Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

The Henderson report

Here is the summary (link to full report is also found here) guyingorillasuit07/29/18
I disagree. The number of lawyers per capita has icnreased dingbat07/29/18
note that this doesn't reflect my opinion on the quality of dingbat07/29/18
Anecdotally, I'd bet that the ability of "regular people" to anothernjlawyer07/30/18
One wonders how that $300 case turned out. Also, if in th wutwutwut07/30/18
It probably turned out fine. In NJ, absent complications, so anothernjlawyer07/30/18
Yeah, and that's kind of the point. All you have to do is s jeffm07/30/18
LOL at wutwutwut's question. not to pile on but i can only williamdrayton07/30/18
"so given the actual work involved, $300 is pretty fair. uknownvalue07/30/18
to clarify, I was speaking solely about misdemeanors in whic williamdrayton07/30/18
The context of my wondering what the $300 got the teen was f wutwutwut07/30/18
in Jersey, everything can be pled down. dingbat07/30/18
In either case, the lawyer isn't adding much value. It's ei jeffm07/30/18
I didn't quote a $1,500 flat fee. If it took me 2-3 hours, f anothernjlawyer07/30/18
I am all for closing law schools and making a JD a two year corneroffice07/30/18
Me, too. However, there was a point in time where I was mor jeffm07/30/18
Those expensive DWI's are more than just misdemeanors. Peopl jeffm07/30/18
guyingorillasuit (Jul 29, 2018 - 10:08 pm)

Here is the summary (link to full report is also found here): https://www.legalevolution.org/2018/07/legal-market-landscape-report-058/

Henderson, a law school professor, identifies an access problem - i.e. regular people can't afford lawyers anymore, and posits that loosening ethical rules to allow "innovation" from other industries will improve access. Henderson writes that we need innovative low-cost solutions, and cites Avvo and Legal Zoom as examples. No specific recommendations are made. I am not sure exactly what he intended to accomplish.

Apparently, this is making some waves. Some people are saying that he is threatening the livelihood of solos and small firms, and some people are saying otherwise.

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dingbat (Jul 29, 2018 - 10:57 pm)

I disagree. The number of lawyers per capita has icnreased dramatically. In the past, poor people couldn't afford legal services at all. Now, there are attorneys marketing too poor areas, the the ones advertising $399 divorces. LegalZoom is better than nothing, for if you can't afford an attorney - but if you can afford it and want something a little better, you should splurge for a real attorney.

It's like you don't need Wachtel or Cravath to collect on a utility bill or a credit card, but when there's a hundred million dollars at stake, you should get the best.

The problem to me is that people think LegalZoom, and similar services, are a substitute for a lawyer. They're not. It's like having someone trained in first aid versus a nurse versus a doctor. A cut or scrape, the first-aid kit will do. Something a bit less obvious, talk to a nurse. etc.

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dingbat (Jul 29, 2018 - 10:59 pm)

note that this doesn't reflect my opinion on the quality of the output of legalzoom. It annoys me that they can afford good attorneys, yet their documents are a pile of crap.

As an aside, I don't consider my work to be preparing documents, but rather to provide the advice. If someone just wants the documents, I'll give those away.

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anothernjlawyer (Jul 30, 2018 - 9:48 am)

Anecdotally, I'd bet that the ability of "regular people" to afford lawyers has probably never been better than it is now.

A quick example: last year, I had a parent contact me because her child had been arrested for underage drinking. I think I offered to handle the matter at $275.00 per hour, with a $1,500.00 retainer. She told me she'd spoken to another lawyer who typically handled the cases for $500.00, but would take the case for $300.00 since her kid was a college student. She didn't hire me.

The huge oversupply of lawyers means that lawyers are willing to accept less and less money for legal work that was once reasonably profitable.

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wutwutwut (Jul 30, 2018 - 10:24 am)

One wonders how that $300 case turned out.

Also, if in the end it was really $300 total.

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anothernjlawyer (Jul 30, 2018 - 11:15 am)

It probably turned out fine. In NJ, absent complications, something like that can typically be wrapped up with a single municipal court appearance.

