Past the Bar
Vesselin Mitev, Esq. is the chief associate for litigation firm John Ray & Associates, with offices in Manhattan and Long Island.
This Week's Topic
Consider, most, if not all practitioners at one lawyer shops and small firms make every effort to work with clients who do not or cannot pay, including cutting down on their bill as a courtesy, or offering discounted retainers.
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For all the handwringing it brings about, bill churning is about the most common accusation lawyers hurl at each other. The crux of the problem is not, per se, the model of billing, rather, it's the equivocation of cost, price, and value when discussing legal services in general.
They say sunshine is the best disinfectant, and in the age of Twitter and video feeds, a legislative proposal to allow cameras back into New York courts. So many times the transript of proceedings is simply insufficient for the purposes of capturing the conduct that transpires within the four walls of the Court.
A new proposal to shave off one year from the New York three-year law school requirement and allow students with sixty hours of study at an accredited law school to sit for the bar and practice law would only continue an already broken model and foster a caste system in the practice.
My challenges were not perceived as having any real gruel; they were simply ghost stories that younger lawyers tell each other over a few drinks, spectres of trouble that surely would not come to haunt him, or worse, they appeared to sound like caustic refrains from a disillusioned practitioner.
As TV cop shows have evolved from "Just the facts, ma'am," deadpans to animated gore set to blaring rock anthems from The Who, so too has changed the way that litigators must tell their stories to jurors. But leave the $2,000 sunglasses home. Judges don't like that.