Breath-taking Indeed--$180,000 Starting Salaries For Baby Lawyers

     How many litigants are willing, even if able, to pay high hourly rates so that big firms can pay “breath-taking” starting salaries to baby lawyers? According to the American Bar Association Journal, first-year law associates are being paid starting salaries as high as $180,000 per year. “As Economy Stalls, So Do Salaries … But Not Associate Hours,”, September 29, 2008.  And as those lawyers mature, their rates go up, not down. Guess who pays for that! Clients do.

     Perhaps that is why the average cost of a patent infringement lawsuit in Texas was $2,637,179 in 2005. “Report of the Economic Survey,” American Intellectual Property Law Association 2005, at p. I-109.  The little guy can’t afford to play in that league. Indeed, even some larger corporate litigants are saying “enough” to continually escalating costs of litigation.

     As a former chairman of the Court Costs and Delay committee of the State Bar of Texas, I have been concerned about controlling the high cost of litigation for more than two decades. That is why our firm handles patent and other complicated commercial litigation on contingency fee. The little guy has access to the legal system. The big guy keeps its costs down. The law firm, not the client, bears the cost of paying the lawyer salaries.   In the event of a “breath-taking” result, the client and lawyer share in the recovery. Law firms may choose to pay breath-taking salaries if they wish, but it should not be at their clients’ expense.

Trackbacks (0) Links to blogs that reference this article Trackback URL
Comments (0) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end