b) The Court here is not bothered so much by the fact that the fees are unconscionable in that they were exorbitant. Rather, because they are non- refundable, the court decides that this system violates the notion that the legal profession “is a learned profession, not a mere money-getting trade.” c) The point of Cooperman is that the court wanted to reach out and say that non-refundable fees themselves are simply unconscionable. There ought to be the ability of the client to say that I want to have some money back. d)Should there be name recognition? Should the fact that you have a name be useful for you? Is your name worth $10K on signing? Perhaps. There hasn’t been a case on this yet. However, it’s not recommended that you do this in the future, given the CANY’s attitude. 8. Sharing Fees: a) DR 3-102 states that you cannot share fees with non-lawyers. b) You’re trying to build a business. You say to your secretary, “I will give you 20% of all fees of cases that you bring into the business.” Multi- Disciplinary Practice – Firms that are full-service that include law firms. The big five accounting firms are buying up law firms. Real–estate firms might buy out law firms to do everything in one shop.
Elan Weinreb Page 81 of 110 c) What’s the reason for not being able to share fees here? d) A: Lawyers are bound by the ethics rules; other people are not. For you to maintain confidentiality or the attorney-client privilege, you may run into problems when you’re sharing fees. The non-lawyers may request information. e) Case: Can a law firm pay an ISP to direct people to trademark and copyright search engines offered by the law firm? f) A: No. This is like giving a commission for leading people to your business. The reason behind this: The confidentiality and the ethics rules before. There is a problem also with monopoly and the general American bias against monopolies. g) Make sure to look up Goldfarb before the final. h) Re: Referral fees – You can’t pay out referral fees unless you pay out based upon the work already done (i.e., you have to do equivalent work with the other guy). This is stated in one of the DRs (in the 3s section). The rationale: This is not fair to the client. You’re double-charging him. The opposition: Aren’t you aiding the client by directing him to a better lawyer? i) If you’re going to do referral fees, make sure you have evidence in writing of what you did. 9. Burlington and Evans v. Jeff D – a) In a civil rights case, if you’re the prevailing party – even if you only win $1, you then submit an affidavit for attorney’s fees. In the affidavit, you outline: (1) Your experience in great detail (2) Your hours for the case and WHAT you did specifically during the hour (3) Your hourly fee b) The Court then makes a determination based upon the “lodestar” formula: You multiply the hourly rate by the hours worked. The Court in
Elan Weinreb Page 82 of 110 Burlington, however, held that lawyers are NOT entitled to contingency fee enhancements.
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- The Land, Lawyer, Attorney-client privilege, Elan Weinreb