Despite our best efforts to educate the public about the economics of contingent fee law practice, a great many people still believe that lawyer’s fees are outrageous. Folks of this ilk will have a field day with the fee being sought by the San Diego law firm that represented the defrauded Enron stockholders. That firm, Coughlin Stoia, Geller, Rudman and Robbins just put in a request a whopping $688 million for its representation of the Enron claimants.
Outrageous, nothing could justify that kind of payday, right? Well, actually the total of the settlements the firm has negotiated for their clients is $7.3 billion. So the proposed fee is only 9.52 percent of the entire settlement. Many contingent fees call for the lawyers to be paid a third of the settlement proceeds. Also, the firm reports it has spent $112 on the case over the six years it’s been in litigation. So viewed in its proper light the large fee may well be reasonable enough. Still, a number like $688 million will play into the hands of those who spew anti-lawyer bias. For more on this please visit: www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/5435603.html.