Posts Tagged ‘low bono’

A friend of mine hired a lawyer to help him create a trust in which to put some of his earnings. The lawyer charged $800/hr. Another friend needed a lawyer to appear with him (for a few hours) at his administrative hearing to help him contest his termination. The fee was $20,000. The fee for a lawyer to advise a friend on a single provision in his mother’s trust was $1,500. An attorney in my office once described the sense of guilt she sometimes feels when she looks at the total amount due on the invoice she is about to send out. “Don’t feel guilty!” a colleague told her. “Everyone else charges that much. You deserve it too!” If clients are willing to pay it, why should lawyers charge less? Legal fees of $1,500 or $20,000 – or even $300 – are so out of touch with the cost of […]

The gap in the middle The U.S. ranks last among peer nations in access to legal services. Despite a very crowded legal profession, millions of Americans — those who are too rich for subsidized legal services but too poor to afford a private attorney at market rates of around $200 to $350 an hour — lack access to high-quality, or any, legal assistance. As Jeanne Charn puts it, our legal system has had “a nearly exclusive focus on the very poor at the expense of middle income people who also cannot afford traditional market-rate lawyer services.” It guarantees help to those who have incomes of 125% above the poverty line but offers nothing to those whose incomes are at 150 or 200% of the poverty line, but who also cannot afford the legal assistance they need. As lawyers know, the law guarantees the right to a (government-subsidized) attorney if you are […]

During my last year of law school I learned about tech start-up incubators like Y Combinator – which provides seed money, guidance, and networking opportunities to new start-ups – from my friends in Silicon Valley, and I was intrigued about the potential for using this model to help lawyers who wanted to create their own “start-up” law practice. In late August, I learned about the existence of law school incubators (the first of which was created only two years after Y Combinator) and booked a flight to see one of these incubators in person: the Access to Justice Initiative, affiliated with California Western School of Law. (For background on law school incubators, including the Access to Justice Initiative, see my recent post here.) In the upscale office space that houses the Access to Justice Initiative, looking out over a gorgeous floor-to-ceiling view of airplanes flying low over the city and onto the tarmac […]

Doing low bono foreclosures or even court appointed work (which in many jurisdictions, is another version of low bono) lets lawyers gain valuable experience and earn a little money while doing good, ultimately, a 100 percent low bono business model is not sustainable in the long run . . . Carolyn Elefant, “Solo Incubator Launches at UKMC”