Sep 24, 2017 - 12:08 am)

I'm not a millennial; I'm Gen X. I have no personal stake in whether millennials or boomers are worse, so I can look at both groups impartially. Boomers are much, much worse, because the negative stereotypes that attach to them are mostly true, while the negative stereotypes that attach to millennials are mostly exaggerated. Your description bears little resemblance to the younger people I know, attorneys or otherwise.

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sanka (Sep 21, 2017 - 10:51 am)

Get thee to thy private golf club or yacht club (the club with the $200,000.00 initiation fee and $60,000.00 annual dues) and hustle business from the rich old white men, there.

After morning coffee at your office.

Or hide in a cubicle (tech has replaced dusty libraries) for 2000 hours a year. And whine about racism.

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anothernjlawyer (Sep 21, 2017 - 5:10 pm)

Millenials may have different hours expectations, but I'd hypothesize that millenials frequently get a lot more done per hour than the average boomer.

A millenial who grew up zipping through research on Westlaw, knows exactly where to find fill-in court forms online, can type 85 words per minute, and knows how to cut and paste from every memo, pleading, or brief he or anyone else at the firm has ever written (as well as from anything he can find on the internet) is churning out paper a lot faster than a boomer who is dictating to a secretary from books he's pulled off the shelf.

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retard (Sep 21, 2017 - 5:14 pm)

And is thus less profitable.

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lawyer2 (Sep 21, 2017 - 6:13 pm)

Definitely true, which is why the legal industry as a whole will inevitably get disrupted and the billable hour will start to diminish. Hell, it's already happening. Microsoft just directed all it's outside firms to come with alternative billing methodologies within two years or GTFO.
I really do hate to perpetuate the generational warfare, but IME, boomers are just flat out greedy. I learned this waaay back when I installed Internet circuits for ISP's and the retired Bell guys would come back from retirement, collecting pensions and snap up the telecom jobs to pay for the new boat, lake house or RV.
My parents are boomers, I'm an X'er. I hear my parents complain about paying taxes and how they shouldn't have to pay for other folks kids to go to school because their children are grown. The temerity is mind-boggling

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inho2solo (Sep 21, 2017 - 11:05 pm)

"Microsoft just directed all it's outside firms to come with alternative billing methodologies within two years or GTFO"


MicroSoft (and Google) did this ca. 15 years ago already.

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jeffm (Sep 22, 2017 - 12:33 pm)

What exactly is the problem with the billable hour? Flat fees make sense and have been around forever. However, I keep hearing people say the hourly-based model isn't working.

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jeffm (Sep 21, 2017 - 8:00 pm)

The only thing that matters is whether the boss is happy enough to keep the employee and the employee is happy enough to stay on the job. If this is not the case with either of them, there is an immediate remedy.

The rest of these generalizations are just time wasted.

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patenttrollnj (Sep 22, 2017 - 12:12 pm)

Yes, it does happen.

My first boss (a "junior" partner) deliberately set up his associates to fail, thus presenting himself as the solution to our "incompetence." This was his way of ingratiating himself with his higher-ups.

I also find that some solos or attorneys at small firms are very protective of their book of business. They may hire an associate, but they view you as a threat who may take away their clients one day.

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aca0409az (Sep 22, 2017 - 4:53 pm)

I realize the discussion here has focused on firms, but reading the title of the thread I thought I'd share my thoughts on this matter when it comes to in-house. I was in-house for 3.5 yrs at a company with approximately 50k employees, then GC (only attorney) at a small tech startup (now defunct), and have been doing a mix of solo work and contract work since. I'm in my mid-30's and have been practicing for about 10 years.

There were 13 full-time attorneys. I was 25 when hired and the closest in age was 62. The rest ranged from 65-81 (YES-81!). She had a lot of experience, did high quality work (when she did work), but had only been with the company for 2-3 yrs (unlike the rest of them who seemed to have been there for 20 years minimum). My salary was $105, hers was mid $200's (and she was the most junior next to me), and the next highest was nearly $400k. She left at 3:30 every day to pick her kids up and never worked weekends (not knocking families-just saying how it was). However, I never once saw one of the other attorneys in the office past 4 anyway, and all but one left after lunch on Friday's. Other than the 62 year-old, the older attorneys had built up enough PTO in the system that they were getting 6+ weeks of paid vacation per year. At the time, the company did not allow cashing out PTO (unless you quit or retired), so they all took it.

