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Thread: How many suits do I need? Especially if I'm doing a long jury trial?

  1. #21
    Varsity Member mebejoseph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merija01 View Post
    I work at a large conservative defense firm in the pharmaceutical and medical device field where our first chair attorney is billing roughly $700-800 an hour, depending on the agreed rates. I've been to three MDL trials, lasting between four to six weeks, and if memory serves me right, I think he only wore three suits - navy, charcoal, and grey. I'm pretty sure he strictly wears Brooks Brothers suits, white shirt, solid color tie, black dress oxfords, and nothing that would draw attention. As a trial attorney working for the evil corporations you want to relate to jurors. Looking sharp should not be your priority. Looking relatable and professional is the key. I do find it bizarre and odd that at each trial the hotshot Plaintiff's lawyers would wear a bold outfit and carry themselves with such a cocky confidence.
    Jeez . . . when I do work for public entities--oh boy--not even half that rate. We give our time away because they always pay 100%, don't complain about the bills, and usually sign up to give us all their work (labor, union, contracts, litigation, etc.)

    As a twist for me, usually I'm working on the defense side, defending claims brought by vendors and contractors. This is the first time I'm suing vendor for defrauding the public entity.

    But I still think I want to give the image of being conservative, relatable, and not flashy.

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    Well the equity partners that have nearly 20 years of experience are able to bill those rates. Associates and lower tier attorneys bill accordingly to their graduation year. We were teamed up in the last two trials with a boutique firm from DC where all graduated from top tier schools, handful of supreme court clerks, and almost all worked at previous large NYC/DC firms. Now, they pull big the bucks, but best believe they also carry the highest school loan debt. It's all relative I suppose.

    They dressed a bit more fashion forward, meaning better fitting, but not at all attention grabbing.

    I wouldn't want to perpetuate the lawyer image by television. If you've ever seen the documentary, "Abacus: Small Enough to Jail", there is a scene of the family lawyer in her office. That's pretty much the life, even in the biggest firms.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mebejoseph View Post
    Jeez . . . when I do work for public entities--oh boy--not even half that rate. We give our time away because they always pay 100%, don't complain about the bills, and usually sign up to give us all their work (labor, union, contracts, litigation, etc.)
    Yep. My firm has a lot of contracts with municipalities and we have to fight for raising our hourly rate once or twice a decade, and it’s still less than half any of our lawyers’ usual rates.

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    Quote Originally Posted by burban View Post
    Yep. My firm has a lot of contracts with municipalities and we have to fight for raising our hourly rate once or twice a decade, and it’s still less than half any of our lawyers’ usual rates.
    I can relate to this. I give hefty discounts to a large client of mine who sends me a ton of work and pays like clockwork. Haven't had a fee increase with them in years either.

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    Varsity Member mebejoseph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merija01 View Post
    Well the equity partners that have nearly 20 years of experience are able to bill those rates. Associates and lower tier attorneys bill accordingly to their graduation year. We were teamed up in the last two trials with a boutique firm from DC where all graduated from top tier schools, handful of supreme court clerks, and almost all worked at previous large NYC/DC firms. Now, they pull big the bucks, but best believe they also carry the highest school loan debt. It's all relative I suppose.

    They dressed a bit more fashion forward, meaning better fitting, but not at all attention grabbing.

    I wouldn't want to perpetuate the lawyer image by television. If you've ever seen the documentary, "Abacus: Small Enough to Jail", there is a scene of the family lawyer in her office. That's pretty much the life, even in the biggest firms.
    I've been in Big Law--I know the paradigm. Our 200 lawyer firm is pretty big, but it's not Big Law. Nevertheless, I get good rates from my private clients.

    Frankly, I prefer working for the public entities despite the lower pay. I feel like I'm protecting the tax payers from the bad guys always trying to use these small districts like piggy banks.

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    Varsity Member mebejoseph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by burban View Post
    Yep. My firm has a lot of contracts with municipalities and we have to fight for raising our hourly rate once or twice a decade, and it’s still less than half any of our lawyers’ usual rates.
    Public clients saved my ass back in 2009-2010, when for the first time ever, this firm laid lawyers off. But the public clients kept giving me work. I don't resent the 30-50 discount they get.


    Quote Originally Posted by Hebrew Barrister View Post
    I can relate to this. I give hefty discounts to a large client of mine who sends me a ton of work and pays like clockwork. Haven't had a fee increase with them in years either.
    If I had one private client who could guarantee me 10-20 hours a week and pay within 30 days like clockwork, I'd leave this grindstone in a heartbeat. I do have one client who gives me about that much work, but damn, if they have a bad year, I seem to be the last one to get paid. They pay, but when money is tight--we have to wait.

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