Thursday, January 20, 2005

Exorbitant lawyer fees 

From (Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross, San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 17).

"Jose Allen, a partner at the San Francisco firm Skadden Arps, is asking for $810 an hour.... Allen is a local partner of the giant, New York-based Skadden Arps firm -- whose Web site touts its commitment to pro bono law work." City officials are protesting the fees as exorbitant, but lawyers say the city can if necessary sell off surplus property to pay the bill. Total of fees: 9 million dollars.

On the other hand:

After more than five years, the district, facing the prospect of a costly trial, agreed recently to a settlement. The deal calls on the district to shell out $300 million over the next 10 years to make classrooms fully accessible to the disabled and blind -- and that doesn't include all the legal costs of the case.

Without knowing more details than what the article revealed, at least the lawsuit was for a good reason. And compared to the settlement amount, it´s not that huge (3%).

Put it this way -- for every $1 million, the district could hire 14 teachers, or 14 social workers, or 14 nurses, or 14 librarians, or 14 counselors, or 14 instructional aides, or 13 bus drivers or a year's worth of school supplies for 25,000 elementary school kids.

Yes, but if the district had through their own "goodness" figured it out that it was their obligation to make every school accessible, then not a single cent would have been spent on this lawsuit in the first place.

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