Update on Last Week's Inspiration

Hey, remember the woman who was "interviewing lawyers" for her husband? I just got a call from the private attorney she retained! Hooray - One less case for me!

And, it just goes to show, you don't have to try to act like a crappy lawyer just to scare people off... some people just spontaneously do the right thing and hire a private lawyer when they can afford one.

Following up on the earlier question, is $5K a fair cost? I still don't know. This was definitely the client's first arrest, and it was a misdemeanor assault which will almost definitely be made a non-criminal offer pretty quickly (that I don't think the client is likely to take) and, in my experience, is likely to eventually be dismissed after the complainant doesn't cooperate.

I guess if that's the going rate around here, then so be it. But I think that I handled about 700 cases in the past year. I realize that a P.D.'s office is very different in a lot of ways (e.g. We can cover our overhead in massive bulk and we often stand on a case only one time and it counts toward our caseload), but that still seems like A LOT of money. Almost enough to tempt me into private practice... Nah!

7 comments:

  1. Hmm, $5k does seem a little too steep for a misdemeanor. I know someone who works in private practice and they would quote 1500 for small drug charges. It does seem excessive, but I guess it depends on the jurisdiction and the Cost of Living.

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  2. I am on Long Island and it is the high end of the going rate. However it really depends on the level of care and attention an attorney is going to shower on the client. It is expensie if the attorney is going to try to get a motioned dismissal or if he is going to work closely with a pyschotherapist or be puttting together a full and complex memo for sentencing. In addition, the best attorney's try to keep their case load light to offer the most individualized attention to the client. If they charge it and someone has it and wants to pay it I say more power to them both.

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  3. So $5k a case? With 700 cases a year that would put you at $3.5 million. I can't speak from experience but it sounds like you may be overworked and underpaid.

    By the way, I love your writing and the stories. Stopping at your blog has become a part of my morning routine. Keep up the great work on and off the blog!

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  4. Private practice...don't get crazy on us Blonde. Maybe you just need a nice little vacation with the boyfriend to a carribean island somewhere. Private Practice she says...sheesh!

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  5. Ha! =) Nah, never. Well, maybe someday. A long long time from now.

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  6. I think 5k is a lot if you think about it from the perspective that for a person making 50 thousand a year, merely being accused of a misdemeanor will cost him 10 percent of his income for that year. That's before any taxes and fines for the actual crime. Seems a bit regressive to me.

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  7. As a PD I am often shocked at the fees some private attorneys get. $2500 pre-trial for a misdemeanor asslt. $1500 pre-trial for a DUI. If these go to trial then another 25 or 15. I would do anything for 1500$ Last night someone asked me if I thought $20,000 pre-trial was fair on a heroin distribution case. I said it seems high but if you were looking at 20+ years would you pay $1000 per year to stay out of prison? hell yes!

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