Monthly Archives: June 2008

Fair and Full Compensation?

Here is the sought after take:

Attorneys who win civil-rights cases can also ask the trial judge to apply a “fee multiplier” in cases of “exceptional success.” Howell wants his estimated fees of $174,321 multiplied one-and-a-half times.

This guy’s billing rate is $480/hour so he put in 363 hours, the equivalent of a bit over 9 weeks (at 40 hours/week).
Another Seattle attorney involved in similar cases says:

“Unless attorneys who undertake risky civil rights cases are fairly and fully compensated for the time expended in these cases, the limited pool of lawyers willing to vindicate the rights of victims of government will shrink.”

Folks, this is a lawyer. Now I can see a lawyer billing enough to support a secretary and some office space but surely if he is good enough to bill even half this rate he should be good enough to be pretty busy and shouldn’t need to bill a year or threes overhead on one case.
If he is trying to make his whole year’s income off one 9 week equivalent case then perhaps he should find some other work to fill in the rest of the year. Fair and fully compensated should mean at a rate adequate to live a comfortable life which in the suburbs of Seattle does not require anything close to the equivalent of $1,000,000/year.
Give him credit for winning the case but how good can he be if it takes him 20 hours ( $10,560) just to figure out how much to bill?? It seems like a bit of malfeasance that he hasn’t hired a $400/day accountant to spend an hour or two to do his billing…
In another view: can a case be made that his hourly rate should be no higher than what he would have earned from his 40% contingency agreement with his client…$107,00/363=$295/hour. Still high but it turns out to be what he agreed to do the work for originally…could have been lower or higher based on the amount of award.

Thoughts from any of you lawyers?

NB: It is also pretty ridiculous that the legal expenses for this one case have already hit $675,000 and the clock is apparently still running. The city officials who failed to settle this case out of court should be fired!

Bill Moyers Has A Few Words For You

Bill Moyers addresses the National Conference for Media Reform in Minneapolis, June 7, 2008.

Worth listening to regardless of your views. He does speak a lot of truth to power.
Unfortunately he does conflate the current corporate state with free markets and, as a result, falsely denigrates free markets. Sure, many who support ongoing media consolidation argue in their best Orwellian fashion that it is just the free market at work. It is nothing of the kind. It is state corporatism at work. They only use those words to put blinders on their base. That the media and, yes, folks like Moyers have accepted this language shows just how pervasive and extensive the corporate statists have permeated the culture.
On the other hand his analysis of the massive intertwining of corporate and political power and the pablumizing of journalism is pretty right on.
Moyers on the pre-Iraq pundits who have not lost their jobs:

It just goes to show, when the bar is low enough you can never be too wrong.

Moyers after quoting Arlo Guthrie’s Patriot Dream:

And you know what we need to know.
Go Tell it on the mountain and in the cities
From your web sites and laptops, tell it.
From the street corners and the coffee house, tell it.
From delis and diners, tell it.
From workshops and bookstores, tell it.
On campus, at the mall, the synagogue,
sanctuaries and mosques, tell it.
Tell it where you can, when you can and while you can.
Tell America what we need to know and we may just
rekindle the patriot’s dream.

(ed: any errors in transcription are all mine)

NB: Given the extensive co-option of the media it is all the more important to disembowel both the corporate state and mob rule. The less power government has the fewer people will be hurt by it.