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jeffm (Jul 30, 2018 - 12:01 pm)

Yeah, and that's kind of the point. All you have to do is show up to a building empty-handed and get the kid deferred. How hard can this be? You could be done by 10:00 a.m. $300 isn't really all that bad. Many people are putting out resumes for jobs that pay $300 per day for a full day's work, including overtime.

I'm not saying don't try to get more. Just don't overestimate the task. $1,500 "to start" is kind of high if you know you will not contest it.

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williamdrayton (Jul 30, 2018 - 1:46 pm)

LOL at wutwutwut's question. not to pile on but i can only speak about new jersey and Pennsylvania. if the girl doesn't have any priors or other pending actions, you talk to the prosecutor for five minutes and go in front of a judge for even less than that to cop to a local ordinance violation (NJ) or lowest level misdemeanor disorderly person offense (PA). and there's no prep or research involved.

so given the actual work involved, $300 is pretty fair.

some lawyers who do this type of work are taking clients for a serious ride with their retainers and fees.

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uknownvalue (Jul 30, 2018 - 2:42 pm)

"so given the actual work involved, $300 is pretty fair.

some lawyers who do this type of work are taking clients for a serious ride with their retainers and fees."

A $1,500 retainer is more than reasonable and it should help in weeding out the PITA clients.

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williamdrayton (Jul 30, 2018 - 5:23 pm)

to clarify, I was speaking solely about misdemeanors in which the actual hearing days are a mill for quickie plea bargains. I was a local PD for a year and a half so I'm speaking solely from my experience.

in actuality, the underage drinking girl would likely have ended up with the same plea by going pro se with a little remorseful sob story

a $1500 retainer for felony charges is certainly reasonable because of the ultimate cost uncertainty, especially if the defendant has priors.

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wutwutwut (Jul 30, 2018 - 5:28 pm)

The context of my wondering what the $300 got the teen was from the vantage of having lived in a few "zero tolerance" states which are (or claim to be) loathe to plead down.

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dingbat (Jul 30, 2018 - 6:31 pm)

in Jersey, everything can be pled down.

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jeffm (Jul 30, 2018 - 7:58 pm)

In either case, the lawyer isn't adding much value. It's either an easy plea deal or an easy loss.

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anothernjlawyer (Jul 30, 2018 - 5:29 pm)

I didn't quote a $1,500 flat fee. If it took me 2-3 hours, from soup to nuts, the bill would still have been well under $1,000.00. If it got more involved, for whatever reason, at least I'd have some cushion to work with.

I occasionally see people on this board talking about getting $5,000.00+ retainers for misdemeanor work, $10,000.00 for DWIs, etc.. in what I assume are other states, because you don't see a whole lot of that in NJ, at least in my experience.

After 4 years of college, 3 years of law school, a bar exam, CLEs, and everything else, this sh!t is supposed to be profitable. You think the medical specialist who spends 30 seconds with you has a problem sending the insurance company a $400.00 bill for the consultation?

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corneroffice (Jul 30, 2018 - 7:49 pm)

I am all for closing law schools and making a JD a two year degree. Lets see how that flies with the professor and the ABA.

I have no problems charging 1k for a simple misdemeanor and then $500 an appearance thereafter. I could see in some small town, with my office right next to the courthouse charging $300.00. I run over to the court and get the case reduced in 10 minutes. That hardly works in the big city. Factor in getting up early, driving an hour, parking, waiting to get into court, waiting for the judge and prosecutor, reading the discovery, working out a plea and then driving back to the office. I am about 3 hours in on a simple apperance. $300? No thanks. I would rather sleep in.

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jeffm (Jul 30, 2018 - 7:59 pm)

Me, too. However, there was a point in time where I was more hungry for money. I can easily see and appreciate making $300 for the day and getting off by 11:00 a.m.

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jeffm (Jul 30, 2018 - 8:02 pm)

Those expensive DWI's are more than just misdemeanors. People licenses are being suspended, and this is especially brutal to those who have Occupational Driver's Licenses. They can't afford to lose their jobs.

Sexual assault is another biggie. They will brand you a predator forever and make you register in every neighborhood you live for the rest of your life.

It's not so much whether a crime is a misdemeanor or a felony. Those are just labels. It's the consequences of guilt that matter.

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