As expected (and which I was totally fine with), I started out with a lot of lower-end labor and employment matters. I was so enthusiastic to get a great job at that point. No one asked me to or even expected it, but I worked no less than 70 hours per week the first year and only had one week of PTO. I am not trying to talk myself up, but I did very, very, very good work. NOT because I was an expert, but because I was hungrier than I'd ever been in my life, was determined to learn what I needed to do the best work I possibly could, saw many of my peers struggling to find law jobs (or doing doc review), chose to live literally next to the office, and was single and living in a city where I knew no one and work was my life. I hit the gym every day after work (no matter the hours), was lucky to be in great health, and honestly never felt stressed because I had truly convinced myself I was shooting for something greater. Also, the attorneys offices were staggered throughout the building, so none of us worked next to each other. A huge plus at the time. Mine was in the executive recruiting department of all places, and my "co-workers" were amazing and friendly. Could I have kept up those hours for years upon years and been happy? NO WAY! But for that year (and perhaps the next), it worked for me.

The 62 yr old did basically the same stuff as me, but with much bigger cases. The company operated in 12 different states and I only did work in the "home state" that first year. I received a glowing review at the end of the first year. It honestly flattered me. I had also become much better and much more efficient at my job. It turned out that she had been convincing the GC to outsource a solid quarter of the work, which was billed in the $500 range (not ironically-given to a junior partner friend of hers at a big firm in town). The GC then essentially "gave" me that quarter and I worked my ass off even harder. It covered roughly 3 other states (all fed stuff-think DOL and EEOC).

From that point on, that lady literally hated me. Not to rip on east coast people, but she was from the bronx and was extremely abrasive. Whereas I grew up in a hard-working, rural farming community in the midwest and rarely find anyone who I can't get along with.

So she was told to review my initial work (the new 25% of bigger cases) for a few months. The first time she had ever read my work. She made next to no changes (except for not understanding why I use the oxford comma and only one space after each period). I can't emphasize enough how much this lady wanted me to lose my job. But she couldn't make that happen. She would "summon" me to her office and just GO OFF on me several times a week though. I honestly think she was just improvising stuff to yell about in an effort to make me feel unwelcome. To put it bluntly, she felt threatened and outperformed, even though I made every effort to keep to myself and never "celebrated" victories.

Now by great contrast, the other 65-81 yr old lifers? They were SOOOO comfortable in their jobs and never spent so much as a second thinking about their job security. If one of them had a case overlapping in any way with mine (or if I was covering something while they were on vacation) they were THRILLED that I saved them work and would bring me out to lunch, etc.

Now, as much as I personally liked them, one statement from an attorney in his early 70's still resonates with me. It was something like: "Look. You'll have your time someday. This is the best job I've ever had. You know the salary I make and the hours I work. I couldn't ask for more. But I want to give you a little bit of a heads-up...I don't think any of us here have plans to leave until we're literally carted out of the building on a gurney." I appreciated the honesty, but it really opened my eyes as a new 25 yr old lawyer. And it felt strange to think "Hmmm. Do any of these people have a life-threatening illness that might get them out of here in 5 years? Or am I going to have to wait 20?"

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jeffm (Sep 22, 2017 - 6:06 pm)

Great last paragraph and so true! It's just the price you pay for being in a certain pecking order. It really is eye-opening to know that one day, some younger people will want you dead, too. You usually don't think about that at 25 years of age.

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dakotalaw (Sep 27, 2017 - 2:17 pm)

No way I could wait twenty years in an unfair and underappreciated state. To those that can, more power to them. I "paid my dues" for only four years, and honestly, I could have probably done even less. Now I"m on my own and using my computer skills and recent education to achieve some pretty great efficiency-- my problem is that boomer older lawyers and judges resent me. It's so obvious. I try to roll over like a little dog and let them rub my tummy, but that just enough for them to allow me to exist. Judge's do whatever their grey haired buddies tell them and every one of their outrageous fees is "reasonable."

I recently did civil one day trial to the bench in a family law case for $2,500! Previous counsel had charged my client three times that for discovery work, then quoted $30,000 for trial. I won an outstanding victory for my youngerish clients and they will use me again and refer me to friends. But had I been placed in the wrong courtroom and had opposing counsel been local, I honestly believe we would have gotten hosed. Am I suppose to keep these thoughts to myself and not besmirch our profession, or am I ethically bound to tell prospective clients about this situation because I believe these variables effect their cases? I error on the side of the latter, though I wish I didn't have to.

