Lawyer’s Brilliant Plan to Make Everybody Rich

It’s cute that Coffey Burlington partner, Kendall Coffey, thinks getting inexperienced law school grads to work for “[r]ates of between $50 and $125 per hour” will create jobs for the jobless, whose offices will suddenly overflow with business from the “underserved middle class.” He also thinks this will make them rich, since “attorneys working at law firms usually receive compensation — computed on an hourly basis — within a range comparable to what a middle-class practice might generate.”

So, how will this legion of inexperienced discount lawyers serve their cost-conscious clients competently so they can claim their six-figure salaries? “[M]uch of the training can be provided by following the formula of organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters ….” Yeeaah. I vote for Coffey Burlington to take the lead on providing the volunteer mentors necessary to create a legion of rich discount lawyers who will soon compete for the same clients. Brilliant plan. [via Dan Tyson]

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  • Also, this: “Once a field of affordable and competent lawyers appears, middle class clients will come.” (Thanks to Anthony Del Rio for highlighting this quote on G+.)

    In other words, the problem with the legal market is — wait for it — more lawyers. This is like the argument over whether TARP was too big or too small (I don’t think anyone is arguing it was just right), but with lawyers instead of trillions of dollars of taxpayers’ money.

  • There are plenty of attorneys competing for middle class income clients on cost in the family law context. We do this not by offering services at a reduced hourly rate, but by tailoring our representation to reflect the family’s resources. You don’t hire expensive experts, engage in protracted discovery, or litigate every last issue when the clients do not have sufficient resources to pay for it.

    • Guest

      That is correct. Also, experienced lawyers use flat rates and price estimates that are adjusted for poorer clients. You say “I’ll handle your DUI for $1,000 or I’ll try to do your divorce for $2,000 (regardless what hours or hourly rate you state).”

      The don’t just quote a price for an hourly rate and then submit a bill for hundreds of hours.

  • Part of the problem of the establishment is that the establishment does not know about, care about, nor effectively market to “normal” people (the 99%). We have built our law firm on this huge undeserved market.

    You can charge market rates by providing better service using newer technology than AM100 firms. I believe that it is easier to achieve a favorable outcome for a client when your opponent in a matter underestimates your ability to do better work at a fraction of what he or she is charging the client. Sometimes we win on facts, sometimes we win because the other side isn’t paying much attention.

  • Big jt

    I don’t see why this is a bad idea. This post misconstrues what was said in the article.

  • Lee

    I find it ironic that this article talks about the very client base that I am targeting. I don’ t see any problems with charging “middle class” clients less, considering that my overhead is less than at a traditional firm.

    Of course, I have nearly 18 years of litigation experience under my belt, which sets me apart from the “inexperienced law school grads” mentioned above.