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jeffm (Sep 27, 2017 - 3:39 pm)

"I recently did civil one day trial to the bench in a family law case for $2,500! Previous counsel had charged my client three times that for discovery work, then quoted $30,000 for trial."

... which means you have a thing or two to learn about making money.

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lawyer2 (Sep 27, 2017 - 4:19 pm)

Not everyone wants to overcharge people for the sake of increasing profits. This is the very reason the legal industry will inevitably get disrupted. People are tired of getting raked over the coals for no other reason than "it's always been done that way."


Real estate agents are definitely up next though, lol

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jeffm (Sep 27, 2017 - 4:56 pm)

You loaded your point with the use of "overcharge."

I'll let anybody who wants to race me to the bottom win.

Real estate agents are probably more secure than you are thinking. Keeping up with all there is to do to effectuate a good closing is actual work. Many people don't want to have to learn how to do the work, and who can blame them? That's why the going rate is 6% on most residential deals.

There will always be people who want to save a few bucks and try to do things themselves. This hardly spells the demise of a profession. If anything, watch how all these DIY people screw up their own affairs and learn to regret it and hire competent professionals the next time. Of course, not everyone screws up, but they still have to do the work, and it is most definitely work.

I'm in the middle of offering a DIY will for probate. Actually 2 of them. Both wills were not self-proved, meaning there's a bit extra work to prove-up the will, and the few hundred dollars they saved drafting their own, less-efficient, wills is more than lost by the additional attorney's fees incurred to prove the will. It's not a lot either way, but still, the point remains. It's a fool's errand to try to grow a good practice with discount rates.

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lawyer2 (Sep 27, 2017 - 6:39 pm)

I have no problem with folks wanting to make money. However, it's not a race to the bottom to provide clients the same service only more efficiently. I don't charge clients for menial tasks billed at .01 hours for the sake of it. I often tell potential clients you don't need a lawyer to do this and they respect me for it and oftentimes come back when they finally do.

The billable hour and dinosaurs who take advantage of it WILL get disrupted whether folks like it or not. What myself and dakotalaw is probably referring to, is utilizing technology to make the practice of law more efficient and more cost effective for our clients. Bill a client $30k for something that could be done for $2500, yeah you may get away with it once or twice but good luck getting more business and/or referrals. However, save a client time & money, you'll get repeat business and plenty of referrals.

Anecdotally speaking, I had to hire a lawyer before. She did good work, but she nickled and dime'd me for damn near everything she could to eat up my retainer. When asked by colleagues for a recommendation, I recommend someone else for that very reason.

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jeffm (Sep 27, 2017 - 8:09 pm)

I understand the principle you are articulating, and that's a different thing altogether. There's a difference between charging the going rate vs. charging below it. Your 2nd post switched gears to "not gouging."

We probably agree more than disagree, but I will quibble about a couple of points you made. I don't believe technology has done a lot to make delivering legal services cheaper. I think technology has allowed people to deliver better/more service for the same price. Most attorneys with a lot of experience will tell you the legal fees being earned on cases has probably stayed fairly constant, if not increased, over the years. We just found a way to draft 50-page divorce decrees instead of 3-page ones.

I constantly hear attorneys talk of the billable hour going the way of the dinosaur. I don't see how. Flat rates have been around forever. Hybrid flat/hourly rates have, too. So, have contingent fees. These are not new concepts, nor does it appear they are really that more prevalent than they were before. The billable hour, as far as I can tell, survives and thrives; only the attorneys who have to work and churn them just seem to complain about them more and more. I can't see any departure from the standard of the billable hour. I don't know what it would be. If you are unsure of the amount of work that will occur (e.g., how much discovery will the opposing side demand?), you can cap it and take the risk all you want. Most attorneys make the client accept that risk, and for good reason. Attorneys have been drafting deeds for flat rates for decades. There's nothing really new happening in the billing arena; it's just attorneys are moaning and saying there should be.

On the issue of discount rates, it's a tempting consideration for younger attorneys (and even some older ones, too), but experience over time reveals a common pattern in the legal services market: Cheap attorneys typically are less responsive, less qualified and less organized. There's a place in the market for them, too; however, clients who need qualified attorneys who actually are responsive and do good work will happily pay the going rate. This doesn't demand nickle-and-diming, but it does mean you don't have to do $3,000 of work for $1,250.

Over time, most good attorneys find they will never have a reason to become discount attorneys. You can do it, but there's absolutely no need. Take note of the thread on charging for initial consultations. Many attorneys who seem more secure in their practices advocate charging for them, while those who are less secure fear trying.

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